It's been one year since we've sat in the corner of our newly arranged office, listened to bad music, had some beers, discussed conflicting information from the media, and, by the end of the evening, said confidently to each other:
"See you guys in like two weeks! "
We thought we were going on a very short vacation and had planned to do some cleaning in our folders, on our desktops, in our minds, and then come back. None of us had ever gone through a global pandemic before. I can still hear the reassuring voice of our founder telling us to relax, that we would make it through. "Easy," he said with conviction. As he always says when there's trouble.
But time just passed regardless. We just moved along, Zoom-ing and Slack-ing all day long, dealing with a distorted sense of time, picking up new habits, and reflecting a bit more about the world we're living in.
It's been hard.
The overwhelming uncertainty, the never-ending lockdowns, the constant striving to make the business running. The pandemic hit the retail industry hard and split it rapidly into "essential" and "non-essential". Overnight, our work became trivial - as stores closed, everything was canceled.
There are times when we are surprised that we're still here, doing business as usual. Our existing clients have been more supportive than ever; we found new clients, and new clients found us. We lost great people who left for newly discovered dreams and needs; new people joined and showed incredible energy and courage.
Learning how to deal with ourselves and others, keep everyone safe and sane has been a demanding process. Our teams have shown incredible amounts of creativity, understanding and resilience. We are thankful to everyone who shows up and does their best every single day.
If you want to see what we've been working on for the past 12 months, check our Instagram channel.
We asked some of our Pioneers how this last year has been for them. They've found various coping mechanisms, from biking to hiking to meditating and doing art. Some of our colleagues accepted new rituals in their lives, rediscovered hobbies and routines, set new boundaries and learned to make more realistic plans. Some of them just danced it all away.
"This year was a rollercoaster. I learned to make time and take better care of myself, slow down and appreciate the small things; Working out, nature, meditation, art have been the highlights of this year. I've sharpened my cooking skills and caught up on my books ⟶ easy, considering I'm a member of a female book club.", Sandra, Junior Retail Designer.
"One year of spending time with my new best friend ⟶ my sweatpants."
"My time with Pioneers began exactly when the pandemic hit us. I made the best of it and continued following my passion."
Marcus, Project Manager.
"I've been grateful for all the extra time for myself and for the sudden flexibility. I went on many hikes & bicycle tours, I've listened to audio books and rediscovered baking for myself." Eva, Senior Project Manager
"There's been only one way to stay happy during the pandemic ⟶ we ate donuts all the time.", Julian, Art Director.
We're confident for Pioneers' future and we're super excited about the future of retail.
Looking forward to seeing everyone again.
We miss you guys so much.