FINDING INSPIRATION IN DIFFICULT TIMES. A YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR FINDS A WAY.
March 28, 2020
The month of March 2020 will always be remembered as the month the world came to a sudden halt. Businesses were forced to close, the human population was forced into quarantine and the virus spread at an unimaginable pace.
As a young, female entrepreneur with a small business that was just starting to gain traction, the COVID-19 outbreak was not only devastating to my balance sheet but my confidence as a leader of a small but mighty group of freelancers and consultants. It was up to me to inspire the team to continue working through these difficult moments harder, longer and with less pay during a time when I felt everything but inspired.
The news was of no help as each article I read was grimmer than the next, particularly regarding the world of fashion. I began to question everything. Is it moral to sell a “nonessential” product during this time of devastation? How can I help my community? Is my team ok? Is fashion going to die? Am I going to die? Should I close up shop? How will I make money? What would my parents think of me?
These thoughts were fleeting, and the answer came to me as clear as day: If I wasn’t finding inspiration, I had to be the inspiration. So why am I writing this? Because in this new world full of fear, negativity and uncertainty, I have found more support from my team, other business owners and my consumers bringing to light my broader mission as Founder + CEO of Go Dash Dot: to lead by example and ask how we can positively change the current world we live in rather than focus on the grim situation facing millions across the globe.
Like so many, I woke up on March 16th to the news that New York City was going on lockdown. My body froze with panic. As usual, around 7am, my phone started pinging with emails and texts from my team. Thoughts, questions, ideas were flying through the air. It was clear that this group of individuals who have been fighting for Go Dash Dot to win since they joined me were in it for the long run, no matter what.
This was the motivation I needed to navigate the team one day at a time and consider how we can turn our internal positivity outward. The result: Inspire – a new program to “lift your spirits.” Our focus at Go Dash Dot shifted from driving revenue to driving positivity. Through Inspire, we are working within our means to grow what we can control: using our social media followers and email, we are asking people to join our vision of inspiring one another with the power of positivity. And if a few sales are made along away, we’ll take it.
Inspire started with a workout, which snowballed into daily classes by instructors all over the country who loved training with us on Instagram LIVE and wanted to share their passion for fitness and movement. The response we received was beyond anything I could have expected. So much so, we launched “Inspire Workouts” with a dedicated landing page on our website highlighting the instructors and all the ways you can reach them, tip them and workout with them during this uncertain time. Unintentionally, we created a community of like-minded people who are looking for something to believe in and a light in all this darkness.
While our Instagram has been growing faster than ever and our email open rates are at an all time high, my sales are terrible right now and I am not sure how we will fare over the next couple of weeks and months. I do know that I would be out of business today without the help of my vendors. I’ve had to pause all development and production for now, which will no doubt affect the cash flow of my factory and raw material suppliers. Once again, I was met with positivity and support. My factory not only gave me a pass but offered to sew masks and send whatever supplies they could to help.
I felt the power of positivity and wanted to continue passing it forward – enter “Inspire Giving.” We are working with all of our wholesale partners to develop payment plans for merchandise they have in store but unable to sell during their closure and an option to cancel or delay any upcoming orders. We are donating 10% of all our online sales to “Direct Relief” even though I need every single dollar that comes into the business to stay afloat.
And why am I still selling bags through my websites? Because I love fashion and I love shopping even more. In good times and bad, scrolling through websites, getting dressed up, adding the perfect accessory, getting the notification that I have a delivery makes me happy and feel normal, and know I’m not alone. It may seem superfluous, but fashion is how we express ourselves and the culture/ times we live in. It makes us feel confident, creative, expressive, and unique. During this time, we all need these feelings of normalcy, but having an ongoing sale we’re calling Inspire Pricing – 30% off for 30 days – to help our consumers hurt a little less financially.
Personally, I have been changed forever. I was living in the fast lane; always on the go, thinking on my feet, and never actually feeling present (hence why I created a functional street-chic bag for women who love to work, work out, and go out). But over these last 11 days that I have been quarantined with my husband, brother in law, and sister in law, I was reminded of the importance of slowing down, taking deep breaths, and actually talking to my family during a meal we prepared together.
Go Dash Dot is part of me and has inevitably changed to reflect my new outlook. Right now, that means collaborating with other small business owners to support each other and cross promote our stories and giving back however we can to those who need it. I believe everything happens for a reason and Go Dash Dot will continue to pivot as the situation unfolds in the coming weeks. I don’t know what the future holds. I do know positivity can do more than negativity regardless of the severity of the situation. We can and will continue to inspire each other to dig deep and find what more we can offer during these unprecedented times to come out stronger as a community. And fingers crossed karma does exist.