By Willow Wright, Owner
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
This quote by Louisa May Alcott has always been a favorite and 2020 was the storm of my life. As if owning a small business isn’t hard enough already, try operating as a solo entrepreneur during a global pandemic. Boy did I have a lot to learn.
I’m Willow Wright, owner of Urban Redeux, a vintage & antique shop curated with an eye for unique and one-of-a-kind items in the Mount Vernon area. We opened our doors in September of 2018 and had been seeing a steady increase in business until March 2020.
There were many questions going forward from there. How long will this last? How will I pay the bills? What am I going to do? But the most important ones were “what do I have control of and how can I continue to be relevant in this new time?” That’s when the pivoting began.
First I began working on the things that I could control….We would close our doors for an extended length of time, cut all possible expenses, request relief from payment processors and vendors, and apply for the PPP and EIDL Programs.
Many shopping platforms were offering free or heavily discounted costs for small businesses that were looking to move into the online space. I was then able to offer online shopping to my customers. Our shop also has a wonderful and engaging following on social media and, in addition to items available online, I continued to post new arrivals on the shop's Instagram and Facebook pages. Curbside pickup and local delivery would become the new norm.
Getting creative in marketing helped frame our products in a way that would keep our relevance. From offering goods that would solve work from home struggles to new barware for driveway and Zoom cocktail hours and outdoor entertaining, the hope was to share items that could solve problems or bring a small bit of joy to an otherwise abysmal time.
While I wouldn’t categorize 2020 as a year of thriving, we definitely survived with the help of our very loyal customers and managed to gain a ton of momentum going into the second quarter of 2021.
Our doors are now open back full-time, customers are coming back into the shop and we hope to get back to hosting small events and workshops later on in the year.
I am eternally grateful for every single sale, online review liked and shared social media post and referral of friends. It has meant the difference between keeping the door open or closing for good.
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VIP Alexandria Magazine is proud to present The Resiliency Issue. Featuring small business COVID-19 success stories, as told by the owners who lived in it, learned to pivot + survived.
You can read all of our Resiliency Stories in our digital issue HERE.