Like most in the food and beverage and event industries, Tampa Bay KNOW Tribe women-owned businesses Bake’n Babes, Pop Goes the Party, Botanica Design Studio and Cru Cellars were preparing for the spring and summer seasons at the beginning of March.
But just days into the month, it became wildly clear that our busy Florida seasons would be far from typical this year.
Even today, as these sectors continue to combat new daily challenges during the global coronavirus pandemic, these resilient and inspiring working mothers have discovered different ways to navigate a new normal both at work and at home.
Angie Croft, Pop Goes the Party
On business: Owning and operating a business during the pandemic has taught me three really important things.
- INNOVATE, then PIVOT. I’ve always tried to be innovative when it comes to my business, whether it means creating new products to keep up with evolving trends or evolving our customer service experience to adapt to the changes around the recommended CDC guidelines related to COVID-19. I believe wholeheartedly that you have to PIVOT your business to be as adaptable as possible to survive.
- GIVE. Philanthropy has always been a core value of my business, having had a background in the non-profit industry for nearly 14 years prior to taking Pop Goes the Party full time. In a time when so many are facing so much challenge and uncertainty, we have been blessed to be able to give back in ways that have truly moved us forward.
- COLLABORATE. Collaboration is a beautiful thing. The old saying, “community over competition” is so true. Working with fellow bakers, event planners, PR professionals and retail businesses has helped us so much during these times
On parenting: GRACE! Lots and lots of grace. GRACE to myself for not keeping up with the household chores, the laundry, the cooking, the schooling, the potty training and basically every other task that doesn’t get checked off my never-ending to-do box every single day.
Grace as a business owner, trying to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Grace to my children, who are climbing the walls being stuck inside, out of their normal routine, with no social interaction, no playdates, no activities. It’s hard on them too. I remind myself that almost daily now. They need structure, discipline, love, hugs and GRACE and they probably deserve it more than anyone else.
Grace to my husband, who has had to alter his routine to work 100% remotely since March, with no end in sight.
We are all fish out of water these days. We all need and deserve grace and COVID-19 has taught me how to be much better at giving it and asking for it.
Zoe Gallina, owner of Botanica
On business: I’ve learned so many things about business through this pandemic. I’ve learned how easy it is to focus on negativity, but that keeping a positive mindset and focusing on the silver linings in all of this is key. The pandemic has also driven home that communication is essential. I’ve found keeping discussions going through all of this with fellow members of my industry (even my competitors) has allowed us to navigate these times together, stay relevant, helped create deeper relationships with people I already knew and start new ones with people that I’ve never had the opportunity to speak with before.
On parenting: Before the pandemic hit, we thought it was important to always be doing something or going somewhere. But through this we’ve learned that at the end of the day, as long as we are spending quality time together as a family that’s all that matters. We’ve gotten creative with our days and nights in and my daughter seems to get more excited about a “slumber party with Mommy or Daddy” then she has doing some of more elaborate plans we’ve had in the past.
Julie Curry, Founder of Bake’n Babes
On business: The most important thing I learned from this pandemic was to take things day by day. Each week brought forth its own set of challenges around restaurant operations. When faced with fear about unprecedented times, it helps to refocus on what truly matters. In order to streamline our operations and reduce person-to-person contact, we created a reduced menu consisting of our top sellers and made our products available for delivery only.
On parenting: As a mother, I understand the feeling of being scared to take my children anywhere and I knew that other parents felt the same way. Even though we’ve always been extremely concerned with the presentation of our Freak Shakes we decided to offer Freak Shake kits so our customers could create one of our over the top milkshakes right in the comfort of their own home – sparkler and all! The results aren’t always perfect, but I love that we can help families feel some sense of normalcy with everything that’s going on in the world.
Jen Bingham, Co-owner of CRU Cellars
On business: The pandemic has taught me that I am even more resilient and optimistic in my business than I knew, and I can get through anything with hard work and drive.
On parenting: It’s been amazing spending some extra time with the kids, and I have realized how much they thrive on their connection with each other and with me and my husband.
Photo credits: Pop Goes the Party, Angie Croft (photo credit: Andi Diamond Photography), CRU, Jennifer Bingham (photo credit: Howie Mac Photography), Botanica, Zoe Gallina (photo credit: Ashlee Hamon Photography), Bake’n Babes, Julie Curry (photo credit: Ashlee Hamon Photography)
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