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COVID Survival Stories - Kelind Thomas-01

COVID Survival Stories – Kelind Thomas

We’re featuring COVID Survival Stories of businesses in our Fiore3 Mentor Group that have overcome, pivoted, and hung on for dear life during the pandemic.

This is a guest blog from a member of our Fiore3 Mentor Group Kelind Thomas.

As cliché as the saying goes, “life is what you make of it,” there hasn’t been a saying more prevalent during my time as a business owner while Covid-19 rampages the world. Actually, more relevantly, business is also what you make it.

I am the proud, excited and sometimes exhausted owner & fashion curator of Garbed in Glitter & Grace, a women’s online fashion boutique. I fervently adore what I do, and adore being my own boss more so, but I think all of us business owners or dream doers can attest to the ever-constant pesky voice in our heads saying “there is more to do, you could do this better or maybe this just isn’t going to be what you thought” weighing us down or having us work overtime. Well, if we thought that voice was pesky, say hello to Covid-19, which pretty much had me questioning everything about my online business and marketing plans and upcoming rollouts I had so perfectly planned and written out in my thoughtfully chosen glittery planner.

Covid-19 has not only brought true heartache to people across the world but it has pushed every business and business owner through heart rendering trials and constant number crunching. In the early days of the lockdown there were many mornings I wouldn’t even be free of my downy comforter as I scrolled depressing article after article citing retail would never be the same, retail clothing shops closing down by the tens, online sales hitting rock bottom etc.. I kept telling myself that being online I was made for this time that I could deliver to my customers in ways others couldn’t, but everything about my curated and painstakingly crafted marketing plan did not align with what the virus and lockdowns had in mind.

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It was hard not to stay in the bubble of fear and total breakdown mode, kicking and screaming, “It’s all ruined.” But then in my persistent morning scrolling I began to see these new trials were bringing out perseverance in the individual, creative business minds that we didn’t know we had or, perhaps, forgot we had. I have seen so many businesses pivot or entrepreneurs say, “screw it” this is the time for me to create and become something I have always said I wanted or would do. Essentially, I decided to say, my business is mine, as is my life, and it will only be what I make it.

I trashed my plans, as it pained me so, and I decided I needed to early release a new collection I had been working on and had wanted to roll out so specifically-through markets and fairs, fashion shows and popup shops-but that clearly wasn’t happening. Another lesson Covid-19 has taught me, change is going to happen, and you can easily let perfect be the enemy of the good or you can let the good happen and make it perfect.

The collection I released is Garbed Mama. Garbed Mama is not only very personal to me, as I found myself pregnant during this pandemic, but I found it absolutely appalling that maternity clothing is so expensive, like it really gets my hormones a raging. New mamas or repeating mamas have ENOUGH to worry about than purchasing clothing that will fit their ever-expanding bellies and budgets. I saw so many mothers going to first time doctors’ appointments alone, having drive-by showers and being isolated during a time where you already feel so many things, all the things, and I thought: maybe this is actually the right time to rollout Garbed Mama because, maybe, it can bring a little joy to their doorstep during these trying times.

Garbed in Glitter & Grace was created in hopes to bring women chic and affordable clothing that has them feeling good and looking good so that they can go out and do good. That didn’t need to stop because of Covid-19.

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The first month of the pandemic my sales were the lowest they have ever been, my hopes were lower, and my plans were dashed. Today, I have developed and added two collections to my online boutique: Garbed Mama and Garbed Gifts. Yes, the marketing plans are entirely different and I often have squiggled lines through my plan sets and hopes for the coming months, but I also have mornings where mamas are ordering a little piece of happy for themselves without wallet guilt and women are buying their neighbors and friends a little something to remind them that they are not all alone. And I am learning that my business is going to be what I make it-no one else and nothing else, not even a virus. At the end of the day, I hope this article doesn’t make you feel unworthy or makes you compare or even ignites that pesky negative voice inside you, but I hope it tells you it’s okay to pivot or recreate or trash the plans and I hope it reminds you that you are essential sis, and only you can make your business and life essential.

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Come shop with me and get garbed at Garbed in Glitter & Grace.

Kelind Thomas is a member of the Fiore3 Mentorship Group on Facebook. For more tips, advice, and collaboration for entrepreneurs, visit the group here.

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