A fresh perspective

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, businesses are using innovation to expand and thrive

Getty/ SACheckley

Sitting in the darkness next to strangers spaced two metres apart, a window opening to reveal a colourful banner rippling above the street below was a revelation.

The fact that it had been there the whole time, that people continued to pass by discussing what to have for dinner while we were immersed in a world where blindness was contagious, was a welcome relief.

I left the Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness with a new appreciation for my sight, the sense that I had largely been deprived of for the past hour.

This is what theatre, at its best, can give an audience. You come with your to-do lists, your vague annoyances and distractions, and you leave slightly dazed, with a fresh perspective.

Helen Maybanks
The Donmar Warehouse sound installation, Blindness.

A new approach is also called for in the business world following the far-reaching impact of COVID-19.

Optical practices, like their High Street neighbours, have introduced social distancing measures to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

The drop in footfall that is associated with social distancing has created challenges for the traditional business model that underpins many optical practices.

Unfortunately, redundancies and closures have followed the pandemic, while businesses that are still afloat have had to reconsider what a High Street presence offers their customers and whether it is enough to entice them from the safety of their homes.

But it is not all doom and gloom. OT has heard how businesses are continuing to adapt and thrive in these unique circumstances.

Cubitts has opened its first store outside of London in Brighton, with the history of the area entwined in the store’s design and a bespoke collection of frames.

The Brighton Collection features four silhouettes that are each inspired by the city’s architectural heritage, including the Saltdean Lido and Brighton Pier.

Perhaps this is what is needed for the High Street to remain relevant – a hyper-local and tailored approach in contrast to the fast-paced but often impersonal online world.

OT also reported on Coral Eyewear’s successful Kickstarter campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is planning on launching its range of frames made from recycled plastic, including fishing nets, next month.

Founder, George Bailey, told OT that he hoped the current circumstances would provide an impetus for a new way of working.

“The huge changes brought about by COVID-19 need to be used as a way of kickstarting the green recovery and I hope our frame recycling scheme will play a big part in that,” he said.

Has the pandemic prompted your business to change its approach? Please get in touch with your thoughts [email protected]