A Welshot Retrospective
On 20th March 2020 – We shut the Welshot Office doors and we went home!
We had been full of hope a week before – despite postponing all our events for the next 6 weeks, it was now looking likely it was to be much longer. Much, much longer. We’d only just paid the final balance for our return trip to Venice – it was to be our third “Discover – Experience – Photograph” adventure to this wonderful, colourful, vibrant and photogenic City.
Then, Italy, shut their doors – along with the rest of the World!
Today – Monday 20th March 2023 we are finally off to Venice with our cameras.
It’s the last of the three overseas trips we’d planned before the World shut down – Krakow and Rome had also been scheduled for 2020. Those photographic trips have already, thankfully, taken place.
But it’s that planned trip to Venice that evokes all the memories, feelings, and worry of what was to come that gives us a sense of pride, satisfaction and, let’s be honest, relief.
Finally… Three Years To The Day!
We didn’t cancel any of our Welshot events. We just postponed them! Our first thoughts were always, and always will be, for the health and safety of our Welshot Members, and while postponing events is always a bit of a logistical nightmare for any events company, this was, as far as we were concerned, the right thing to do. We never, for one moment, when we locked up the office, thought that it would take until March 2023 to finally, bar one full day themed photo-shoot, get caught up.
2022 was the hardest year.
In retrospect, 2022 was harder than 2020 and 2021 put together – 2022 was a year of catching up, keeping up and moving forward – all being run simultaneously, making sure we still looked after our Members when it came to the money they had already invested in us. Making sure we could carry on, running newly planned photography adventures that our Members continued to invest in us (which meant a very busy event schedule indeed) – And, finally, making sure we were able to develop, build and grow our business for the future – Let’s just say, there were whiteboards, spreadsheets and notebooks full of lists for the past, present and future.
One by one, we ticked off the events – all the postponed events, the new events and we were, day by day plotting and planning for the day we could finally say…
We have no postponed events left to run – it’s only the new!
Welshot Does… Venice 2023
It’s only now, as we prepare to board our Jet2 flight to Marco Polo Airport today that we finally feel we can say it. We’ve done it, we’ve caught up and kept up and not one Welshot Member lost any money. The decision we took to take the full hit ourselves leaves us with a huge sense of pride, achievement and satisfaction.
Throughout lockdown (we were actually in full, complete isolation – we didn’t leave our home until September 2020) we took Welshot online, in between zoom One to Ones and pub quizzes we built a new website, we designed our new Membership Manuals and packages and we created workbooks and hand-outs to help those who wanted to take up the hobby of photography and learn how to use their camera.
By the time we got to mid 2021 each and every Member of Welshot, got a brand new shiny account with everything they had (and often more) owing to them before Covid 19 and throughout these unprecedented time.
We all know what happened in 2020 and 2021 – it was in and out of lockdowns, a time of false starts and shutting down again and again and like many other businesses, we at Welshot were no different. We took a long and slow approach all the way through those years. Starting first with opening up the office – and building a brand new Welshot Creative Hub in Llandudno, then our outdoor events, then our One to One sessions and then, finally our full day themed photo-shoots at the Chester Crowne Plaza.
As for everyone, it was hard – we continually had to tweak the events schedule, we kept (and still keep) to the Covid regulations and if it wasn’t for our Members knowing we had their best interests at heart – health, safety and us wanting to give them the very best experience possible, we doubt we’d be here now – it was them trusting us, still willing to invest in us and them believing in what we are trying to build that kept us going, physically, mentally and let’s not forget, financially.
When you are a small business – your customers, clients, Members are what keeps going and we will always be truly grateful to those who stuck by us. We’ve all seen that Meme – When someone buys from a small business, someone does a happy dance – well, we might not dance but you can bet your bottom dollar we always surprised when someone chooses Welshot, we always appreciate it and we never, ever, take it for granted!
Over the next 4 nights we will be exploring the canals, islands and buildings of Venice – our delegates will walk for miles, take 100’s of photographs, set alarm clocks for 4.00am wake-up calls and not fall into bed until gone midnight.
It’s not a holiday. For Team Welshot nor for Delegates, but we’ve all learnt from the last few years, life is for the living, you can sleep when you get home and this is the time for making those photos we’ve waited three years to take.
Over the next 18 to 24 months we’ve got lots planned at Welshot, we have a bigger Team (including Team Creative) and we have even bigger ideas – many of which are already off the ideas whiteboard and into full-on plotting and planning mode. From making our own costumes. to bespoke printed backdrops, from forming collaborations which will bring new ideas and opportunities to fruition for the photographer to bringing back some old favourites, like Welshot Focus.
Our small group sessions at the Welshot Creative Hub, our One to One photographic tuition, such as our “Learn Your Camera” and our Friday Night is Studio Night and Post Processing/Editing sessions will also be a big part of our Welshot events – We do more than themed photo-shoots and we are more than just photography events – Welshot is a community!
Finally… Three Years To The Day! Welshot is now looking forward and not looking back. That is, apart from remembering all the memories of all our photographic adventures and looking at the 100’s of images that have been made with our cameras.
We hope that one day, you will be able to join us. Either on a Welshot Mini Module, at an Academy Evening, on a One to One session or a full day, themed photo-shoot.
Or, maybe, just maybe you’d like to join us on one of our Members only “Discover – Experience – Photograph” adventures in a vibrant and colourful city like Venice.