Reflecting on 2020, what a year!
Back in January, little did we think we’d be homeschooling our children, working from home, virtually fitting wigs and prostheses and getting Roches deliveries to the house! It has been a challenging year, to say the least, but thankfully we can now reflect and appreciate some of the positive changes it has brought along. Just like, getting to spend more time with our families and appreciate the little things in life like nature and the outdoors. We also became much more tech-savvy and had time to reflect on our direction in life and in business.
The first lockdown in March threw us into the unknown. Luckily our team was fantastic in adapting to remote working and found new ways of virtually meeting clients. We began fitting wigs and prostheses via photographs, monitored home measurements on WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom, or whatever clients had access to. It was a steep learning curve, but it worked and we can now fit a wig or prostheses from anywhere in the world with our online consultations.
The day finally arrived on June 8th, we could reopen our doors and welcome you all back. Although, with all the PPE, masks, gowns and gloves we don’t know how we didn’t scare you away! Maybe it was due to our medical grade deep cleaning, or maybe the comforting welcome from our wonderful staff… who knows?
Taking Roches on a new venture
Firstly, the importance of nature and sustainability was heightened during the lockdown, so we decided to introduce a new brand of organic hair colour called Oway – The Organic Way.
We are so conscious of the amount of medication and chemicals the body is exposed to in everyday life and during cancer treatment, so we really wanted a natural hair colour with no harsh chemicals. Oway colour is beyond organic as it is all plant-based and produced by a highly sustainable company, all their packaging is eco-friendly. And, as Roches are so committed to the environment this brand was the perfect choice.
We also got a hair analyser from Oway, so we can now test your hair and scalp when hair starts to regrow and advise what treatment is best for you. To date, both staff and clients are loving the Oway products. Looking great and knowing you are not harming yourself or the planet is a win-win.
The introduction of new services also introduced a new staff member. In July, the wonderful Eileen joined our team. Not only is she a master colourist and wig fitter but she has vast experience in the hair replacement industry. We are so excited to now be able to offer bonded hair pieces and wigs for men and women. We really welcomed the male energy in the clinic – although the guys tend to come to us when no one else is around.
Improve our online presence
This was a monumental project considering the size of our stock and the breadth of our offerings. So far, we have introduced over 400 products to our website and have increased online sales by 540%. We have huge plans for next year, so watch this space.
This project is really exciting and once again has expanded the Roches team. Thanks to Google Hangouts, we have Sandra who lives in Spain and Denise who lives in the UK. Our Ella was a super team member, who got pulled away from accounts to help with the website and now processes all your online orders.
As Roches grew online, so did our presence on social media. We have arrived in the 21st Century and found an amazing digital marketing executive to manage our growing site and all our social media. Maeve has done a fantastic job showing you all the products we carry and the services that have been hidden from view for years! She is a fantastic addition to Team Roches.
Speaking of social media, you may have noticed Anne featuring lots more. Anne faced her fear of cameras and did her first Facebook live with the Marie Keating Foundation and Look Good Feel Better. This was just the start as she then went on to conquer other platforms! Again, if I were you, I’d watch this space as Anne is so knowledgeable about alopecia, and all things cancer-related, she has lots more to share with you in the new year.
During the year you met the wonderful Klara McDonnell on our social channels. Klara navigated her way through her triple-negative breast cancer and has some fantastic vlogs from her journey and her visits to Roches. In the YouTube video Klara had one of our Oway hair stimulating treatments and tried out some of our skincare products.
Having conquered technology in relation to working remotely and collaboratively online, we decided to take Roches a step further and improve our stock and customer management system. This new system will be rolled out early in 2021. It has you, our customer, in mind as it will send email and text reminders for your appointment, outlining what to bring, when your HSE allowances are eligible again, and so much more. We hope it will make booking with Roches even easier for you.
Over the year, we had a great time growing our knowledge, capabilities and team, but we did have to say goodbye to others.
In March just weeks before the schools shut down, we said goodbye to Siobhan O’Sullivan Jackson as she left Roches to work as an SNA. Then we bid farewell to our breast care wonder woman Domenica, as she retired after 10 years with Roches. Domenica left big shoes to fill and we are still looking to replace her. Last but by no means least, Claire took early retirement to enjoy life to the fullest and, hopefully someday soon, will travel the world.
Earlier this year, Karen took leave to cocoon and care for her mum, which has to be the ultimate gesture of love. Sadly, her mum passed away, our sincere condolences go to Karen and her family. As the year closes, we are delighted to have recently welcomed Karen back at Roches reception.
Unfortunately, we cannot welcome everybody back to the Roches team. We watched as Holly braved Covid restrictions to go to the US for her trial drug, and then sadly lose her battle with Cancer. This is one of the saddest realities of 2020 as Holly was such a wonderful and pioneering woman and friend. And, to all those who lost loved ones this year, we are sending you light, love, strength and hope over Christmas and the year ahead.
The year has been full of the unexpected and continues to still throw up more surprises as we approach the final days. It is a year none of us will forget anytime soon.
The Roches team would like to sincerely thank all our wonderful clients, our new and our regulars, for their understanding and support as we braved our way through Covid, alopecia and cancer in 2020. We are looking forward to 2021 and for now, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year.