It is difficult to keep a #small business running in #hurricane season.September is the cruelest month of the year in South Florida. This season we have been pummeled with one storm after another. The stress of trying to secure a home, worry about your kids and then to try to keep a business going especially when it is small and there is no one to delegate work to; is a real challenge.
Namely Newborns has a workshop on the first floor of a lovely mixed use office park. A first floor is great when you are receiving big boxes of #baby blankets and hooded towels. It is especially convenient when you need to drag heavy boxes of personalized baby gifts to your car so you can make the speedy run to the post office to fulfill rush orders and overnight shipping. However; when there is a #hurricane like Irma on the war path; the first floor has its dangers. Water surge can flood everything in sight within minutes.
We wondered how to best protect our stock. Where would we store documents, licenses, paper work and really valuable products.
The most important thing we learned is that a dishwasher, washer or dryer are the safest place to put valuables like insurance info, deeds and bank statements.
We wanted to share this information with you as well as other tips to help keep a business dry during a storm.
- Get everything off the ground.
- We put our stock in sealed plastic containers.
- We put as many plastic containers as possible on our shipping table and folding tables
- Unplug computers, phones and printers
- Cover everything with plastic
- Put towels next to doors and on window sills
- Sandbags are even better to absorb water
- Put valuable documents in a dishwasher, dryer or washing machine.
- Ship anything you can out of the hurricane area.
- Stop all deliveries days before the storm. You don't want something caught in a postal warehouse that could also have water damage.
- Take pictures of your stock so you have proof of what you owned.
We are fortunate that besides our Miami workshop ; we have a workshop in Massachusetts far from the water. A lot of our baby blankets are very expensive cashmere and many are handcrafted. Many of our organic baby gifts are hand made and not replaceable. A quick decision was made to save the most valuable items; huge boxes were packed days before the storm and shipped to Massachusetts. We had quite a scare when our boxes from Miami didn't arrive right away. But a few days later they were safely in our northern work shop where they were carefully unpacked.
The first few days after the storm; no one had electricity.There was no phone service and no internet so we couldn't use our shipping program and we couldn't even find orders so that we could notify our customers about delays. Luckily we still had cell service so we could do some minimal work. But fortunately we had a second workshop in western Massachusetts. This workshop had no problems and rushed to the rescue to help us complete many of our orders. Our customers have been very understanding and knew that we cannot complete rush orders under these circumstances and we were only able to embroider blankets. So part of our business was up and running.
All of our hooded towels and security blankets were still in Miami but at least they were in perfect condition because we had packed them away carefully.But now five days later, Miami has power and hopefully, we will be safe from future hurricanes so we can continue embroidering names, monograms and birth dates on fine baby gifts for all of our friends and customers.