Having lost all its orders during the coronavirus lockdown, Griffin Designs in Chichester looked set to collapse before a whole host of celebrities came to the rescue, thanks to triple British paralympian triathlete Lauren Steadman SUS-200716-113000001

West Sussex business on the brink of collapse saved by celebrities

Having lost all its orders during the coronavirus lockdown, a West Sussex design consultancy business looked set to collapse before a whole host of celebrities came to the rescue.

By Sam Morton
Friday, 17th July 2020, 10:16 am

Triple British paralympian triathlete. Lauren Steadman, approached Karen Griffin’s company Griffin Designs, with the intention of raising funds for MIND during Mental Health Week 2020. It came at a perfect time for Karen, who feared her business, based in Chichester, would be lost after all orders were cancelled at the beginning of lockdown. “These were unusual times, during the full UK wide lockdown,” Karen said. “Our postal service was sporadic and supplies of T-shirts hard to source. We struggled to get supplies, when international shipping was effectively cancelled and most of our suppliers were shut. Many of their warehouses were unable to adapt to early Covid legislation, which presented a big challenge.” After Lauren got in touch, Karen was able to work with the triathlete to give the business a huge boost, by selling a new brand of T-shirts, whilst also raising vital funds for charity. Lauren, who was competing in the Celebrity Who Dares Wins programme following her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, was able to contact her fellow participants and directing staff. Among the famous faces to take part were Dame Kelly Holmes, Brendan Cole, DJ Locksmith, Jack Maynard, Anthea Turner, Mike Bushell and Tony Bellew. Karen added: “Many of them offered to support her [Lauren] by posting photos and videos on their social media channels to spread the word of the project. They all embraced the idea of raising funds for MIND and volunteered to help. Within a week, the ‘Stronger Than You Think’ logo had been conceived, designs offered and chosen. Together we built a website and the first T-shirts made and sent to the influencers.” One month after the project’s launch, £20,000 has been raised for MIND and 4,500 T-shirts have been sold. Karen continued: “Not only was the project fundraising for MIND, but locally we were able to spread a little happiness. We engaged a team of home workers, to fold and pack the tees. During the better weather, we had a team of casual staff eager to be busy and socialise from a distance, in the garden picking and packing. Laughter and happiness hopefully was captured in each tee we printed and packed.” The T-shirts, which are £15 each, can be purchased here: www.sizu-minds.myshopify.com.

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