International Women’s Day 2021
A year on, a year stronger.

Polly Grinnell & Laura Templeton-Cox

Directors

Laura and I haven’t seen each other for almost six months, instead living and working at home in our local areas some 50 miles apart. But still our strength, fight and determination to be the best partners, mothers, sisters, daughters, business owners, leaders and friends continues.

Having written a piece for International Women’s Day 2020, today feels like a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the year we’ve had!

This time last year, Laura Templeton-Cox and I were 15% shareholders of Double. A thriving retail design business with a beautiful office in central Bristol. Laura’s two children were enjoying school, and my young son was happily at nursery. We had both achieved a level of work-life balance that suited our personal commitments, working part-time 3 or 4 days a week. We were able to be there for both our families and our business.

As the pandemic hit, the bottom fell out of our business; as retail shut up shop, all client work came to a standstill, or worse still was cancelled. Everything we had known and worked hard to achieve was evaporating in front of our eyes.

And so, from the end of March 2020, our time, and all our mental energy, began to be poured into the tough decisions facing our business. The pandemic came at a point when our fellow Director and Founder of Double was also looking to exit the business, so Laura and I had some big decisions to make.

Lockdown began and we were full-time Mums, a home-school teacher and an early years nursery worker, as well as having the daunting responsibility of our business and our team. Spending many, many hours and sleepless nights working through the business finances and forecast scenarios, we wanted to see the best of a terrible situation for everyone involved.

Our love and loyalties were stretched in every direction, in our home lives and across our business.

One powerful thread running through every experience during those months though, was that of two determined women who were prepared to fight for what they treasured and believed in, what they felt was right.

A bittersweet day I believe we will never forget.

On 30th June 2020, Laura and I bought the Founding Director out of the business and had to heartbreakingly reduce our team to save the business that we had all worked so hard to build. It was also the day that we became a Certified B Corp.

A bittersweet day I believe we will never forget.

Fast forward a few more months and to another lockdown; school and nursery were open, but life was still very much restricted. Our children couldn’t see friends, play sports or visit family. Our responsibility to care and nurture their physical and mental needs while managing a business that, through hard work and great relationships, was seeing a growth in work, continued to be hugely demanding.

By Christmas, we were drained and looking forward to a break.

Another lockdown, a further period of school closures and increasing project work at the beginning of 2021, has meant we work in whatever ways and means we can. It is exhausting; it is monotonous, it has its highs and lows, good days and bad.

Laura and I haven’t seen each other for almost six months, instead living and working at home in our local areas some 50 miles apart. But still our strength, fight and determination to be the best partners, mothers, sisters, daughters, business owners, leaders and friends continues.

International Women’s Day 2021 falls on the day that schools open again in England. Laura’s children will return to school and we will begin to plan my Maternity Leave as I am expecting my second child in the Summer. The pull on our time and our love will continue but what a year it has been. One that has made us stronger than ever!

As we look to the future with the challenging days of 2020 behind us, the experiences and lessons of the last year have left us with a desire to do better, to use our strengths as a smaller team and to collaborate with our trusted and growing network of suppliers, freelancers and advisors. We have learnt that our ability to be flexible is key and by using this to diversify and stretch ourselves and our business, we believe that we can come back stronger and better than ever.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Can I have some more?

Matt Tipping Double Retail

Do you believe in building a ‘better business’?

Business isn’t just about making money. The current overarching aim for the primacy of shareholders is a broken one; the system simply isn’t working. In terms of the industry we are based in, retail has always been a thing and will always be a thing - but the journey has got to change.

Designing a store that embodies brand values.

Recently as part of an interview, I was asked what retail may look like by 2025. Whilst I understood that this question shouldn’t be taken literally, I believe it is clear to see that retail is pushing forward into the realm of being experience-led. Brands know that their brick and mortar stores are becoming showrooms to try-on or try-out products, and as such, they are having to push harder to create experiences and connections with their customers.