Some things never change, even in a world of uncertainty, muses ETN editor Liz Benwell

The past fortnight has seen the big fashion brands scrambling to support their suppliers in the Far East. No doubt some of their action comes from the heart; but they’re mainly motivated by their heads. 

Seasonal and on-trend stock is taking a kicking thanks to Corvid-19. But that’s now a retail problem. Brands are getting twitchy about sourcing spring summer 2021 and autumn/winter 2021/22 ranges.

As Monty Stuart-Monteith said of the currently disrupted global supply chains (ETN newsletter, 23 April): “There can be no assumption that they’ll always be there with products at the price and quality required.”

Many people are saying that retailing will never be the same again following the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. Perhaps more significantly, the origin of many products will need to change too. 

With the world in turmoil, I wonder if the hunt isn’t already on for sustainable supply chains closer to home? 

Craving consistency

It’s spooky how some of the most wonderful spring weather we’ve enjoyed for many a year has coincided with the UK’s dose of coronavirus. Until that is, this week when the rain has come as welcome relief for those who want their grass to grow.  

Overall, for five or so weeks, conditions have been perfect for bathing horses, having a tack room clear-out, repairing fencing and spring cleaning the stables. 

Stores are reporting strong sales of grooming, care and maintenance type products. Not necessarily the cheapest, but the most reliable. 

At times of uncertainty, we crave the familiar. For retailers and end-users alike, now is not the time to start experimenting - but to choose what you know works. 

Masking a problem

Entrepreneurs everywhere are wondering how they can help – and in some cases make a few quid – in the current crisis. 

OK, so how about knocking up a few face masks? Even a scarf or a piece of cloth can help stop the virus spreading apparently… Or what about bandanas which can be discreetly pulled up over one’s nose and mouth at times of need?

But, then again, did you hear about clothing brand Boohoo facing a backlash for selling masks as fashion accessories? Said items were emblazoned with slogans like ‘Quarantine Queen’ and ‘Eat, Sleep, Isolate, Repeat’. 

Um, careful what you wish for…

Animal magic

Goodness me, this isolation business has made us appreciate our animals. I confess to talking to my horses and dogs even more than usual. And they are very good listeners…

Image by