What strange times we're living in, right? With all of the misery that has come with the global pandemic happening right now, it would be an understatement to say that almost everyone is struggling right now. And amongst all of the disease and grief, so much of the world is also dealing with sudden employment and the loss of businesses. It's hard to feel helpless right now, but since my heart is breaking for all of the small business owners being hurt right now, I reached out to some of those female small business owners for their thoughts. Everyone is a tough spot right now, so this just a peak into what some are dealing with and how you can help.
It deserves to be said a million times: it's more important than ever to shop small. Some people won't be able to survive this time so before ordering in takeout from a big chain or placing an online order with a fast fashion retailer, if you can, try to support a small business whose livelihood may be in danger right now.
And of course: wash your hands and stay inside!
Here's what 5 small shop owners are saying:
Mia of A Shop of Things
How has COVID-19 affected your shop and how you do business?: "Immediately when shops began to shut down I lost all of my wholesale clients! If shops aren't open to sell my goods then they don't need to place any reorders with me which means my entire wholesale income is $0. Wholesale was previously 30% of my business so that is a heavy hit! I also have three people that work part time for me and that first week that shops were closing I stopped having my part time staff come in Fortunately they all have other jobs that are still employing them for now so I didn't have to (and wouldn't have!) left anyone high and dry. My heart really goes out to all of the shops that have to pay rent despite not being able to be open! Business has DEFINITELY been slower for me, so in the meantime I'm trying to make up for sales I lost via wholesale from website sales."
What can people do to support you?: "The best way to support me (if you are able to!) is to buy my products from either me or any of my retailers! If you buy from one of my retailers you can support two businesses at once. I have a couple customers who have spread joy by sending their friends quarantine gifts and for those I included a handwritten note from their friend! If you don't have any disposable income the best way to support me or any other small business is to sign up for their email list, like a photo, share a product, tell a friend about a small business you love, comment on their social media post, all of the above mean just as much as spending money!"
Holly of Holly Frost Floral
How has COVID-19 affected your shop and how you do business?: "This pandemic has affected my business heavily since I primarily work weddings and elopements. Several of my spring and summer events have been rescheduled or cancelled altogether and wholesalers I relied on have closed their doors until further notice.
Luckily, I specialize in artificial and dry flower arrangements! This allows me to mail brides and grooms florals without the risk of exposure and lets my clients reschedule their events at any time. It's comforting for many of my brides to physically have their bouquet with them. Some even hang their flowers or use them as decor around the house! I think holding on to their future wedding bouquet helps them set goals and focus on moving forward even at a difficult time like this. "
What can people do to support you?: "Brides or grooms can reschedule events as opposed to cancelling to help out small businesses in the wedding industry. People can also order artificial arrangements to spruce up their homes or workspaces during COVID-19. I'm planning on rolling out some new products to offer like magnets, centerpieces, and wall art for a little income during this slow wedding season.
People can also really help me and other female small business owners by sharing our posts on Instagram or tagging friends in the comments. A like, comment, or share can help get fresh eyes on our work and potentially help us book a new client!"
Magnus of Magnus Clothing Co.
How has COVID-19 affected your shop and how you do business?: "Function has currently replaced fashion in our society. Focusing on how a product can help people in their daily lives is the new selling point. "
What can people do to support you?: "Insta posts: Clicking the "save" icon or tapping on any tags in the photo help get our products seen by people who ARE ready to buy!"
Kate of Kate Gabrielle
How has COVID-19 affected your shop and how you do business?: "My sales have definitely slowed down considerably in the last few weeks, which is understandable since I don’t sell necessary goods. Other than having way less orders to pack each day, the only other change has been how I ship my orders. I stopped going to the post office about two weeks ago and now I schedule daily contactless pick-ups instead. Each night I schedule a pick-up on the USPS website and when I wake up I leave my packages on my front porch. By early afternoon, the mailman has usually picked them up and scanned them and I get an email confirmation that the pickup was complete. I’m so glad this is an option because it means less contact for me and for postal workers."
What can people do to support you?: "I understand why people aren’t making purchases right now, but if someone out there needs a little pick-me-up in the mail or if you want to send a gift directly to a friend that’s self isolating that would be a great way to support me and also cheer someone up a bit :) I’m currently running a promotion for 15% off and a free patch on orders of $15 or more with code ROSECOLORED. I also have a patreon atpatreon.com/kategabriellewhere I offer free digital downloads, host a monthly giveaway, and share sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes content. It’s literally just $1 a month but it makes a HUGE difference to me to know I can count on a little bit of income each month since my regular sales are so erratic now. Oh, also, the patreon gives you access to a private instagram called katesclubhouse where I share lots of sneak peeks at my works-in-progress! And if money is really tight (relatable!) just sharing my work on social media means so much to me."
Holly of Holly Oddly
How has COVID-19 affected your shop and how you do business?: "When COVID-19 hit I lost all wholesale sales, which was 90% of my business. All the shops are closed. "
What can people do to support you?: "A follow and shout out on Instagram is always greatly appreciated (@hollyoddly)! And if you want some great discounts and fun embroidery kits to keep you busy, you can shop hollyoddly.com"