COVID-19 is affecting us. Yes, AND...

By Betsy Cook, Owner, National Picnic

Photo by Denise Guerin

Update: I regret initially writing the comment that artists can appreciate the solitude of self-quarantine. My apologies, it now seems like a careless comment, in hindsight. However, I'm leaving it in to keep an accurate historical perspective on just how much things have changed since. At last edit to this page, COVID-19 is still very much in progress. —Betsy

Original post, March 12, 2021:

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.





  • Monika Schermer

    I hope we can all make it to the other side. I too will go my store and get other work done, even once we have to close.

  • Emilie

    Thanks for being brave and for posting your message. As a small business owner myself, I empathize. I know there will be challenges. But i say…Keep busy. Keep making. And keep us well dressed.

  • Betsy Cook

    Thanks, ladies, Thanks so much for your comment on my blog, when I wrote it I had no idea if it would be well received. Stay safe and well!

  • Christine Slover

    We are all in this together. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • SUsan DAvidson

    You will get through this difficult time. You have an excellent product. When we are all out and about and Haddonfield is in bloom, your customers will be eager to visit.

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