Launching a business can be stressful. Now imagine doing it while home schooling two children and trying to maintain an additional income during a global pandemic. 

Photo of Arabella Hill

That’s the situation friends Arabella Hill and Flavia Paterson found themselves in during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Having done all the legwork, the co-founders were ready to officially launch their sustainable clothing brand, Paterson and Hill, at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, which was promptly cancelled due to the virus. 

Paterson and Hill offers up a new range of tailored clothing for women who work in the skilled trades or those who do manual jobs. 

With the help of a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp, the pair are focusing on a marketing drive after the delays caused by lockdown. 

Arabella said: “We had done a huge amount of work on the company pre-lockdown and were aiming to launch at the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2020, which would have been an incredible opportunity for us. The exposure to the world press and our key demographic would have been huge, but then as things progressed towards full lockdown, Chelsea was cancelled and then delays in our manufacturing lines meant a launch in lockdown was looking impossible.

“There have been so many challenges for us. Working remotely has been very hard as we have had to do fit sessions on Zoom, which is far from perfect. We have been having to share prototypes by mail, which then, in one case, got lost for weeks. We have also experienced delays in many aspects of the manufacturing as workforces are reduced and now backlogs are building up for manufactures.

“On top of the issues facing Paterson and Hill, Flavia was working out of her bedroom and home schooling two children, whilst managing her consultancy business. I was trying to keep an income coming in from my garden design business, whilst supply chains were in complete chaos.”

But with lockdown easing, things are getting back to normal and the founders are building on their plans to reach their audiences, which Arabella thinks may have widened due to the recent pandemic. 

She added: “We are building a new marketing plan for our delayed launch and the loan will be vital in assisting with a successful marketing drive. It will also help with some additional support for manufacturing, as delays cost money.

“Lockdown has increased the number of women doing manual work, even if it is as a hobby. Many women turned to gardening, growing veg, DIY, getting pets and other things as a way to cope with lockdown. I also think there has been a greater concern for the world and environment as a result of Covid-19.”

Find out more about how a Start Up Loan could transform your new business.