When we launched AllSfär in January 2019 little did we know what lay ahead of us.
We had done our research, designed our initial products, got our manufacturing set up, created the brand, and knew that the commercial interiors sector was ready for a bit of excitement when it came to acoustics. What we didn’t know is that a year in and there’d be a global pandemic to deal with too!
So, what are the top 3 things we’ve learnt over the past two and half years?
Stay true to what you do best
We were determined that everything we did would reflect our mission to create products that combined design aesthetics with acoustic practicalities to promote wellbeing, happiness and success. Staying true to this was crucial for us, not only in terms of product development but also in how we worked as a small team and how we collaborated with our creative partners, suppliers, and clients.
When the pandemic hit, like everyone we were nervous. What would this mean for us and our fledgling business? Could we really make the transition to working from home and still retain our creative spark? How will the commercial interiors sector change and how could we contribute something positive and remain optimistic?
The answer was to stay true to what we do best. When we noticed the sector being flooded with perspex screen solutions we knew we had to do something different, so we designed and created a range of work from home desk screens made from recycled PET to complement our existing range of acoustic products.
From talking to our colleagues and sector experts we knew that architects and interior designers would be missing the inspiration and collaboration that comes from working in an office, and we also knew from our own experience how much more people were beginning to connect with nature on their daily walks. Armed with this insight we set about creating a new Look Book and bird-inspired colour range for our products, which we launched at the first Virtual Interiors Event and shared on social media to make them as accessible as possible to everyone.
Of course, like everyone we were learning as we went, and we made some mistakes, but we always checked everything we did against our mission and if it didn’t fit, we didn’t pursue it, even if everyone else was.
Fortune favours the brave
Being brave is a little easier when you have a proven track record and taking risks might not have a huge impact but for a relatively new brand it can be quite daunting. Choosing to invest in expensive machinery and a warehouse full of raw materials without necessarily having the order book full was undoubtedly a risky thing to do during a global pandemic and the constant rhetoric about the death of the office didn’t do much to calm our fears. But invest we did, and it’s paid off. Not only were we able to respond quickly to client requests for bespoke options for large high-profile projects but we were also able to design and test new products quickly, keeping our creativity and enthusiasm alive through difficult times.
Now we have one of the largest and on trend felt colour ranges as well as increased production capacity to meet the needs of our clients and their projects. Never has the saying “speculate to accumulate” been truer for us than through the past eighteen months. Being brave isn’t easy, it isn’t a quick win but it’s something we had to do to be in with a chance of working on exciting projects with clients we wanted to work with.
And we’ve expanded our team too! We now have more in-house sales, administrative and logistics support to ensure that projects move through our warehouse and out to clients as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Communicate, stay in touch and have fun
From our daily morning huddle on Teams, to our weekly marketing meetings and BBQ delivery boxes, we made sure that everyone knew what was going on, felt part of a team and had some fun too.
Communication is especially important during times of uncertainty, not only with your colleagues but with your suppliers, clients, and prospects. From a marketing perspective, staying quiet and doing nothing was not an option for us. We knew that if we reduced our marketing activity after a successful launch, it wouldn’t take long for people to forget about us.
We learnt that getting the right tone on your marketing messaging was crucial during the most difficult months of the first lockdown. Of course we wanted to remind people we were still operational but we also had to be sensitive to what other people might be going through both professionally and personally, so we focussed our marketing activity on being as helpful as we could, making sure our website had all the resources architects and interior designers might need to make specifying our products as easy as possible, investing in BIM files, creating specification sheets for each product range, creating videos in-house, and talking to as many people as possible.
We know we might not have got it right all the time, but the ongoing engagement and support from everyone in the sector, our clients and colleagues has been amazing.
Nothing could have prepared us for the challenges of 2020 but we’re thrilled to say that 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for AllSfär and for that we are grateful to everyone who has worked with us, supported us and decided to take a chance and use us for the first time. THANK YOU.
We’ve lots more planned for the 2021 including some exciting new product launches, our very first CPD and lots more face-to -face meetings soon.
To learn more about how Allsfar can help you in creating innovative, design-led acoustic solutions that promote wellbeing, happiness, and success please visit https://allsfar.com/