hollis + morris Shows the Importance of Resiliency in the Midst of a Crisis

hollis + morris is a Toronto based lighting and furniture company founded by Mischa Couvrette. The firm got its start in Studio North in 2014 while working out of a converted 2 car garage. Since then, their studio operates their production facility and showroom in Toronto and counts Vice Media, Kimpton Hotels, Google, Nobu Residences, Amazon as some of their many clients.

How has the pandemic affected your business so far?

It remains to be seen how the pandemic will ultimately affect the business. But at the moment all of the showroom staff are working from home and have been since early March. The shop was closed for a couple of weeks and then slowly reopened according to the Government of Ontario’s directives. We are still working with a skeleton staff in the shop and they are busy ensuring that all orders are still on time. 

A great deal of our product is sold to the US, so we have been closely monitoring them as most Canadians have been. Fortunately, our retailers and our newly launched e-commerce website have been driving sales from homeowners looking to improving their environment now that we are all spending more time there. We have noticed big projects have been placed on hold but with the slow reopening, we’re seeing some of these coming back.

Can you share some learnings or ways you have pivoted during this time?

We are a young business that has focused on growth for years, and we are meeting new challenges with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. For the last few years, our structure and goals have set us up to be more online, more virtual and less brick and mortar. We’re seeing prior issues in the industry that were slow to change, and the pandemic has simply expedited solutions to those issues exponentially.

From the onset, we struggled with the traditional business model and have sought ways to do it differently. Transparency and owning the business end to end, from sales to customer experience, has always been a priority for us. We’ve kept these priorities while being focused on the future.

What do you think the future holds for you and your business post COVID?

We have yet to truly see the impacts of COVID. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to very thoughtful people with strong opinions, and I think even they are afraid to speak definitely of the future.

What I do know is that we have been very fortunate so far. We are not a part of some of the hardest-hit industries, like travel and restaurants. We are busy at the moment and hope to continue growing with the same enthusiasm and energy as we did before the pandemic. We’re a resilient team, and we’re eager to help our customers improve their spaces, which we believe is more critical than ever as we spend more time at home.

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