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Rainbows & Cardboard Tubes

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Photo: Paul Crowley - 366 days of photography

Little did I realise, when I started working on the Brothership Studio's e-commerce website, that a month after go-live I'd be helping them to pack and post their orders out to customers.

So, just at the point that we were ready to go-live, it was all starting to get a little strange with Coronavirus in the news. Days after we went live the lockdown began. Soon afterwards, Nick (co-owner & resident artist) and Emma (Curator) spotted that local photographer & graphic designer Paul Crowley had designed a beautiful print of Hertford beneath a rainbow of hope. They spoke to Paul and suggested a collaboration with him, aiming to sell prints and give the profits to the local East & North Herts Hospital Charity. When they asked if I could help with adding the product to the website, and the logistics behind the scenes, I was only too happy to help as I was stuck at home feeling pretty useless.

At first, our target was to raise £5,000 for charity. However, with amazing sales of the Hertford print plus some incredible instagram live auctions of original artwork by Ceri Shipton, and the NHS Heroes print that made its way onto Lorraine on ITV, that total was smashed. Next came the neighbouring Ware rainbow print and the requests for new towns to be added flooded in. We were now in the territory of tens of thousands of pounds. The team at the Brothership and Paul delivered many of these prints by hand. As we introduced new towns to the range we also started to introduce new charities.

The team at HD Print in Ware were amazing in their support of this project too.

When it came to the Welwyn Garden City print, I suggested that Isabel Hospice would be a great local charity, especially because they'd had a kitchen fire during the lockdown. Myself and Tom, my moustachioed husband, hand deliver all the Welwyn Garden City print orders. A great way to get to know your home town better! The Welwyn Hatfield Times published an article about the support that we were giving to the Hospice.

As a team of 4 we met weekly to 'fulfill' all the orders that were for postal delivery. These evenings actually were a tonic, it was great to meet actual people during lockdown, chat, listen to music and get something useful done!

Within 3 months we (and I include all of the wonderful people who've purchased one or more of these prints in this) have reached an incredible total of over £45,000 for local charities. The only question remaining is, can we hit £50,000? 10 times our original target. We really hope so! #loveisthemessage

This has all been a real lesson for me in how Shopify works for businesses. It has an amazing phone app, everything you need to know about your business available at your fingertips. If you are delivering goods, you have the option to look up the customer's address via Google Maps, you can also phone or email them directly from the app. It basically does everything you could possibly need it to do. Plus each time you make a sale it makes a little 'kerching' noise. (My daughters got into the habit of shouting 'another one!' excitedly each time they heard this noise.) You can probably tell that I really like it. If you're thinking about an e-commerce website then please do talk to me about it beforehand.

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