Realignment and refocus...Live and Love Local.
Firebrand was born from the ashes of the Global Financial Crisis, July 2009 celebrating 10 years last year. That now feels a world away from where we find ourselves today.
At the party, we ate beautiful fresh-caught lobster from one of our international clients, an exporter of such delicacies to China. We had close to 200 people at the newly opened Equinox Restaurant, all in close proximity to each other (and as the night wore on we danced closer, hugged and shared karaoke microphones). We spoke of our incredible future strategy where growth was inevitable and desirable, more of everything for everyone but in a considered and cautious way – not in the ways of the past as a startup with “hustle”.
Today the lobsters are in a holding tank, the restaurants closed and we are all locked in our homes, only dancing, hugging and singing with those in our bubble. The strategy for our future as an organisation has undertaken a reimagination or perhaps better called a realignment, a necessary correction that I hope to see considered by others.
Live and Love Local.
I am a one-eyed Dunedin native, unashamedly refusing to outsource with a 100% Dunedin based team. I found myself recently (in what seems so insane now) travelling to Paris and London for a wedding with family. We returned with barely anything extra in luggage. It just didn’t sit well with me. Felt like I was cheating on our local creators and to be honest, no one does women’s fashion better. Now, more than ever, all of us must step this up a notch. Spend your money on our local creators, our distinct fashion designers, our delicious food producers, our artists, our musicians, our florists, our jewellers and all others. There is a symbiotic relationship between our small businesses/creators and our community – without one, you don’t have the other. Service industry can’t exist if people aren’t spending money and seeking the services, support for one supports all. Live and Love Local….Shop Dunedin, Support Dunedin, Save Jobs.
Remember Your Youth.
Low-income workers and young people, the two most heavily affected by this economic disaster are at most risk of severe harm, and it may take years for a recovery. It can seem like there is little we can do, just too big a problem – it must, therefore, become the government’s problem to deal with. On a call yesterday with a very wise young person (24)** he said something not particularly profound, but I just can’t shake it: “No single person can help everyone, but if each of us that can did so for one or perhaps a few, imagine the outcome”. He was bang on, and our youth are particularly vulnerable and in need of support, kindness and compassion. Oh and jobs. Jobs they may not be 100% ready for, provided by kind employers who remember that we were all young once and needed to learn the way things are done; imparting wisdom about workplace conduct and relationships, supporting them when they don’t always get it right and celebrating the tiny triumphs when they do. If our kids don’t see hope for themselves for work opportunities with employers that care, we can be assured Dunedin will become a shadow of its current self and in turn see our businesses and community devastated.
Feed Your Soul
Not everyone is as lucky as me and the team at Firebrand where we regularly work alongside incredible people to deliver solutions that support others. Our realignment means we will purposefully seek more of this, and not with a “make-a-profit focus”. Youth, Dunedin and Community building driven. What can you do to “Feed Your Soul”? Is it supporting disaffected youth? Being a Business Mentor? Supporting a Charity by some form or service? What is your calling right now, when you are quiet - what enters your mind as a concern and how can you support one or a few to minimise that pain?
Thanks for reading, Kia kaha my friends.