Ollie Lewis

January 7th 2020 Covid-19 has been announced as a new coronavirus, January 7th 2020 I hand in my notice to start a new career at Double Retail.

This journey has led me to now. I’ve been taught so much about retail, so much about sustainability, so much about how we can be a better business, so much about changing the world to be a better place, but through all this, I’ve been taught this change is going to have to happen now.

I’ve seen the world change over the past few months, moving to a place of self-isolation and fear. People are now watching the evening news on a daily basis to find out how the world around them will change in the morning – Scrolling through social media and being given expert advice from Tom, Dick and Harry down the pub. It’s a time when selfishness is no longer just rude – it could kill. We’re judging people for things that we took as ordinary just a few weeks ago. My friends are no longer able to marry, no longer about to find new love, no longer able to sit with me in a pub, instead they sit at home wondering what’s next.

We may all be worrying where our next roll of toilet paper is coming from, or when you’re going to be able to sit in a cinema and watch your favourite film. This is a time when our country is worried about our most vulnerable, this should have always been the case, but at a time of extreme change we’re moving in the right direction. Compassion is so important, our NHS is going to, and already is, being pushed to its limits. We now see who the true heroes in our society really are, it’s not the high earners, it’s the people who put their lives on hold for others. Our mindset is now changing. Our world is now changing. Our opinions are now changing. What I want to see at the end of this is positive change.

I build this picture because I believe we can look at this either as a time of fear for the unknown, or try to find a silver lining. The journey I have taken with our enemy Covid-19 has been confusing, emotional and difficult, but can we all take an opportunity to step away from the fast-paced world we live in? People talk about never having the time to change because something else is being put on their desk, or that “that’s the way it’s has always been done”. Is now not the time to stop, think and change? Is now not the time to look for the restart button?

Can we Start The Restart?

As an optimistic person I am always trying to see the best in situations where the light at the end of the tunnel is only a pin prick. We are spending a huge amount of time in unknown territory. Working from home, educating our kids, building hospitals in exhibitions centres, guessing when we’ll be allowed to hug our friends again, and most unfortunately not knowing who and who doesn’t currently have Covid-19. As we spend more time watching TV, more time scrolling through social media, and more time talking to our family and friends about our fears, what I want to do is look through this haze of fear and anxiety and make that light a little brighter.

My major learning from my time within Double is that we need to change the way physical retail is viewing, designing, and building retail environments. The environmental crisis still exists, so can we reset the way we see our retail environments and be more responsible in the way we design, right from the start? We now have the time, we now have the resources, we will always have the creativity. The brands will still have stock, the brands will still have customers. The world still has an environmental crisis.

Now is a time in our lives where we can press the restart button as we realise the negative impacts we are creating. The idea of #StartTheRestart is to start this now, we are forever being told that we are too busy to cut emissions, we have too many targets to slow productions, we need to be open to make money. Now, can we not start a movement of creating change, as humanity we are stepping back from the harm we have created on this earth and the world is thanking us. We have fish in the Venice canals, pollution from carbon monoxide is down nearly 50% year on year in China, and smiles are being put on people’s faces by strangers in random acts of kindness.

Double has taught me so much in such a little amount of time, but everything is around doing better business. I am asking for the help of the people to #StartTheRestart. Have you had the time to look at the way you live and work before and had enough time to make a change? When we get to the light at the end of this very hazy tunnel, can it be brighter than the light we left behind? Now is the time to start and tomorrow is the day we see a restart!

Is now not the time to stop, think and change? Is now not the time to look for the restart button?

Can I have some more?

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