OK Donna Summer. I got you blaring in the background of my brain, as I toggle between the headlines of the day and trying to get my small business of 15 years moving ahead amidst the craziness that has befallen all of us over the last 2 months. I’m only now figuring out where we stand and able to post.
We are working through PPP process and then the PPE process with the idea that when we reopen, we need to fit the store with acrylic barriers, have ample hand sanitizer, gloves and cleaning products. I’m still trying to get my head around what opening would look like, and how we could expect retail to become over the coming months. It’s a tough one for a business like ours, which is a real face-to-face, team approach to custom fitting the right gear and goods for someone’s particular circumstance – their apartment building, travel schedule, space limitations, needs and preferences. Our magic is made by making relationships, understanding someone well and learning a lot from them so that we can give the best advice. We teach when we demonstrate, handing off strollers to our client to try to use their features or fold them, and coaching them on how to do it. We fit baby carriers onto our new parents so that they can understand what feels right for them. The proximity and intimacy of the relationship is something that makes us different from the long tail baby stores where there’s nary an associate who can face off products in a meaningful way. We’re curated, with hand chosen products, and we give the luxury of time and attention. But as always, what’s special can also be the special challenge we face in trying to retool our business, so we can still provide that level of personal service in a new way, using new technologies and techniques.
Although we’re at a bit of a standstill right now, we’ve been busy trying to retrofit our business to the new reality. Over the past 2 months, we have worked hard to stabilize the site (we had upgraded it in January and had a few issues to work out), add a virtual consulting aspect (which is super fun, done over Zoom), we’re adding products, streamlining and cleaning the site so that it’s easier to find things, adding sections to address customer needs like ‘best baby registry items’, and overall making it more complete. We’re adding more editorial and refreshing our Babesta Beat content and our guides, as well as our store blog. In one sense, it’s as if we’re building a whole new business, as it’s clear that our business will flip flop from 90% in-store to 90% online. The idea of bringing to the online space in a more meaningful way our curation, knowledge and service while still addressing people individually like a local store would is an exciting challenge and we’re up for it! A small business is nothing but a challenge of perseverance and creativity, always working with a scarcity of resources, but generally it is out of these moments, where we can really learn how to shine. We hope to see you in the store when this is all over, but in the meantime, we are excited to present the new Babesta. It’s in Beta of course, as we’re trying new things, and we’re open to ideas! If you have one – a great technology we can weave in, or a concept you think would be amazing, please share! We build what comes next together, for our selves and for our communities.