FARMcurious goes virtual!Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2020 | By Nicole Easterday |
I've been a little quiet lately as I took some time to process what's happening. Like many of you, I've been bombarded by stark news, messages from businesses, governments and schools on their response, fear for family members, anxiety over dwindling supplies on store shelves, kids home from school, and general adjustment to the (hopefully temporary) new normal. On top of that, my business went overnight from providing a livable, if meager, Bay Area wage to producing absolutely no revenue whatsoever. That's been a really hard reality for me to face.
I know I'm not alone in this position, which makes it even harder. I know many people have it much worse than I do and my heart hurts for them. In my business paralysis, I've been occupying myself with cooking for elderly neighbors, handing out my phone number to at-risk neighbors and braving the grocery stores for those who can't. I can't help everyone but I'm doing my best to turn my anxiety into loving kindness.
It's not lost on me that, while this time at home with little work to do could have been an opportunity to learn something new and move my business in an exciting new direction, I'm home with my kids (ages 7 and 4) and trying to keep everything in order. Since my husband's job, thankfully, can continue with business as usual for now, guess who is providing homeschool, entertainment, refereeing, housekeeping and meals? As I type right now, one child is yelling "mama" over and over again from another room.
We are vulnerable
If you've been following along, you may know that the last several years, as Amazon encroached on the retail side of my business, I pivoted to focus on in-person workshops. That felt like the one thing no one could steal from me (though you might be surprised). I pared down my retail offerings and focused on inspiring people with in-person cheesemaking and fermenting events like classes, team-building workshops, and other forms of edible entertainment. It's been a wonderful way to find out that my true love was educating others! Unfortunately, it's put me in a rather vulnerable position given the COVID-19 outbreak.
I have a plan!
This May marks FARMcurious' 10-year anniversary. The business has changed a lot over the years and in the past it's been fairly easy for me to adjust as the market changed and customers' needs changed; but this is the first time I've felt fearful for the future of this business. The time for change has once again arrived. People in other states have been asking for online workshops for years and there's really nothing like not having a choice to get the old juices flowing, eh?
So here I am to ask you, my faithful customers and friends..
Will you please take a survey to help me figure out the best ways to move forward?
I'm open to any feedback or advice you have. As you all know, I have no business without the support of my customers. You've all been there with me over the years as FARMcurious changed and grew into its own. I realize many people, like me, will face major economic repercussions as a result of the Shelter-in-Place in California and beyond so I'm working on a way to address that.
How can I help?
Many people have been asking how they can help during this period when business like mine are so vulnerable. If you’re among the lucky to still have a stable income, here are the top ways to help a small business like mine:
- Purchase gift certificates – the promise of having customers again once this is behind us will help keep us going during these bleak times
- Buy something online – whether it’s a FARMcurious Fermenting Set, cheese supplies, or a good homesteading book, we could really use the lift right now and hopefully it feels better than sending more of your money to Amazon
By doing these things, you’ll help us generate immediate income, which will help us stay in business and continue to support our own amazing community of small businesses.
If you have also taken an economic hit, I hope you can feel me hugging you virtually from my home. I’ll be featuring some small business that need help in the coming weeks so please reach out if I can help you. In the meantime, there are plenty of other ways for us to help each other at no cost:
- Recommend a small business you love to your friends and family
- Retweet, repost, and share our content. Gaining additional fans and exposure now can help us keep going and will help give a better lift once things are back to normal.
Thanks, now more than ever, for always being there. It's been a great 10 years and I look forward to inspiring you more in the next 10 years! Please keep my family in your hearts and minds.
Much love and stay safe,