June '21

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9 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U N E 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M I f there is one way to describe 2020, it would probably be as the year that turned everything upside down. The way we were used to conducting busi- ness, living our lives, and interacting with those around us was tipped on its head and we all had to learn new ways to live, both professionally and personally. One thing that's evident is that the pan- demic has caused a lot of change and stress among those in the garment decoration space. Coping with closures, surviving supply delivery delays or shortages, figur- ing out how to deal with clients and em- ployees while still preserving the necessary amount of space, and simply keeping the doors open were challenges the industry as a whole faced. The pandemic brought a wide array of problems and required being both committed and clever when it came to finding solutions. NOT-ALL-NEGATIVE NUMBERS When talking about the pandemic, a lot of the focus has been on the havoc it has brought. There are the hundreds of thou- sands of people in the United States and the millions of people worldwide who have died of the disease. There's the toll that has been taken on frontline and health- care workers who have been fighting this fight for over a year. COVID-19 did wreak havoc on the gar- ment decoration industry with companies temporarily shutting down, reducing pro- duction, or some going out of business en- tirely. The pandemic has certainly been a life-altering experience. But despite the sadness, when Pew Research Center asked Americans about the pandemic and their experiences, it wasn't all bad news. In that survey, a ma- jority of Americans (89%) mentioned having at least one negative change in their life as a result of the pandemic. But a smaller, though still relatively substan- tial, group (73%) revealed there had been at least one unexpected upside to the pan- demic. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) mentioned at least one negative and one positive change since the outbreak began. I'd guess that if the Pew Research Center did a survey of garment decorators, the numbers would be about the same. There have been both positive and neg- ative experiences, and most people have had a mixed outcome, with some bright spots shining through. There's no doubt it's been a tough time for many, but the fact that there have also been positive as- pects shouldn't be overlooked or ignored. (To view the complete results of the Pew Research study, visit pewpan.) LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS One positive aspect has been the increase in connectedness. While it seems like a paradox, as people were barred from con- gregating in small groups, or from stand- ing next to each other, a lot of us still found ways to make connections. Maybe it was a drive-by birthday bash. A lot of people also found ways to connect online through social media or online platforms like Zoom. People are social animals and desire re- lationships. COVID-19 made us more aware of that need and more committed to feeding it. As Carolyn Cagle from Stacy, Minnesota-based Strikke Knits explains, The Upside-Down Year FACING THE PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC B Y K R I S T I N E S H R E V E A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G

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