At 16 months old, Loyal understandably feels like a bit of a toddler at the moment. We’re certainly out of our beginning stages and we are starting to feel our way in to our potential and some areas with the confidence of having a small amount of experience to draw on. But that is all done with the same wobbles and uncertainty and sense of newness of any infant, and we are also learning to do things without some of the key players who were part of our first steps.
May was a big month of us – we celebrated our first birthday (https://www.theloyalworkshop.com/reprise/), closed a deal on our very own building (https://www.theloyalworkshop.com/building-broken-lives-brick-by-brick/), and farewelled Harry and Mandy Croucher all within a few weeks. Harry and Mandy spent the past two years setting up Loyal with Sarah and Paul, and have a very unique and valuable set of skills and wonderfully special relationship with the Loyal Ladies, so having them go home a few months back has left a pretty big gap. We have had a go employing local staff in some of the roles they left, but like everything over here that is a trial and error process and it will be some time before we will have a full complement of employees. In the mean time, Sarah and Paul have been out of town for 6 weeks getting new Visa’s and having a much needed break from the hard slog of getting Loyal off the ground. In their absence, Murray and Yvonne – a couple from Tauranga with previous experience living and working in Bangladesh – were a massive help to me and the ladies navigating that period with most of our management staff out of the mix. It went so well, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of this group working together to not only manage the obstacles, but totally nail them! It was a big confidence booster for the whole group of ladies to learn what they are indeed capable of together, without the familiarity and security of having Sarah and Paul there. The ladies are now all confident with all export products, and they are getting pretty quick at them too (you can check em out here if you want – https://www.theloyalworkshop.com/store-selling-ethical-leather-goods/)
The next few months will see us renovate and move in to our new building, but also make some changes to our rhythms in the interests of health and sustainability, and the exploration of some really cool opportunities, and product development!! I’m excited for that, and so stoked to be part of this business at this stage of it flexing it’s muscles a bit, but also evolving significantly in response to the many and varied challenges that cross its path. But most of all, I continue to be amazed by how this business acts as both a vehicle and a ballast to empower and support our Loyal family to keep making positive changes in life, and reach for a new future. The journey is long with ups and downs without a doubt, but it’s the most wonderful privilege to join in.