Small Business, Corona Times
So what am I still doing here? Is selling another dress really going to help my small business?
What is usually a very busy commercial and residential 4 lane road looks like the streets of Tel-Aviv in Yom Kippur. I have no expectation that a group of ladies on high heels will march in here to buy party dresses, a husband who forgot his wife's birthday or even tourists looking for a gift to take back home (last tourists I saw yesterday were 2 ladies from Oklahoma that wanted to take advantage of the low airfare and see DC for the first time, strange time to do that, wouldn't you think?). There are also some suspicious characters walking around in groups and the landlord came to check on me (twice!, I usually don't see him for a month), it's the first time I feel somewhat unsafe, like I need to get out of here.
It was so hard to let go. It was so hard to say, today I am not going to the business I have created, to see the baby I gave birth to and is an essential part of my life.
Today I am going to stay home and do what with myself? And pay the rent how? And what about my employees that depend on this money? And the Spring collection? Are we going to have an opportunity enjoy the spring clothing at all? Is my business going to survive?
And as I was digging deeper and deeper, our customers (aka The First Ladies, I will explain later), from across the United States started calling, sending emails and texts with positive messages and encouraging words.
Although we are not set up for online shopping, using photos, patience and a lot of good will, our First Ladies were able to "shop" at the boutique, and the amazing surprise was, they were doing that not only for themselves. We have been asked to ship gifts on their behalf to other women across the country they care about and wanted to cheer up.
The generosity it takes to think of someone else in stressful times like these is inspiring, it's a heart made of gold! The choice to shop from a small business instead of the one-click mega website is genuinely and personally appreciated and made me think that we will be able to make it after all, and yes, one purchase at a time can absolutely make a difference.
Thank you, First Ladies!
Why First Ladies? Same reason for the name LiLi The First: LiLi is my "Starbucks name" (a whole different story) and The First - because we all should feel like one!
With the kids and the partner and the job and the life and the virus, we always put ourselves second or even last, here you can be self centered, guilt free!
How can I say to my First Ladies "it warms my heart" without sounding cute? (We had to ban the use of this word in the boutique a long time ago when women referred to an outfit as "cute". We don't sell anything cute nor is our wish that a woman will wear something cute or receive a compliment that she looks cute. We decided to keep "cute" for babies and dogs).
"Thank You" suddenly sound so small when it means so much. These women help me keep my business alive, pay my employees and make sure they have a place to come back to.
Thank you, First Ladies, you warm my heart!
Please be strong and healthy.
We are looking forward to see you in the boutique and give you a big hug.
My friend told me the only reason she keeps ordering food is to support these restaurants. While eating dinner from Anju, Komi and Chicken & Whiskey is not such a miserable life, I can totally see the point. I really beleive that these restaurants are a lifeline to their employees. There is a say in Hebrew that I was thinking about in that context: "whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world"(From the Mishnah - Sanhedrin).
Corona Pooper #1
Something that happened last week completely set me off: my friend who owns a small business (clothing shop) was shamed on social media because she decided to stay open for 5 hours a day, in a time there was no restriction on business hours and restaurants were still full. They called her "greedy" which shows complete ignorance (how many wealthy small business owner do you know?) and a mean spirit. In a time her employees needed every minute of work, she had to close, she didn't want this negative energy to stick.
Corona Pooper #2
Businesses on the street just received this message from the DC authorities:
"Move valuable items out of your store and keep them in a secure location until you reopen... move them away from windows and out of sight so they are not an attractive target to vandals or thieves".