Power of the Pivot.
I would be lying if I said I wrote this post before I thought of a title. I sort of have a backwards way of doing things.
What a strange world, am I right? It is the first week of April 2020, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, most of us ordered to stay home, self isolate, watch netflix. Non-essential stores are closed. People who do go outside are often seen wearing makeshift face masks and plastic gloves. Emails are no longer signed “Speak soon” or “Best” they are signed “Stay healthy” or “Stay safe”. Does anyone else feel like they are living in a really stressful yet very boring movie? Raise your hand if you haven’t put on undergarments in a couple of weeks. Blink once if your sleep schedule has gone from mostly average to completely nocturnal in a matter of days. Blink twice if you have filed for unemployment. The world is in an altered state. We have lost our balance a bit. Therein lies the power of the pivot.. or something like that.
My name is Becca, I am an artist and product designer based in Chicago, Illinois. I sell my work in small mom and pop shops across the country. But with the necessary closing of a lot of these places in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, makers like me have had to pause production and sales, waiting for normalcy (whatever that means) to return.
I have worked on my gift product line called Drawn Goods for about one year. Like a mediocre comedy, my business truly began picking up steam in February 2020 then BLAM! a global pandemic shut down all my clients. I had just spent days making the most beautiful integrated spreadsheets to organize my growing business, only to not need them for the foreseeable future. But I have my family, my friends, my health, a roof over my head, the internet, and so much soup in my cupboard. I realize in the absurdity of this time we live, even with my small business coming to a major pause, I have an opportunity a lot of other people don’t have: the opportunity to pivot.
While my orders to stores might have temporarily stopped, it doesn’t mean that I have to. I asked myself, “What are the other parts of my job that I really like, that I can cultivate in a new direction during this unusual time?” The answer to me was this list: spreadsheets (I know I’m a weirdo), curating product, marketing, community engagement, consulting, lifting up my fellow makers. The next question was “how can I pivot to leverage these skills and interests? The answer was Art School Hero, an online store curated by me, filled with my favorite artisan products made by my fellow small batch makers. It is a mouthful, I know. It is also new, and a little shaky, and still growing, but I am excited to share it with you!