2020 has been a unique year for businesses – to put it mildly – but one Bedford couple is facing the challenge head on.
Tom and Jess Answer, the owners of Vintage Suit Hire Company (VSHC), created the Boyds of Bedford brand in 2018 from their shop in Castle Lane, just off Bedford High Street.
After successfully moving to bigger premises in January this year, they were forced to close during lockdown and despite reopening in July, the continued financial uncertainty meant they had to take the decision to close their Stagsden shop.
However, they’re not quite ready to let a global pandemic get the better of Boyds, so, with the help of customers, friends and fellow Bedfordians, they’ve launched a crowdfunder to bring Boyds back from the dead.
The crowdfunder has a £10,000 target, with specially designed rewards for anyone who contributes.
“With what we have put together, we hope that this is less about charity, and more about us seeing if there is an appetite for more of what we do,” explained Tom.
“If there is, then we will give it another shot, if not we will admit defeat. At our lowest point, we were ready to end the Boyds brand all together.
“But the continued messages of support and good vibes has inspired us to give it one last shot.”
The re-born Boyds will be a different beast, more agile and able to deal with the social and economic challenges of global pandemics.
“Our plan is to have an established location where we will host meets at least monthly throughout the warmer seasons, but also take Boyds to our wide customer base at shows and meets across the country,” said Tom.
“We plan to raise money to make a mobile Boyds pop-up shop. We want to be able to continue to showcase and sell our own brand products, be a social hub and if we achieve our stretch target, have the capability of serving coffee and drinks (Jess wants a moonshine bar).
“Sadly, we won’t be re-opening the doors at Stagsden, but who knows, if we can continue to grow the brand, we may be able to open a new standalone location in a few years.”
To support Tom and Jess’s Boyds of Bedford crowdfunder, click here.