Radicals Against the Virus: Part 2, We'll Survive!

Posted by Luke on 27th Mar 2020

Part 2 of our coronavirus response: today we'll share what we're doing to survive as a small business, and to help you, our supporters, get through this too!

Hey, optimist!

Last week, I wrote to you about how Radical Tea Towel is keeping things clean on the personal and packaging front.

This week I wanted to share with you our plan for surviving both 'lockdowns' and economic downturns.

Above: Radical bread, fresh from quarantine in London. Wrapped in a radical tea towel and accompanied by some William Morris coasters!

Radicals against the crisis 

All right, we're doing a little more than using up the country's remaining yeast supplies.

We may be a small business, but beyond our core team of designers, writers and support staff, we're conscious that there are tens of people down the supply chain who rely on us: warehouse and delivery workers, printers and machinists, and even tech workers at companies like Mailchimp (email) and Facebook.

It's our first recession, and we're determined to be one of the businesses still standing at the end!

Firstly, resident historian Pete has begun work on some exciting fresh content: our new 'Radicals in Isolation' series.

It turns out that many of history's radicals did some of their best work when in periods of confinement and isolation: think Anne Frank hiding in Amsterdam,Martin Luther King in Birmingham jail,Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond.

Pete's going to share these inspiring stories with us in emails and blogs to come.

The point is that, however bleak physical isolation may seem, many radicals in history were able to turn that time to the benefit of all and make their mark on the world.

This doesn't mean you have to be planning a world-changing revolution from your kitchen. (Although, in the words of singer Billy Bragg, "the revolution is just a tea towel away"!)

It can be a lot simpler than that.

Click to view our Henry David Thoreau design

A tea towel can mean more than you think

Perhaps this time away from the crowds can help you focus, to figure out what's truly important to you, and decide what kind of global citizen you want to be when you come out at the end of this?

Secondly, we're preparing ourselves in other ways for a general economic downturn.

One advantage of being an online business is that people can still shop on our website (provided the warehouse is allowed to stay open, which it currently is). On the other hand, we know some of our retail customers (museum and gallery shops, small gift shops and so on) are going through some tough times already.

We're going to stick to our new designs plan for 2020. We have so many exciting ones to show you, and even if the virus is all people can talk about in 2020, we're still looking forward to celebrating 100 years of American women getting the vote this summer.

We'll keep manufacturing tea towels in the UK, and do our best to keep everyone who relies on us on both sides of the Atlantic gainfully employed.

It's not a foolproof plan. Plenty of people may rely on us, but we're going to be relying on you - our customers.

A tea towel might seem like a trivial item, a 'nice-to-have' that's not essential in the way that a tin of beans or loo roll (!) might be.

But tea towels support the livelihood of everyone in our business, along with all those others in the supply chain, from delivery drivers to printers.

All this is to say that, if you do find you're cooking at home more often this year and need something to dry the dishes or cover your bread, we're still here.

If you want to bring a smile or radical inspiration to someone you know in quarantine, we're good for that too.

And even if you and your friends have all the tea towels you need, we hope you enjoy reading our coming 'Radicals in Isolation' series and consider sharing the posts on social media!

Thank you for your support in the coming months, and we look forward to seeing in 2021 with you.

Browse our site for hope amid the gloom!