The news last week reporting record numbers of new startups this year confirmed some of the chats I have been having with small businesses in Dorset/Hampshire.
Although this last year has been truly horrible for the vast majority, if you look a bit deeper and pull on your positive pants you will notice some really great thing have also been happening.
I'm talking food and drink related positives, at the start of March when the big boy supermarkets failed to keep up with extraordinary demand our small and local shops/producers came through for us.
Ten months later these businesses have taken the opportunity to pivot and adjust, working on their business rather than just in it.
Last week I spoke to Alex from The Dorset Dairy Company who in between nursing her three and half month baby told me how they had lost 1/3 of their business when lockdown began and the catering industry stopped.
At that time when panic buying was at its highest the dairy was inundated with (sometime desperate) calls from their community for them to fill the gap. Within a number of weeks, home deliveries became the norm with several new business ventures keen to help with delivery. Vending machines have proven more popular than ever, particularly because they are just 5 miles from the farm giving the community the opportunity to get the freshest milk possible compared to what they might buy at the supermarket.
The product range has increased to keep up with demand offering Yogurt, Milk, Butter and cultured cream and yet, despite a new baby and all the additional work Alex and husband Dan have taken on 2021 has had a very positive start.
A full list of stockists can be found on their website www.thedorsetdairyco.com
Amamus Coffee based in Lymington is a niche speciality coffee business, Tim Wookey the owner kindly spoke to me last week about the changes he has made to his business in the last few months.
With the majority of office spaces closing, Tim took time during the initial lockdown (and let's face it we all had too much time on our hands) to gain Certified B Corporation for Amamus something that he managed to achieve within six weeks. Tim has good reason to be proud of this achievement, only 300 other companies in the UK are certified, for those that don't know it demonstrates that the business meets the highest environmental and social performance standards.
Although the main focus of the business remains with the corporate world it soon became clear that the majority of the workforce was at home and still in need of a great coffee setup and coffee from some of the best local roasters.
July 2020 'Amamus coffee club' was born, a space where you can hear the latest coffee news, order the freshest fairtrade roasted beans in compostable bags and discover a selection of brewing kits. As we approached the end of last year the popular deliveries became the ideal gift offering alongside the many hamper companies that became rushed off their feet in the run up to Christmas.
There is no doubt that the way we conduct business in the future will be different but regardless of your surroundings a decent cup of coffee goes a long way to creating the right atmosphere.
Contact Tim Wookey @ Amamus for your office setup
When hospitality closed down at the start of March and our restaurants and hotels had to close, pastry chef Maya Palmer turned her hand at producing handcrafted chocolates. I have been watching the brand develop as Maya has designed packaging, photographed her work and collaborated with other small businesses to incorporate coffee and honey and gin into her chocolates.
What started as a hobby and something to keep her occupied whilst she wasn't working has turned into her passion, I for one can't wait to see where her business goes and eat the fruits of her labour.
When we are able to travel and stay in hotels again look out for her work at New Forest Hotels but in the meantime if you would like to try some for yourself head to www.newforest chocolatecompany.co.uk
The fourth business I wanted to mention is a local award winning gin HMS Spirits, owner Ben has organised raffles, sold hampers and created videos of himself making cocktails throughout Covid19 lockdowns, although this may not of brought in the money that he would normally of earned he kept his audience engaged, amused and wanting to do whatever they could to keep his brand going.
Last week Ben posted on social media that he had received the largest and second largest order ever, I was thrilled, it goes to show if you are passionate about what you do your audience come to know, like and trust you, then share your content - you never know who is watching!
You can follow the brand on the usual social media channels or better still place an order at
Photo courtesy of HMS Spirits - Aaron Teale
Time marches on, although Coronavirus is still around, these businesses give hope that passion and positivity go a long way to coming out the other side stronger.
DON'T FORGET TO PUT ON YOUR POSITIVE PANTS