The Disappearing Market - Part 2
10 April, 2020 / Michelle Wiederhold / COMMENTS (0)
I left off last Friday talking about the craziness that has been our lives these past few weeks. When the Covid-19 started and all the spring markets cancelling, I panicked. Like most of you, my mind was focused on getting enough food and supplies for my family and making sure we were all safe. Once all that was taken care of, I immediately thought "oh shit, what about my entire spring earnings? How in the world will my business survive, let alone thrive in this new climate?" I will admit, I was terrified.
First things first. I knew I had to have a sale strategy. But not just any old sales strategy. I had to think outside the box and figure out a way to make some of that missed income right away. So, I carried out three separate sales, all building off one another. Taking the two most popular items , stirrers and keychains, and making those sales "unmissable." Then, ending with the site wide sale I typically only hold once a year in the fall. I am happy to say, this was a win win. My amazing customers showed up big to take advantage of these discounts and I was able to recoup the equivalent of two markets. I was feeling pretty hopeful after those sales and things were looking up.
Then, reality set in. I needed to sustain steady online sales to keep the business alive. Truth be told, I could sit back and sulk and wait for all of this to be over and start back up when things normalize. But that is not me. I decided to look at this as an opportunity to build online sales slowly and surely. I have taken the past four weeks building up my Etsy (another online source) and started utilizing Pinterest for business purposes. I will say this is a long journey. I know there is no quick fix for this. I do know that I will keep plugging away, doing my best to keep creating and growing.
Next, the "market" does not just refer to outdoor weekend markets. I have my products in five stores to cater to the "retail market." These sales also contributed to 40% of last years income. This has been a huge hit to us as well. With social distancing being what it is, it didn't take long for rules of 10 or less people together to create the emergence of curbside pickup. The days of casually shopping and customers popping into these cute small shops has ended. The stores have been very creative with online sales, instagram shop tours and "contact free" curbside pickup. But, lets be honest. I don't know many people shopping and spending like they used to.
Which leads me to "where do we go from here?" And, the answer is simple. I do not know. I, like all of you, want to get back to our regularly scheduled program as quick as possible. But, we have no idea when the stores will reopen and when we will be able to gather in large enough groups to hold another market. I do know that while we are saving so many lives staying in, we will be in turn losing so many small businesses and restaurants as a result. These are strange times, my friends. Strange times indeed.