A startup in the time of quarantine
Since the beginning of quarantine, many of you have asked us how a young company is dealing with the crisis. Here we try to answer you with the transparency that is dear to us.
As you already know, we've been under lockdown, since Tuesday, March 17th. And by "we" I do not mean M. Moustache, nor just Paris, or even France, it is more than a third of the world's population, that is required to stay home. You already know the drill. We, as an omnichannel company, are experiencing this crisis head-on. We’ll share with you in this article how we’ve been "managing" the situation.
Anticipation is the key to a better protection
Some measures were taken even before confinement. We’ve seen neighbor countries undergo the crisis before us and suspected that it would soon be raging in France, as well.
Beginning of March, we canceled our shoot for the Fall Winter 2020 collection, which was due abroad, mid- April. Shooting our products and producing content to immerse our customers in the inspiration behind our collection is essential for a brand like ours, but the stakes were too high, we needed to protect our teams. Anticipating such an unprecedented crisis was not easy, especially, for a young company like M. Moustache.
Planning and plotting in the midst of the storm
Saturday March 14th, all boutiques were to close.
Monday morning, March 16th, Antoine, Guillaume and Thibault decided to close our headquarters, the same evening, Emmanuel Macron announced the start of the quarantine. From there on, everything went so fast. We had to identify our priorities very quickly, while setting up a home office friendly structure, answer the many questions we were receiving, from our teams, our partners, and yours.
In this crisis, we are still very lucky. Lucky to be able to work from home. A chance not everyone could benefit from. For that, we send warm thoughts of endless gratitude to all our partners, in Portugal and China, for whom home office is not an option, today. To all the health care practitioners, on the front line, taking care of the sick, and all essential workers allowing us to keep living a “normal” life, safe, from the comfort of our homes.
We used slack for internal chats, but most of all we spoke to each other during meetings or quick debriefs. We’ve always appreciated the human contact. Now, the contact part being no longer possible, we needed to find different ways to stay connected. We continue to use slack and test new apps like Discord. It’s more complicated for some than other, we’re not all “tech savvies” I would say. So far, it’s going ok!
Maintaining our “usual” activity, with a twist
Beyond the lockdown, it is mandatory to handle the cessation of a big part of our activity. Our shops are all closed, and so are those of our partners. Our e-shop is still up and running, though, at a slower pace. People have bigger concerns than what summer shoes to buy next, and we get it! We have chosen not to close our e-shop after having had long discussions with our logistics provider.
Being able to maintain a reduced activity, whilst ensuring the safety of the employees we kept the e-shop running but adapted our operations to the current context:
> We donate 10% of our turnover to the Hôpital de France Foundation,
> We extended the order returns delay until after the end of the lockdown,
> Our customers can choose contact-free delivery, or to be delivered later, after the lockdown.
Maintaining the e-shop is what will allow us and our partners to get through this crisis. Keeping an economic activity is essential for us to get M. Moustache upright after this pandemic. Our website is also our link to you, and we do not wish to break it.
It is essential for us to keep in touch with you, but how ? The situation was awkward, we did not know what to communicate over, so we asked our communities to tell us: What do you expect from us to talk about or do? How can we help this quarantine be more joyful and easier to live? Two things came up often: first, that you want life to go on, and that our communication continues at the same pace and tone as before. We also wanted to thank you for your unfailing support that we’ve been witnessing in the middle of all this turmoil. With our contest "dessine moi des baskets", we welcomed you to our Workshop, where you all gave free rein to your vivid imagination, creating elegant and innovative sneakers by the hundreds! We have drawn a winner, whose shoes will be made as soon as the situation settles.
Then, many of you asked us: How does a start-up manage such a situation? So we tried to answer as precisely as possible! We showed you our “home-made” offices, our new temporary working conditions, and wrote these few lines to you today. After all, you've been following the M. Moustache adventure with us for quite a while. We’ve shared a lot with you already, we’re not going to stop today! There are still great adventures ahead of us.
Thanks to our recycling program Encore, that saw the light of day a little over a year ago, and which will soon bear fruit. All the shoes we recycled since the launch will be integrated as raw material in our next collection! Many of you continue helping by taking advantage of this confinement to sort out your closets, putting aside your worn shoes that we’ll be able to collect once the storm has passed. We thank you. It is together and thanks to you that we can conceive a more eco-responsible future for M. Moustache. That is our major concern today.
Thinking about the future
Thinking about the future of M. Moustache, in such a context, is a bit complicated for. It is not very clear how long the situation will last, and what the consequences will be for our business, the market, our country and the world in the medium term. It is necessary to walk through the current season/collection, optimize our product stocks, and also prepare the seasons to come, in order to reduce as much as possible the impact of the crisis on the long haul. Getting ready for what’s next by limiting the production of the ongoing season and switching the focus the seasons to come.
Right now, we’re brainstorming a lot. Considering all possible scenarios and imagining the answers to bring for each. Making sure that our partners are all set to maintain our collaboration despite the situation. Communicating constantly with our factories whom are in a situation as complicated as we are. We’re in this together. Trying to find, hand in glove, solutions to maintain an activity, without putting anyone’s safety at stake. All of our factories in Portugal are currently closed. We are trying to anticipate a partial recovery and, above all, defining priorities for when the containment ends completely.
Simply put, we’re trying to see beyond and above, thinking of everyone involved, and of the aftermath.
Take care of yourself, stay at home.