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Since we launched the Ollie & Nic brand almost 20 years ago I’ve learned that however carefully you plan you can never know what’s going to crop up to throw all of your best made plans out of the window. But I never could have imagined the affect the coronavirus pandemic would have on our business.

On the plus side we are a family owned and run business and as we live together as well as working together there has been no need to furlough or isolate ourselves, but on the minus side our products are sampled and manufactured in factories that we would normally visit to research new materials and ideas, develop our new collections and finalise our pricing and delivery schedules.

Our starting point is always to review our previous season’s styles to make sure we are fully in touch with what styles & colours our customers are loving so that we can keep these styles, or updated versions of them, running on into the new season.

Next it’s narrowing down on what we think will be the best colour palette for our designs. As a handbag & accessories brand we know that there will always be a demand for ‘the classics’ such as black, navy, tan and neutrals but colour is important to us and we can spend hours poring over colour cards to find the perfect shade of Blush Pink or Duck Egg Blue.

With a colour, fabric and styling overview in place we get down to the fun bit…designing the new collection. This starts with hand drawn sketches with notes on the hardware and fabrics required. Once everything is sketched we start editing the collection to make sure we have all our key shapes and colours covered. This can take a long time as we are never short of ideas for new shapes and styles that we would like to introduce, but as we need to limit the size of our collection, we make sure we edit down to the best mix of styles and colours.

Thankfully in these times of FaceTime and Zoom and 24/7 access to the internet and email we have been able to develop our new designs from a distance. It’s taken a bit longer than usual, but we’re delighted that we will have an exciting new Spring/Summer collection ready to launch next month. A little later than usual, but then there’s not much that’s usual about the way things are right now!

I love our new collection and I don’t think there’s any way of telling that it was pulled together during a global pandemic. The proof will be in seeing and hearing what our customers think of it, because after all that’s who we’re doing all of this for.

I received a lovely email this week from one of our valued customers which I’d like to share with you as it was very uplifting to read and I think it says it all..

I have just received my order of the Paloma Day Tote this morning. Thank you for sending it so quickly. I am really delighted with this bag, it will be excellent for use in the summer as well as the winter, and of course very well made and finished. A very satisfied customer, your service is second to none. Thank you so much.

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