Danielle Hempseed at Lilly and Lotus.
Danielle Hempseed at Lilly and Lotus.

Events business feels corona pinch

DANIELLE Hempseed was preparing to interview for four new staff this week as her business enters its peak season.

But now, with at least 30 cancellations, she isn’t even sure how she will make it through the month.

Ms Hempseed is the owner of Lilly and Lotus Events, a wedding and event planning, styling, flowers and DIY hire business, based in Rockhampton.

As more and more restrictions come into place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Hempseed has received at least 33 cancellations in the past couple of weeks, most for events that have been postponed to a later or unknown date or have been restricted to a smaller guest list.

This weekend coming would have been the start of her high season with back to back events.

Now, events for the rest of March, April and June have been cancelled and July events are up in the air.

On Monday she received eight postponements in just one hour – and she is expecting even more as the restrictions get even tighter.

These events include her big ticket items like the Pop Up Polo, council events and weddings. Other events even included a wake, along with birthday parties, engagement parties, balls, community events, race days and fundraisers.

It was going to be her biggest year yet and she had begun the recruitment process for four new staff to help out during the peak season.

Having just come out of the quiet season, Ms Hempseed was counting on these events

Lilly and Lotus supports four staff and Ms Hempseed’s main focus is to keep them employed and make sure her rent is paid so they have a business to come back to when it’s all over.

“I just hope that I can run lean enough that I can stretch this,” she said.

“It’s going to rely on the 2021 brides and events and they are happy to start paying deposits. There is only so long I can go on with no cashflow.”

The worst part is it is unknown how long the pandemic will take to clear.

Most of her events are being pushed to October but there is even a chance they might not go ahead then.

“It would be so stressful to move it to October and then have to move it again, it’s so hard to know,” she said.

“It’s just so disappointing and when I can’t even give them an answer.”

Most brides have been ringing up crying, upset about having to cancel their big day.

“There is so much anticipation and build up to your wedding day,” she said.

“To get the rug pulled out from under you in such a short amount of time...”

Some people are just changing to the same date next year and Ms Hempseed is worried about the bottleneck of events.

The business also has a retail side with a florist. Ms Hempseed has moved to stop instore floral sales and pick ups and is offering delivery.

“The shop is so small hard it is hard to keep social distancing,” she said.

Even the hospitals are cracking down on flower deliveries and the orders are decreasing.

“There is so much uncertainty people aren't spending money on a luxury item like flowers,” Ms Hempseed said.

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