There’s nothing like a global pandemic to change life as we know it, eh? But while social distancing meant simply staying inside for many of us, small business owners were faced with a tremendous challenge: how to continue “business as usual” through highly unusual circumstances.
We chatted to Marissa Bowden & Sarah Schoeller, founders of The Village Markets, about how they adapted to not only survive, but thrive!
As a business owner, what was the biggest challenge COVID-19 threw your way?
Closing our events (Gold Coast and Brisbane) and the feeling of being responsible for many small business owners who relied on our event to trade. It was overwhelming initially, but we did some brainstorming and were able to create some new digital opportunities relatively quickly.
What was your biggest learning through it all?
That everything is adaptable and that embracing your community is everything! We’ve never been complacent in our business and this was incredibly important for us in order to ensure we were being innovative and thinking of new ways to do business and engage with our community.
What is one way your business got creative in order to survive (and hopefully thrive!) during COVID-19?
We changed our event model within two weeks and launched our first Insta Market in March, not knowing when we would trade again. The first Insta Market reached 90K and achieved 1M impressions in 48 hours.
How have the past few months changed your business strategy moving forward?
We’ve had a chance to re-evaluate the business and work on projects that have been on the back burner for some time. It gave us the chance to reflect and create new opportunities in the digital space. There are many people who are wanting to be a part of our creative community and engage with our brand who don’t live locally, so we’re excited to tap into this even more so moving forward.
What does your new normal look like?
We work from home usually so things haven’t changed a great ideal other than we’re about to get a whole lot busier thanks to all of the additional planning we’ve been doing! We’ll continue to do our Insta Markets monthly, alternating with our flagship events, which do look a little different with social distancing measures in place. Our first event was last Sunday 7 June and the love was overwhelming – it’s wonderful to be back!