With lockdown easing but the impact of Covid-19 still very much at the forefront of society, we wanted to hear from local businesses and creatives to discover how it has affected them and how they are managing to restore ‘normality’. In the latest edition, I get to speak with Jennifer Sanchez who is the founder and director of Dimples & Daisies and founder of Liberty Photography and The Liberty Lounge, all based on Grove Road South.
Dimples & Daisies are a team of photographers whose beautiful studio and outdoor shoots are instantly recognisable. The Liberty Lounge was founded in 2020 and described by Jen as “a safe, non-judgmental inclusive space for anyone looking for their path. A hive of creativity with a culture of body positivity, sisterhood at its heart and kindness and acceptance running through its veins. When we hold space for women their secrets become our secrets. When they feel ready to talk, we give them a platform where they can use their voice to the fullest. We offer the tools for women to reconnect with their voice, strengthen their sense of identity, unpick the uncertainty, understand their patterns and triggers, eliminate anxiety, and hold their hand until their hearts are strong and brave.”
Could you tell me how coronavirus lockdown has affected your business?
I felt supported by the government financially but I found managing staff morale quite difficult. I felt that government advice was quite ambiguous and left room for division amongst staff and how we decided to manage things. At times I had to make choices that weren’t particularly popular and I found that hard when it felt like the government weren’t listening to what small business were saying.
How do you feel that the government has supported your sector?
I think overall coronavirus has been good for my businesses in that it’s forced us to evolve and increase our online presence. I read a book last year that said, “If tech isn’t running through the veins of a company then it will die out” and that scared me.
This year I’ve always thought that I’ll get it online but never did. This experience has forced me to stop putting it off and potentially made clients more open to it. Now we are completing our Dimples and Daisies training courses online. I think it’s opened other people’s minds to life online. If I had tried to persuade people to try and take an online membership for The Liberty Lounge they would have likely been reluctant to before all of this. So overall it has been good.
I fell financially we’ve been really lucky, it felt strange to fill out a two-minute form and obtain a 10k grant to support the business. I am really grateful for it but I think potentially it should have come with some conditions. For example, you would need to stay at the premises or the High Street at least. I feel really sad that the High Street is dying. I’m not making any judgement on anyone who has taken the money but shut their shops. I understand that people have their businesses and lives to lead but feel that it should have been a condition.
How have you managed with lockdown?
I have completed lots of challenges throughout lockdown and shared many on social media. I have completed the twenty-one day Deepak Chopra Abundance Meditation and I have Vlogged ‘How To Get Over Your Ex In twenty-one days, a book I wrote a few years ago. I have also completed plenty for my personal development including a life coach accreditation which has helped keep me sane.
What steps are you taking or have you need to take in order to re-open to the public?
In the Dimples and Daisies studio we are only letting babies in at the moment. With the good weather we’ve been lucky to have been able to minimise all contact with outdoor social distanced shoots. We are doing all of our viewings via Zoom where previously it would have be done in person. Although I am not sure how well that will work in the winter but we’re constantly completing risk assessments using the government’s best guidance.
Do you have any idea what the short or long term future holds for you and your business?
The three business have now evolved. Dimples are now going to be hosting training at the end of September and I am hoping that this is going to develop into a Photography Academy. At Liberty Photography I have launched a membership and Liberty Lounge memberships have moved to online and we are relaunching on the 2nd of September.
For more information on the services available and discussed then please visit the links below.