Aske-based Purple Creative has finally welcomed back one of its earliest employees following maternity leave and the pandemic.
In 2020, Sarah Cook, who joined the team in 2013, was due to celebrate going on maternity leave with the digital agency but plans had to be cancelled by lockdown.
Purple Creative had to navigate becoming a business that operated from home, while missing a key member of the team that had been integral to running the business.
The first year of the pandemic saw a huge increase in requests from clients needing to get online or use social media and digital marketing to extend their own reach and despite the crisis, the team were extremely busy.
During this time technical director Allan Guy and business development manager Scarlett Macfarlane took on the duties that Sarah previously carried out.
The company was even able to take on a new apprentice, Maisy Dinsdale, who has now become a full member of the team despite working towards most of her apprenticeship from home.
Now Maisy is back in the office she has had time to reflect.
She said: “‘My invitation to become a Purple person was very unexpected, largely because we were in the early days of a pandemic, but it’s without a doubt a surprise of the best kind.
“The team at Purple had already adapted incredibly to working from home and when I joined from the comfort of my bedroom, around four months after the first lockdown.
“I feel extremely grateful for the support I received whilst working from home, it was second to none and the whole team chipped in in welcoming me and supporting me throughout my apprenticeship, especially Scarlett, who had the incredible task of recently taking on extra responsibilities on top of her own projects, continuing her university studies and then becoming my line manager.”
A year later after the pandemic first began, Sarah felt that Covid, and the pandemic, had completely deprived her of the opportunity to experience all that comes with the first year of being a mum and so she decided to take a further year out.
She said: “When I went off on maternity leave the team were so supportive sitting in the garden, dropping off cake, flowers and fizz, I will also never forget the day that Scarlett managed to get her hands on some much coveted hand sanitiser and dropped it off as a priority.
“Most of my maternity leave was spent under lockdown so I approached Phil and Allan about a second year, which they generously agreed to which gave me precious time with my daughter.
“I’m so lucky to have the constant support and friendship of the Purple team and I am delighted to be back in the office, I can’t wait to work with old friends and new and look forward to many more fun and exciting years!”
Managing director Phil Upton said: “You never factor in a global event that could totally disrupt or, for some people, destroy your business.
“March 2020 presented a whole raft of new challenges that no disaster planning could have prepared us for but we survived and, despite missing Sarah as a colleague and resource, we got on with the job to emerge stronger than before – all testament to the wonderful family team that makes up Purple.”
Two years on and the business has changed substantially in the wake of the pandemic as things slowly start to open up again and businesses get used to the new normal.
Various staff members also contracted Covid at varying times which put added pressure on the small independent business.
Despite this, Purple was still able to grow and change and has since welcomed several new members of staff to expand its web development and digital marketing teams.
Sarah has now returned in a new role as operations manager for the business, ensuring everything at the agency runs smoothly and customer expectations are met.
Scarlett’s role has also now changed as she has become the commercial manager for the company, responsible for continuing to grow its portfolio of customers, new business opportunities as well as heading up sales and marketing strategies.
Phil said: “In spite of the challenges of the last two years, the team has remained true to the cause having been tested by the pandemic and the isolation of working from home.
“Purple Creative has always thrived on being a family rather than just ‘people in jobs’. I have huge respect for each and every one of them – they make Purple what it is.”
Now the full team is back in the office, they have been able to get back to meeting clients in person again as well as enjoy work celebrations together.
The team is now looking forward to the future with lots of new, extensive projects on the horizon as well as landing some big clients for digital marketing contracts.
To find out more about Purple Creative you can visit their website here.