By Betsy Cook, owner, National Picnic
Photo by Denise Guerin
Update, March 20th: Already regretting the comment that artists can appreciate the solitude of self-quarantine. Apologies, it now seems like a careless comment, in hindsight. However, I'm leaving it in to help illustrate just how much things have changed since. The virus has been revealing new situations by the hour. —Betsy
Posted March 12:
When I look back on the Coronavirus of 2020, I will remember March 11. The day a pandemic was declared, the day where ALL important news was somehow related to COVID-19. Any piece of news that happened to cross my screen NOT related to the current global health crisis seemed insignificant, unimportant.
It was also the day I had planned to send out my company's newsletter email. About fashion. Fashion branded to evoke a lifestyle of enjoyment. Fun. Comfort. It felt weird.
So I didn't send it.
A day later, I again considered not sending.
Then I realized, my email campaign app is still going to send me a bill for this month's subscription. A bill paid for by orders from sent emails.
The monthly charge for my online website will appear on my credit card, even if I decide not to invite people to have a peek at the new things I'm making.
Each small business owner's story will be different, but the story is also the same: Rent will be due again soon, whether or not anyone will venture out and enter a non-essential boutique, or any other less necessary place of business.
My own business's smallness is an asset during this time. I am truly a teeny, tiny player in a huge industry. Staff is absolutely needed for the long haul—in a pinch, though, I am not at risk of not filling the usual volume of orders because staff should stay home. I can come and go by myself to the shop—it's my shop. I'll be IN. I'll keep hours. I have fabric. Spring is coming, and I will not be without things to offer once the restrictions subside. Not to make light of anything, but if I had to self-quarantine myself, as long as I can access my studio? Sounds like it has an upside. Creatively, at least. Artists, you can relate.
Social media may appear at times to ignore the obvious. Small businesses are carrying on with out-and-about imagery we invested in before high alert, with photos that now seem taken long ago. Back when I was able to hug the model when she arrived for the shoot. Or see my sister off to Spain with a trousseau of National Picnic clothing she promised to photograph on her honeymoon. These images are queued up and ready. I love what we're making, and I still want to share it. No, it can't wait.
Please know small businesses need to carry on, hoping to keep a toehold on the livelihoods that enrich our community until, and after, things return to normal.
I am sending the email.