June '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 9 5 "COVID slowed me down personally and helped me to hone in on what people want in my shop and what I want to do. It also brought me closer to my mom as she lived with us for the duration." Another unexpected facet of COVID was the drive to innovate. Lyndsie Salcido, creator and show runner of Applique Getaway in Irving, Texas, had this to say: "The whole purpose of our business is to bring people together, so not being able to gather brought on a lot of anxiety and concern for the future of our event. Instead of focusing on the fear and un- certainty, we switched gears and focused that energy on finding new and creative ways to serve our attendees and vendors. The things we learned while organizing and hosting our first ever virtual event will elevate our upcoming in-person events to a new level and allow us to continue to reach new audiences." Some companies switched to making masks in lieu of the products they had formerly made. Others stepped up their eCommerce game and learned to service the buying public in new ways. From fig- uring out ways to deliver product without making contact to redesigning shop floors to keep people safe while still maintain- ing production standards, the pandemic forced companies to think about their old processes from a new perspective. In some cases, the pandemic inspired companies toward an entirely differ- ent mode of business, one that either was more successful, more enjoyable, or both, for the business owner. Heidi Wade, owner of Basket of Crazy in Mansfield, Ohio, changed her product line and way of doing business. As she puts it, "It made me do a total pivot … I'm using all of the skills and knowledge I have used for work- ing with small businesses in another di- rection. I still have a few small businesses that I take care of their uniforms and pro- motional products. Now my main focus is on making bags and Halloween goodies." Gillian Allen of The Cats Pajamas and Thibodaux Toppers, both headquartered in Thibodaux, Louisiana, had a similar experience while managing her businesses during the pandemic. "It definitely made me think about priorities and self-care," she says. "Not taking risks to be out and about yet managing to pivot to masks to get me helping and feel productive. Now

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