Three o’clock was launched the day after the French President announced a country lockdown due to one of the biggest crisis the world has undergone since the second world war: COVID-19.

Needless to say, it seemed like the worst time to start a business. We never imagined, back in December when we decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, that the last day at our jobs on the 16th of March, would also mark the announcement of a lockdown. This meant we would have to start our business during confinement and for two of us, with toddlers at home… 24/7. Sounds like fun right?!

Turns out, this is the best thing that could ever have happened to us. It gave us a well-needed break. We worked for more than 10 years straight. We never had the time, nor the space, to think about what we really wanted to do when we woke up every morning. With the lockdown, time seemed to have stopped, or at least slowed down, taking away the sense of urgency that we felt when we knew we would have to start our business the next day. We had time to enjoy moments with our loved ones, focus on what’s really important, and reflect on what we really wanted to do.

It wasn’t always easy. We spent the first month adjusting to our new schedules, zooming during our babies’ nap times (which don’t always go as planned, you know what I’m talking about ;-)) and just sharing how our days were going. Once we got used to the situation and planned our three weekly calls, we were on a roll. We also realised that you don’t need 8-hour work days to be productive and effective. We learned how to be efficient and how to prioritise. We each had our routine. Worked whenever we could during the day, and delivered on time to the team. We also had to adapt. We postponed the product line that we wanted to launch for a while, and focused on our service line, which we believe in the current situation could contribute to helping us get by the COVID-19.

The world as we knew it has changed and we can imagine that public transport, street life or shopping in cities will be different. Cities will need to reinvent themselves and be able to withstand shocks like this one in the future. Amsterdam, for example, is the first city to announce that it will implement the Donut theory as a response to COVID-19. It aims to be “a thriving, regenerative and inclusive city for all citizens, while respecting the planetary boundaries” making it a pioneer in what we could see more of coming our way. We want to be a part of this change and help these cities become more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable, making them better places to live in for all, and for the next generations.

This vision gave us the boost we needed to get things done, and know exactly what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with it. That’s how Three o’clock was born: three colleagues who became close friends, an urge to embark on a journey together, a pandemic, and a country lockdown.

I like to remember a quote from the French film director François Truffaut:

Life has a lot more imagination than we do.

He was right.

Author: Chloe Chavardes