Fireside Chat with Filipa Munoz de Oliveira
Today, I had the most enjoyable fireside chat with Filipa Munoz de Oliveira. Filipa was born in Lisbon in the hot summer of 1975. She studied management at Universidade Catolica, which makes us kind of rivals! In 2007, after New York and London, the family moved to Lisbon and Filipa launched Wink, a service that she had gotten to know and love in London. In 2010 Filipa had her second child.
Finding her inner-strength
In this episode, Filipa shared how she dealt with the lockdown in her business. She decided to close the shops ahead of the government lockdown, in what was one of the toughest decisions she had to do. As she kept her office team working alongside the shop supervisors, Zoom became the new normal. They quickly reacted to suspend relationships with suppliers in an effort to preserve cash and the long term sustainability of the 13-year-old company. In reality, the first 2 weeks, as Filipa described candidly, were very tough and involved (quite a few) tears.
But through this crisis, Filipa found an inner-strength that drove her to keep her employees and her family well and safe. After the initial shock period, Wink re-engaged with its customers, only to find out they were very much looking forward to hear from them. They created new distribution channels for their products. Furthermore, they found innovative ways to engage with their customers virtually, helping them keep an eye on their looks while at home!
Life at Home
At home, Filipa quickly found the family needed a routine to avoid late meals and forgotten housework. After the initial excitement, the school work got into a steady routine and Filipa could support the children while keeping her company going. As a plus, they got to do more together as a family and she could see another side to the children that she was not used to seeing before.
Filipa managed her mental health by focusing on the day-to-day, without too much consideration about how long the whole situation would last. Whilst she recognises many people are struggling with the anxiety of not seeing the end of it, she chose to move herself forward without too much thought on the outlook. Day-by-day.
Back to Business
As Wink returned to business, much had to change. The team used the time at home well and practiced an entirely new way to do threading. Covid-19 or not, this new way is here to stay. As a leader, Filipa felt more empowered and stronger than ever before. She took care of not only her own personnel of over 200 but also her franchisees, who very much relied on her for support. In addition, she also made a resolution to be more strict about investing extra-cash in the future, just in case!
In fact, still now, as the business is slowly returning to full operations, Filipa still needs to be managing day by day. She keeps a close eye on the personnel and issues that can come up. The operating procedures are heavy but everyone is adjusting as best as they can. And they are encouraged by the fact that customers were eager to come back and thankful that they found new solutions.
It was a pleasure to chat with Filipa. She has shown great strength through this lockdown, leading a business that was immediately affected by the shop closures and staying close to her customers.
I can’t wait to see how Wink continues to grow!
Filipa’s Lockdown List
- Book: Isabel Allende, A Long Petal from the Sea
- Sport: Personal Training
- Technology: Zoom
- Lesson: You shouldn’t take anything for granted, and enjoy the little things
- Word: Challenging