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NW Team Update: March 22 2020

To Everyone at Nadine West,

I hope this message finds you well. We’ve all just experienced an almost indescribable emotional roller coaster last week. My hope is that today’s company-wide update gives you a little clarity on what’s going on with Nadine West, along with some thoughts about what happens next.

What are the key takeaways?

1. This is a long message, so let me just say up-front that the first key takeaway is that Sidney and I are more grateful than ever to have such an amazing team. You are the reason that we are in such a strong position, while so many companies are, unfortunately, struggling to survive.

Thank you, to each of you, for your role in building Nadine West into such a resilient, efficient company. It’s through your creativity, your problem-solving, and your focus that we are in a good position today.

2. The second key takeaway is: this, too, shall pass. Once this crisis is over, we’ll have plenty of time to reflect. My hopeful prediction is that everyone around the world will learn to appreciate each other and to be grateful for things that we might have previously taken for granted.

Now for some updates.

The situation here in the United States and in Austin changes daily. Sometimes hourly. There’s a chance that some of these updates will be out-of-date in a day or two, but we’ll share what we know. Let’s jump in.

What do we know?

1. We know that our members love Nadine West. On Tuesday, we asked our members what they wanted from Nadine West, during this crisis. 

Overwhelmingly, they responded that they wanted to continue receiving their pink packages. They shared that, during this craziness and chaos, they wanted normalcy and comfort. They also wanted to be respectful and to make sure that our warehouse team was taking all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

2. We know that vendors are still making and shipping inventory, but that we are one of the few companies still buying. The big off-price retailers in the U.S. (TJ Maxx, Ross, Burlington, Gabes) and pretty much all shopping malls have completely shut down. Factories and clothing wholesalers tell us they have plenty of inventory and are looking to liquidate asap. Our buying team is actively looking for bargains.

3. We know that (excluding the Austin warehouse) Nadine West’s remote teams (Philippines, Russia, Toronto, Alaska, Indiana, Vietnam, Miami) are able to continue working without any major interruption. We’ve been working remotely for the past six years, so that puts us in a strong position.

4. We know that the Nadine West spirit remains as strong as ever.

What don’t we know?

We don’t know how much the social distancing measures will slow the rate of COVID infections in Austin and in Texas.

If social distancing measures (plus hand-washing and face mask adoption) work as expected, the infection rates slow down, and medical supplies start getting restocked again. If that happens, local governments will allow local businesses to continue operating. As long as officials let us operate the warehouse, with all safety precautions in place, we are in good shape.

If social distancing measures fail to slow down the infection rate, then our government will increase restrictions and then we’ll have to put our heads together and figure it out.

Let’s pray that people listen to officials and maintain social distance here in the U.S. and around the world.

Also, there are other reasons to believe that we’ll turn the corner soon. Experimental treatments are showing promise, face mask production and hand sanitizer production in China has ramped up to amazing levels, and there is now a 45-minute diagnostic test here in the U.S. to help identify and isolate new cases.

What safety measures are in place to protect the warehouse?

It would be devastating if someone on the warehouse team was infected, so we have been very vigilant about safety. Here’s what’s in place in the warehouse:

  • Starting last week, face masks are a requirement for everyone in the warehouse. 
  • There is strict, frequent disinfecting of tablets, work stations, and other surfaces. 
  • We have set up 6-feet, make-shift partitions between work tables to maintain social distance in the work areas.
  • There is strict social distance in the break-room during breaks and lunch. Many people are eating lunch in their cars, to be extra safe.
  • There are two air-purifiers with UV-C germicidal lights in the break-room.
  • The warehouse bay doors remain open for maximum ventilation. Next week, we begin testing in-house production of fabric face masks and of hand sanitizer. In the event that those supplies are unavailable elsewhere, we still need a way to remain protected.
  • We ordered five more UV-C germicidal lights, to be used to sanitize tools, equipment, masks, etc. 
  • If you have any additional safety suggestions, or feel like we overlooked anything, please message Sidney or me on Ping.

What does the future look like?

There is absolutely no doubt that Nadine West will emerge stronger than ever, once this crisis is over.

The core fundamentals of the Nadine West business model have not changed. Members  love Nadine West. All teams run very efficiently so that we can keep prices low. In tough economic times, Nadine West’s low prices are even more appealing.

Nadine West’s DNA has always included frugality and efficiency, so we don’t need to change who we are at all. If you haven’t seen a picture of our first Nadine West warehouse, it’s this beautiful facility below. What could be more frugal than that?

Financially, as long as we are able to run the warehouse, we are in good shape. We don’t have fancy, expensive headquarters nor are we burdened by debt. We have always run lean and mean and, because of that, we will survive and emerge stronger when things return to normal.

What if things get worse?

The truth is, Nadine West is not really in the “apparel business.” Nadine West is in the happiness delivery business. Yes, we sell outfits to the everyday woman. But, really, Nadine West is a tribe of smart, hard-working, creative people who come together to deliver happiness to our members.

We are in the happiness business, and that will never change, even if our offerings evolve over time.

What can you do to help?

Mostly, continue to be an amazing member of the team. Help each other out. If you have any ideas on what we can do better, please let me, Sidney, or your team lead know.

In the warehouse, we now have a team in charge of keeping morale high, during these tough times. If the remote teams want something like that, let your manager know.

Please give us feedback. We would like to hear your ideas. Take care and stay safe.

Warmest Wishes,
Ben and Sidney

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