Small business in the time of a pandemic (updated 5.1)

Social distancing sucks, but it is a necessary evil to help us minimize the effects of the pandemic. Many of us are dealing with reduced hours or unemployment on top of cabin fever and virtual happy hour fatigue. 

But, what is it like to continue to run a small business in this chaos? We are a small business and right now like many other industries our future isn’t super clear. There is so much that has changed but also so much that hasn’t! This is how we have been thriving during this time, much of it with the support of other small businesses! 

Distanced support: New product photos from a distance with Quincy Street Kitchen 
We love variety and wanted to continue to innovate and launch seasonal products. But we need help to let customers know we have these new things so we worked digitally with Quincy Street Kitchen on new high-quality product photography! 

  • Seasonal bars

    are our way of getting creative and a pandemic wasn’t going to stop us! We created two amazing new soaps for you and worked with Quincy Street Kitchen to create creative images that will help you experience them virtually!

  • New Shampoo bars Our newest additions to the family are some updated shampoo bars and for one the color was a bit of a surprise! We wanted you to see the deep green color of the bar that comes naturally from adding eggs for a hydrating boost - science rocks!

  • Quincy Street Kitchen is now offering virtual photo shoots with remote review and approval of your photos. Schedule product photos or lifestyle shots with them now so you are ready for website updates or to show off your summer items! You can arrange to either drop off (no-contact) or ship your products to them. 
The show must go on!: Going digital with help from Uncommon Collaborative 
No one can sell a product better than the maker. The passion and confidence that comes with being proud of what you have made are hard to convey through the text on a web page. So we worked with Uncommon Collaborative to bring the experience and interaction to you virtually. Here are some of the things that we just rolled out! (A detailed post about that process to come!)
  • How-to videos let us show you best practices when using our favorite products virtually! You can learn how to use a shampoo bar, check out a zero-waste shave set or how to wash your face without making a mess using our honey wash. 

  • Meet the maker behind the brand - Everyone loves a good story, the ‘WHY’ behind a maker and what they do. We made a video for that too, and you also get a peek into the lab and can see where and how your favorite items are made. 

  • Uncommon Collaborative is currently offering virtual consultations to review strategy, plan out video or photo needs post-quarantine and so much more! 

Maker Community: Leverage the power of this amazing community
We have a very strong and diverse maker community here in the Twin Cities. The only reason these small but mighty businesses are able to thrive is because we have an even stronger community around us of customers, friends, and family who want to see us grow and succeed! Reach out to those in the community you know and partner to create something awesome together. 
We recently worked with Begonia & Bench a local high-end candle company, to quickly pull together a Quarantine Survival kit to help folks relax, and reduce stress during these uncertain times. These Quarantine Survival kits are also making great gifts for those who cannot visit loved ones in person - send some love from and support two local makers - Win, Win, Win! Premium quarantine survival kit
 
  • Begonia & Bench creates handcrafted premium botanical wax candles in Hastings, MN and their full line is available for order online - free domestic shipping on orders over $50!
  • Bonus: Begonia & Bench not only share our eco-friendly values, but they also create in a carbon-neutral candelry! 
**Update 5.1 on additional small business collaborations**
We just worked with our favorite local micro-breweries, Dangerous Man Brewing, who asked us and another maker to help them offer something unique for Mother's Day gifts!

We used their limited edition seasonal beers to create three custom beer based soaps, that they paired with a handcrafted clay planter made by AsH Pottery. These pots contained plant clippings or baby plants from the brewery's famously lush tap room and to top it off they included a growler.Now all that makes a gift any mother would appreciate!

These gift sets were actually so perfect, that they all sold out within a few hours!

Social media is king!
I often find myself repeating this after seeing a strong response to a post. Social media works! It is one of the only ways for a small business to make an impact, especially when you are on a budget. It allows us to connect directly to thank our amazing customers for their support,share what we are working on and show off our work. Here are a few things that we always keep in mind while interacting on social media:
  • Be positive! Keep out of the negativity on the internet and be the positive light everyone needs right now!
  • It doesn't have to be perfect! I’m not great at this, and I will never claim to be an expert, but if you only post the most perfect photo or continue to work on the best captions, you won’t ever get a post out. Done is better than perfect.
  • Be true to yourself and your brand. People want to hear about your story and see what you are working on. 

This stay-at-home order will end, and when it does the small businesses above, those in your community and your loyal customers will absolutely help you bring your business back to the outside world even stronger! 

- Kim 
Proud owner of a Minneapolis based small business

Let us know what you think!

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