We have decided to close PAG.
The business has obviously evolved significantly and repeatedly since 1969. Our inclination and instinct is always to keep going, to work harder and to make stuff happen. We enjoy the fight, the physicality of the trade and it is completely counterintuitive for us to make this decision.
In January we were nearly half way through an excellent financial year but we believe that January “reality” is no closer, to the current situation, than the days of printing gold foil on playing cards – when my parents met and the business was formed.
The decision to close would not even be under consideration if not for covid-19 but we have other indicators, some of them unique to us, pointing in one direction. The most significant is that we *were* moving our warehouse to expand and we are far enough down that process, that we can not remain at our current location. The easy decision to make a significant investment, in a new warehouse – has reversed.
With no corporate events, no sport, no restaurants to uniform and no concerts happening in the current reality, we have decided to move early, pay all our bills and cease trading.
We are all hoping that things will improve quickly, that we can rub shoulders with friends and strangers again soon. We hope that T-shirts outsell PPE and even that Brexit is a threat to trading (oh those golden years :-). Our view is that the current trading reality will be the dominant one, for at least 18 months.
You were probably not, I hope, expecting optimism from this post….. The trauma I have personally felt since making this decision final at the end of March is closer to grieving than I had imagined it would. Very odd indeed. I have clear memories of climbing on T-shirt boxes aged about 4 in the less regulated 70’s! I’ve known the business ever since. But if our warehouse situation was different we would be carrying on, so here comes the optimism, we would be using the time wisely. Maybe some of our action list could relate to you, maybe it will help you think of a better idea, so here goes:
- Stock take and tidy goods – the corporate version of the bedside draw. See what you have, what you want to keep and what is getting in your way.
- Find customers that are (already) stronger post covoid-19 – They exist.
- Review credit limits, terms and the likely cash flow that the “free for a year” money will create. Accounts at companies house are already out of date. They will remain out of date for years now. The system is not built for such fundamental and rapid change. Could payment with order be your default position?
- Make that marketing Calendar now, right the outbound blog, email, auto responder. Do it like the deadline is upon you. Do it for the next 18 months.
- Do digital. We did cloud based CRM in 2008, phones not long after that. Instagram is more recent, TickTock would be next…What platform can you invest time in now?
- What could you do to make your job or business more fun, more worthwhile? The old reality was more location based, the new reality could be more performanced based. Use this opportunity to prove how you can work better.
This last idea can apply to a business owner or an employee. I used to be my most productive parked in the car park of my favourite mountain bike trails. I’d work until the task at hand was done and then reward myself by flying over the trails, or at least I’d try, to fly :-). The tricky bit, for me, was dealing with my protestant style work ethic. I’d not only need to get the work done, but make it very visible. This reality makes it easier to prove yourself on performance. Just showing up does not count. Can you work near something you love to do? Can you become the most productive guy/gal in the business? Your customers, your boss, your colleagues all have time to notice the work you do and be receptive to it. Do good work and *make it visible*.
We at PAG have always been successful building sales for North American brands in the UK, what started with importing Hanes has most recently been replicated with Independent Trading. Not wanting to see our work with Indy go to waste, we have set up our friends at Buffalo Trading with all the contacts and knowledge to supply Indy stock to you. If you need help with that or something else, please do email our usual Sales@pag-leisurewear.co.uk adress and we will pass on or try to help as is applicable.
The list of thank you’s after 51 years is very long hopefully we can do many of them over time and even in person. We wish the best to all of you and hope we can create a better reality soon.