Reinventing our businesses

Its been quite an experience this Covid-19. I think it has made us appreciate the small things in life and people who we share it with. Its made us get back to basics and realize that we can do without some of the things that became a habit, which were not adding value to our health or daily lives.

As far as businesses are concerned, it has been difficult. Take for example our business STUDIO 44 MAURITIUS. We rely to a large extent on tourists to make a success of our shop in Calodyne. The tourists stopped on the day before lockdown, the 20th March. From then until 5th June which I think is the date on which restrictions were lifted and we were allowed to move around freely, we have lost a lot of business. Unfortunately things like rental and other costs will still have to be borne by the company. It will take a while to get over this and get back to where we were. That applies to all business, whether large or small.

I hope and pray that the people of Mauritius will support local artisans and crafters in Mauritius. If its made in Mauritius, it means that there is more than one person relying on the income from that product. You can help the island by buying locally manufactured products.

Businesses will also have to reinvent themselves. Jean Claude and I have some new ideas focussed on the recycling of glass. I will share these exciting ideas as and when we launch the products. It will help to use the many bottles which go into the rubbish dumps. If anyone has one of those beautiful blue gin bottles or those square rum bottles or anything similar, we would be most grateful to have them. We can use any unusual shaped or unusual colored bottle for our new production lines. We have a good stock of the ordinary wine bottles already so are unable to accept those, unless they are of an unusual color.

We see many restaurants battling to keep afloat and with the hotels now also offering take-aways this means that the restaurants have more competition than usual. They also have staff who are perhaps the breadwinners in the family. Lets support them too.

I think that it will be in the months to come – July, August and September that we will see many businesses closing down unable to cope any longer. It is so terribly sad to see something that someone has worked hard to build up, being cut down by Covid-19.

Lets all try to help one another as much as we can. One can never know the pain and hardship someone is going through – many people smile and say “I am fine” whereas they are wondering where their next meal will come from, or if there will in fact be one at all.

We have re-launched our Studio 44 Craft Academy and are enjoying teaching once again. If you are interested, you can find details on our Studio 44 Mauritius Facebook page. We have 6 different courses to choose from, working with different mediums. We believe that it would be a shame for all the knowledge that we have gained over the past 30 years working in glass, not to be passed on to as many people as possible.

Take care, stay safe and have a happy day!

 

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11 months left …

Well, 2018 has come and one month has already passed us by. It has been a turbulent start with 3 cyclones in the Indian Ocean in 3 weeks and then one week of torrential rains in Mauritius which caused more flooding and hardship to many of our poorest citizens, who have built their houses in lower lying areas. At least the sun has come out again, although the humidity is almost unbearable and the mosquitoes are making up for  time lost.

We had a wonderful break at the seaside, although we did not have much sun, but sat for days watching the rain fall and with the third cyclone named Berguitta we were not sure if we were in for a really big one. Luckily it weakened from an Intense Tropical Cyclone down to a Severe Tropical Storm and although it went south with the centre just off our east coast, there was not all that much damage to buildings, except for flooding, but many trees fell down as the earth was completely saturated once the winds arrived.

Not being able to lie on the beach and get a good tan, we read lots of books, played cards and did some gardening.

Its strange though how the weather affects us. I have not been able to really get going yet this year. I have so many ideas for new creations, but with the unsettled, hot, humid weather I just don’t have much energy to start on new projects.

I was lucky to be able to purchase a collection of African Trade Beads from a lady who lived in Africa where she managed to buy some really beautiful beads. These 15th to 16th century trade beads which were made from Murano glass will be combined with my 21st century beads made from Italian glass manufactured in Murano. So, it will be a merger of the old and the new. It will take me a few weeks to make a stock of suitable beads to go with these beautifully patterned trade beads and I am busy designing the finished necklaces.

Browsing through the fashion colors, jewelry and trends for 2018 today, I believe its going to be a year filled with fun and color! Fringes, plaids, frills, feathers, etc and the beautiful palette of colors we have to work with is really exciting and I am looking forward to seeing what designers create.

Well, I hope this year to blog on a regular basis. However, being just my husband and I each with our own studio and the showroom to look after, there is sometimes just not the time available to write, as much as I love doing my little blog.

Take care and until next time keep smiling and be grateful for your blessings.

Renewal …..

As in nature, we have to continually renew, innovate and explore new possibilities. Change is the only thing we can be 100% sure of in this life and we must embrace changes as they occur with confidence and positivity, realising that it is a chance to grow our business and develop new skills on a personal level. This year has been such a year for Jean Claude and I. At times very stressful and frightening, but things are gradually falling into place and new opportunities are opening up for us.

Between May 2016 and May 2017 we will have split our studio into two locations. The beadmaking studio cum showroom where I work and the other location which is the hot glass studio cum craft academy where Jean Claude is based. We now occupy two different locations in St Francois, Calodyne.

In November we will start building a cosy little cottage for ourselves at Roches Noires – somewhere we can truly call our own and have a small vegetable patch and some pretty flower beds once again. Jean Claude is working on ideas for a water feature and I look forward to hanging some bird feeders for the cardinals and other local birds.  Living currently in an upstairs apartment, we both miss the feel of walking on soft green grass and enjoying a braai in the garden on a Sunday.

Now that the showroom is established we are focussing our attention on the Studio 44 Craft Academy  which is situated 5 minutes walk down the road from the showroom. Jean Claude has found the ideal place to house his glass kilns and have plenty of room for teaching some new crafts. He is back in full production of his beautiful glass bowls, plates, etcetera and will shortly be posting details of the craft courses he will be offering on our Studio 44 MAURITIUS Facebook page. The academy is on the street level at the rear of the same building as Linda’s Restaurant which is in the basement and at present you will see only their sign on top of the building if you look south at the intersection where Intermart Supermarket is situated. Our Craft Academy signs are not up yet -the contact number is Jean Claude’s mobile 59368660. You can also email him on contact@studio44mauritius.com.

Creativity exists in each one of us – we just need to give it a chance to express itself.  With his 20 years of experience in glass and other crafts and the idea to make the classes relaxed and enjoyable, we would like participants to come away with practical and useful items they have had fun creating and can proudly say “I made it myself!”

Well, I am writing this from my comfortable recliner on the balcony, having been housebound with flu for the last two days. Turning a negative into a positive, we have a long overdue blog to post! We must never cease to count our blessings every day. With the world in terrible turmoil, let’s say THANK YOU for the peaceful life we enjoy in MAURITIUS – our beautiful tropical island. Well, perhaps not so tropical at the moment but Spring is not far off!

 

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