Caught In A Pandemic [Part 1]: Push Your Creativity
March 11, 2020 hit and news stations everywhere began reporting that COVID-19 was officially declared as a pandemic. To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand the severity of this all until we started living through it for a couple weeks. I even had a big trip to Japan planned for late March and was still hoping to go despite the tone of the news casters (ultimately I did have to end up cancelling the trip which was obviously the right thing to do in hindsight). It was a major headache to cancel all of those travel plans but better safe than sorry!
Initially I didn’t hear from any of my customers in regards to the pandemic, I even continued with my orders for that week. But sure enough, within a few days, customers began cancelling their orders left and right, and before I knew it, the months of March and April in my planner was completely covered in white-out, having erased every last order that would have taken up my whole Spring of 2020, once upon a time. While the world began to go into a lockdown, I suddenly had so much time for myself...it was weird, yet lovely. At first I didn’t know what to do with all of this time...while I tried to catch up on TV shows and Netflix, it didn’t hold my attention for long. I also tried implementing a workout routine at home but it didn’t last more than a month. So eventually my brain went back to focusing on Pass the Cookies…I knew I had to be productive in one way or another.
Since most people order cookie favours for parties, weddings and large gatherings, I knew all of that business was out the window with this quarantine in effect. While I was okay with taking a break, who knew how long this quarantine was going to last and when business would go back to normal? Well, without realizing it, I had actually created my own solution to the problem back in February...Since Valentine’s is a celebration between two people (with the exception of office parties), I thought it was most appropriate to offer cookie gift sets for one as a treat you can gift to your significant other. And Valentine’s having been my biggest one-day sales event yet, I knew this had potential for our current situation.
Easter was quickly approaching and so I thought it would be the perfect time to test this out. I made a few sample boxes to promote to my existing customer base as an option to give as a gift to family members they weren’t able to visit due to the quarantine. And since nobody was leaving their homes, I offered one day of FREE contactless delivery around the local area. I ended up selling 29 of these gift boxes, which was a pleasant surprise, especially considering it was a last minute thought and I only gave people less than a week to place their orders. Having just put this idea through a trial and error run, I decided it would be perfect for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as well. I was pleased to receive an overwhelming amount of orders for these two occasions, and beyond that, many customers began ordering these gift sets for every occasion from birthdays and anniversaries to celebrating the purchases of new homes and puppies. I also offered giant cookies suitable to spoil one person, just to have another option, and those have also done surprisingly well during this time. While I had offered these items occasionally in the past, I never imagined that they would have taken off as they did, and be able to replace my regular income from catering parties and weddings.
These gift options were also a perfect pairing with the greeting cards I started creating earlier this year. It allowed me to slowly launch this stationery line to my local clientele, offering the cards as an add-on to the cookies. My main point in saying all of this is that you never know how far you can push yourself until you try, or until you are faced with some unusual circumstances.
This time of quarantine has also allowed me to focus a lot of my energy towards my greeting card collection, creating new designs and planning for the future. That’s a whole ‘nother journey in itself! To hear more about it, stay tuned for the next blog post where I will dive further into the road ahead for Pass the Cookies. While there is so much trauma worldwide that comes with a pandemic, there were also many silver-linings. For the many of us who were required to stay at home for these past three months, I now see it as a blessing in disguise, reminding us that slowing down and taking time for ourselves is so important and so necessary, although we often forget that amidst the daily hustle & bustle of our lives.
Have you learned anything new about yourself throughout this pandemic? Picked up any new talents or hobbies? Business owners - how have you managed to cope with these times?
Until next time, stay safe and focus on you!