INTERVIEW: Coping with Lockdown Blues – a South African Perspective

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With winter tapping its icy fingers on our windows and the VERY real possibility of a Third Wave of Covid-19 infections looming over us, I spoke to small business owners to establish what impact the first two Lockdown periods have had on their businesses, as well as in their day to day lives. I asked them to share some of their experiences and to provide helpful hints to cope a little better with the next Lockdown.

Tyrone Kleiner is from Johannesburg South and has recently launched a Cannabis inspired line of apparel. “Before Lockdown I was running a rather successful container business. Due to a shortage of containers and prices skyrocketing, the business was not performing well and I looked for an alternative source of income.”

Cannabis Clothing

The booming Cannabis industry lit a creative spark within Tyrone and he looked at ways to enter this rapidly growing industry.

“The legislation for the Cannabis industry in South Africa is in its fledgling stage,” said Tyrone. “I was looking for a niche in the market where I did not need to worry about the legality of the product I was selling. I decided to launch a brand of Cannabis inspired clothing and Green and Gold was born.”

Kleiner says that he launched about 8 months ago and that the business is growing slowly but that is to be expected as we are in the middle of a pandemic as well as a recession.

Mental and Physical Health

 Commenting on how Lockdown affected his personal and mental state he had this to say: “As a positive person Lockdown only started to affect me towards the end of the first 3 months.” He added that being alone during the first lockdown was extremely difficult and took a toll on his mental and physical health. “I did find myself more balanced when we could work and interact with others and as for my personal health I have started eating healthier as well as exercising and I am happy to say I have kept up with this part of my life.”

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Depression and Lockdown Blues

I did have mild depression I assume.” admits Tyrone.

Like so many of us the feelings that he experienced were most definitely something uncomfortable and alien. LOCKDOWN BLUES has become a part of many South Africans lives. In these unprecedented times when the only certainty is UNcertainty, we all react and deal with things in our own way. People who are feeling more anxious, depressed or stressed must know that there are ways of coping with these feelings and emotions. “I kept positive by exercising and planning the launch of my clothing brand after the lockdowns,” said Tyrone. He says that researching how to start a clothing brand (he watched Youtube for tips and advice) and watching comedies and more light-hearted shows and movies, helps to keep you in a better space…and he suggests that exercising becomes part of your daily life. 

Support systems and staying positive

Not having a support system in place when lockdown was instituted added an unbelievable amount of stress to the Canna Clothing entrepreneur’s life. It is essential for you and any staff you may have, to plan and implement a strong support system – both for you personally,  as well as a more business oriented one. In this instance Failing to plan is with certainty planning to fail and that, as we all know, is not an option if you are reliant on your business for an income. “Follow your dreams and do whatever you can to keep a  positive frame of mind. This situation is only temporary.” Words that Tyrone Kleiner says to himself everyday. He suggests that you find a mantra that works for you and keep repeating it until you believe it, and then start living accordingly.

Hope and hard work

Despite all the doom and gloom thrown at us everyday, Tyrone believes that there is hope for small businesses in South Africa. According to him he has geared a large portion of his day to day routine towards the next lockdown and that he is much better prepared than before.

Small businesses can be successful in a Covid environment – all it takes is holistic planning… and working that little bit harder than the next guy…put in the effort and reap the rewards!


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