With stay-at-home orders, remote work arrangements compounded by an absence of child care, a number of female entrepreneurs have been pushed into burning their candles at both ends in an effort to save their businesses. So severe was the impact of the pandemic that women-led businesses around the globe shared the same story line – “Do I pivot”? or “Do I close up shop”?
For Kimberly and Amaya Smith, Founders of US-based “Brown Beauty Co-op” the coronavirus outbreak came at a time when they’d already began taking steps to adjust their business model in order to keep their business afloat – “We’ve seen a decline of about 75% – 85% in revenue” says Kimberly whilst explaining that most of their product sales happen in-store.
Another nightmare is being an entrepreneur without child care as espoused by Allegra La Viola, Owner of “Sargent’s Daughters” art gallery in Manhattan – “Like many parents, my husband and I paid tuition ahead of time for our two-year old daughter to remain in daycare for the summer whilst we worked; but with daycare and schools being shut down, we’re paying for a service that we’re not receiving and may not be refunded.”
Also sharing their experience were YBTT-supported entrepreneurs – Lyndi Jordan and Shenelle Hills-Fife. “Because of the health restrictions imposed during the pandemic my business was negatively impacted which resulted in reverting to manual processing” said Lyndi whose business operations have now been regularized. For Shenelle packaging was her greatest challenge – “Suppliers had ceased operations due to Covid and that affected my packaging; even with the re-opening of the economy placing orders are still difficult.”
Leading Queen’s Counsel and wife of former British Prime Minister, Cherie Blair believes that in looking towards the future to rebuild the global economy, it’s absolutely vital that we recognize that investing in women and in creating a global business ecosystem that is truly gender-equal, is the greatest opportunity of our time. If putting women at the heart of our response to this pandemic means we see a leap in progress, wouldn’t that be a great thing?