COVID-19: Support Small Business and Give Back
In our last post we looked at part one of Covid-19 Coronavirus’ Effect on Fashion; We looked at the effects that the pandemic was having on the fashion industry and things major brands were doing to help. This week we’ll look at ways you can support small business and give back as we shelter in place.
Ways to Support Small Business and Others During This Time
Congress recently announced a 2 trillion dollar stimulus package to support small businesses. According to the New York Times, the stimulus package is offering small businesses S.B.A.-backed loans to pay for basic expenses. They would not have to repay portions that were spent on paying employees, a mortgage, rent or utilities. The banks lending the money would be reimbursed for those portions by the Treasury Department, which is receiving $377 billion to fund the program.
Facebook also announced $40 million dollars in grants to support small businesses. They are also collaborating with small-business partner Ureeka to invest in eligible minority and women-owned businesses. In addition, new tools are being developed on the platform including digital gift cards, fundraising, and more. USA Today has more information and links to check availability.
So take heart my Fearless Fashionpreneurs, all is not lost. With that in mind, we came up with ways we can all come together and help each other. Now is the time for collaboration, not for competition.
Shop online but skip amazon
They are doing just fine. They are also starting to shut down warehouses as breakouts are beginning to occur and so they have stopped shipping non-essential items. And as a small business owner yourself; wouldn’t you rather have customers buying your comfy jersey knit lounge pants over theirs?
Write a review online
We all know reviews are an essential part of marketing, but admit it, we get busy and think we’ll write one later but then forget. With online shopping booming, those reviews are more important than ever.
Cross promote with similar brands
Not only will you expand the reach of your brand or product via new marketing channels and platforms, you’re also building new relationships and goodwill that will be mutually beneficial down the road. This tactic is traditionally seen with big businesses, like sports and energy drinks, but there are opportunities on a smaller scale as well. We all know the right accessories pull an outfit together, and the world might cease spinning without the right shoes or outerwear – think crop jackets, which are all the rage right now. Optinmonster has some great strategies like offering bundle deals, discounts for partners and more.
Don’t ask for refunds or try to negotiate right now
Is it possible to postpone that photoshoot, tradeshow, or those travel plans? Most major airlines are offering the value of your tickets for flights later in the year and even into 2021, without any costs or fees. And as I wrote in last week’s post, trade shows are starting to move online, so the opportunity to attend virtually is still a possibility. We’re praying this ends sooner rather than later, so don’t jump the gun just yet.
Find ways your own business can offer free services or give donations
Fashion tech company Tukatech has offered free use of their cloud based Tuka systems to all California apparel companies regardless of which cad system they use. Here at home, Fashion Angel Warrior is hiring temporary freelancers who are financially affected by the shutdown. You probably have a lot of extra fabric laying around; Consider making masks to give to people in your community. This is a big one that many designers are doing, we’ll do a deep dive into this topic in our next post.
Prepay for services now
I have a close friend that is the owner of a permanent makeup salon who had to close shop due to Covid-19. She is encouraging her customers to prepay for their next session in advance. For instance some services have the initial visit plus follow up visits, so there could be clients that are due for the follow up but didn’t get there in time.
Or if you’re like me, you’re going to need a haircut and/or highlight touch up. You can pay now for your visit in order to help this company stay afloat, especially if they’ve been your go-to through the years. Or buy a gift card for your health care worker friend, they deserve a pampering session after all this.
Buy a gift card
Another small business you could support is your local independent bookstore. Amazon has made books a nonessential item so you or someone you know will be waiting a while for that book you’ve been wanting to dive into. Although they’re displaying “Closed” signs like everybody else, a lot of indies are still operating, often with just the owner and a family member or two. They’re shipping books/gift cards (if they’re lucky) and some are even providing drive-by service. Just pull into the parking lot and a worker will leave your items for pick up or they will deliver them to your car while keeping a safe distance. You can find a list of indies in your or a loved one’s town here.
Fashion Angel Warrior also has gift cards. Graduation is just around the corner or maybe you’re using this time to work on your line and will need some help in the coming weeks or months. You can purchase one here.
Order food from restaurants
Restaurants are another struggling industry, and many have GoFundMe pages running to help their staff. Take a break from cooking and order from your favorite restaurant or make it a pizza night if you have kids (or yourself, who are we kidding.) Maybe you know someone who’s having an especially hard time and would appreciate the gesture. Think of all those times your go-to spot gave you a free dessert or an extra splash of wine. Now’s the time to pay them back for their generosity.
Donate to friends and family in need instead of charities
Helping the underserved is always important during the best of times, and many people with means are donating to various charities right now. And for that, bless them. But your friends and loved ones might really need some help right now too. Chances are you know someone who lost their job and have families to take care of and bills to pay. Give someone you love or care for a financial boost. Perhaps you could send them a random check in the mail. Or offer to send them a meal on you (this helps both the restaurant and your loved one). Ask them if they have a GoFundMe page or set one up for them. And sadly, some are losing loved ones and can’t always afford the hefty funeral fees or medical fees that they may incur.
Check in with friends
Think about moms, as we’re doing double duty right now and very close to losing our minds. Or what about your single friends who are alone or (possibly worse) confined with roommates. We’ve become a culture of texting and communicating via comments, so now is the time to make a call, or better yet, facetime. Doing your hair, putting on makeup and a cute outfit (or the top anyway) will make you feel better too. Just make sure to give the person on the other end a heads up!
Next week we’re going to talk about masks, which is a major way the fashion industry is stepping up and you can too, if you’re not already. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, join our Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Page, and subscribe below!
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