2020 has been a year. We were on track to break records. Everything was in place. My team had grown to four staging designers and eight logistics personnel. We were routinely staging 12 homes a week as well as unloading sold homes every week. We were bringing in new clients, making relationships with new realtors, and overall feeling very optimistic. I had bought a piece of property last fall and had blue prints drawn for a warehouse...a big warehouse...that I had planned and worked toward for over 14 years, all while renting more storage units until I could afford it. That time had arrived. The warehouse was finally getting started. The land was cleared and prepped. Checks had been written.
Then….Covid. At first not much changed; we were busy as ever and my vigilant team masked up and kept working. But soon, colleges shut down, local schools went virtual and three designers were unable to work due to health issues. At the same time our fourth designer dropped for family reasons and suddenly our team of staging decorators dwindled to just me. Every staging quote, every occupied staging consultation, all the staging agreements and staging projects planning fell to me while I was in the middle of managing the warehouse project (oh, and renovating a home on the property to rent).
Covid made its presence known but the housing market did not shut down. Many of our clients already had projects in the works and our real estate investors/house flippers had hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in half done houses. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let them down. The weight of the work before me shook me to my core. Not that I wasn’t grateful to still have work, hearing stories of friends impacted from the economical disruption was heart breaking, but if we were going to continue we would have to embrace a new normal. A new hustle.
Our logistics team are loaders and installers. Their main job is moving our beautiful inventory and handling installation (how and where we need it to go.) It was at this moment, when our team was strapped and wearing a lot of hats, that I realized these guys have been paying attention all along. Suddenly my guys, all of whom had never professionally decorated ANYTHING before, were excitedly helping me dress bathrooms, accessorize kitchens, coordinate pillows, and giving input to furniture placement. Their can- do attitude gave me my confidence back. They cared enough about our clients and our team to go above and beyond. It taught me a lesson: you have more support around you than you know.
You see, I use independent contractors who have other responsibilities in their lives - they are students, retired law-enforcement, full-time dad ‘s, all on their own journey, mostly on their way to bigger and better things while doing contract work as a side gig.
But this group, this very diverse collection of individuals showed incredible courage, heart, and bravery in the face of this unknown scary world of Covid-19. They could have taken unemployment and stayed home. But instead, they came to work and worked MORE hours. They cared about me, my business and showed great concern that my valued and treasured clients weren’t let down. I realized once again how lucky and blessed I am.
Right now people are so divided in our world. But the truth is, individually we care much more about our fellow man than the world would have us believe. It took this crisis to really know the amazing people I have in my life.
The warehouse is nearly done. My Designers are back, and we are at full strength once again, handling every curve ball thrown our way with ease and speed. However, now the logistics team is given a lot more consideration when they throw a suggestion out. My guys will always carry a special place in my heart. They are rock stars. So talented and caring, I can’t believe I ever ran this business without any of them. Now I know my guys on a deeper level and the value they bring to D2S. The grit and work ethic they have mustered for us makes me incredibly optimistic about our world....even the 2020 version of it!