But Littlehampton-based Templespa, an international skincare brand, has been bucking that trend and has seen its business flourish since Covid began.
Run by Liz and Mark Warom from converted barns in the Toddington area, they embranced the sudden global shift to being forced to trade virtually, and have reaped the rewards.
Liz said: “What seemed fatal has in fact become a blessing.
“Of course, with our spas and hotels worldwide closing down overnight this has been devastating for them and us, but while we wait for them to re-open, we have been blown away that our D2C (direct to customer) business is booming and we have recorded unprecedented sales and growth.
“In a year, we have doubled our number of consultants to 4,000 and been able to help people all over the country set up their own thriving business from home.”
Last year, 2020, was the 20th anniversary of Templespa, and Liz said many parties had been planned.
But instead of celebrating, as the year began the couple found themselves holding ‘Cobra-style’ meetings with their directors to evaluate the risks of the virus they were hearing about in China.
By March, all the firm’s staff were sent home to work safely, leaving their newly-renovated and extended office space empty. They knew if they were to weather the storm they had to act quickly.
“A large part of our business called Spa to Go is based around consultants going into private homes holding spa classes,” Liz said.
“Our immediate reaction to hearing we would all be in lockdown was to play out a scenario in our minds of total disaster.
“But never to be deterred by challenges, of which we have had kazillions over the years, we realised if our consultants couldn’t meet their clients physically, we would have to convert into ‘virtual’ experiences. We equipped them to create Zoom pop-up-spas, one-hour ‘online vacations’, 1-1 consultations, skincare clinics and so on.
“This appears to have been the making of our business.”
The company’s online sales have also seen ‘exponential growth’, so much so that Liz said the greatest challenge had been keeping up with orders. She added that her suppliers had been ‘incredible’.
But just like the rest of the world, running a business with all your staff working from home had its trials.
Liz said they realised early on they would have to adapt to new methods of communication, with constant check-ins to ensure everyone was good, physically, mentally, emotionally and on track with their projects.
She added: “We pride ourselves on having a high level of care and motivation in our business culture, but when you’re constantly doing life on screen and with a fragmented team, it has its challenges.
“We have regular group pow-wows when we share company news or maybe have end of week Zoom cocktails, or we might bring in a motivational speaker to cheer us. We send out regular treats and find creative ways to constantly engage our team and keep them upbeat.”
To find out more about the brand, visit www.templespa.com