Coping During Quarantine

Finding Profits in Your Pandemic Pivot with Gwen Beloti

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How has your business been performing during the pandemic? While this overnight plunge in the economy has left many businesses suffering, there are some entrepreneurs, like NYC-based designer, Gwen Beloti, who have found profits in their pandemic pivot. As the founder of Gwen Beloti Collection, Gwen just knew her sales would be booming during the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, as she was wrapping up plans for the season, the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt, and her customer’s needs and spending habits changed with it. The fabric, samples, packing, and shipping materials Gwen invested in for her business sat around, because the orders stopped coming in. Gwen would have never guessed that she would be using these same supplies to make and donate masks for healthcare workers.

The time that Gwen would have spent focusing on her womenswear brand has totally shifted.  Today, her days are split between making masks and focusing solely on the accessory sector of the brand. In this instance, life forced her hand and it was time to rethink her brand’s priorities. Gwen started to focus on the quarterly subscription service, the Golden Stories Accessory Box.  With the attention she has been able to give the accessories line, she managed to grow the membership over 300% percent, even during this time of transition and uncertainty.

 

Are you ready to make some changes in your business to find profits in your pandemic pivot? Get into these 5 tips from Gwen Beloti:

  1. SHIFT TO WHAT IS WORKING

Take an honest assessment of your business.  If there is a part of your business that has been working better than others, consider leaning into that.  It may not be your favorite product or favorite aspect of the business, but it’s the most lucrative.  There is a value there.  For me – the most lucrative part of my brand is jewelry.  I happen to love and enjoy that sector of the brand, but it’s not what people know me for.  People know Gwen Beloti Collection as a womenswear brand mostly, and only as of late, a jewelry brand, too.  When I introduced jewelry to the brand it quickly outsold the apparel.   Adding accessories felt natural and organic because I’ve been a collector of jewels for years and I adore them.  I love apparel just the same, but the business just wasn’t there.

  1. DON’T FEAR WHAT PEOPLE ‘MIGHT’ THINK

I worried what people would think if I suddenly started talking a lot about jewelry, I worried that they’d question what happened to the clothing, so I shied away from promoting the jewels the way that I should have.  Sometimes it’s easy to get all wrapped up in our minds and assume the worse – when unbeknownst to us, people aren’t thinking any of the negative things that we assume they are. When COVID hit, I had no choice but to shift.  It only made sense to lean into what was working.  Life and circumstances forced my hand.  I asked friends and customers for their opinions on the transition to focusing more on accessories – and the feedback was positive.

  1. ONCE YOU MAKE THE DECISION, GIVE IT YOUR ALL

In 2019, I curated a quarterly subscription box feature, Golden Stories Accessory Box, because the jewelry was doing so well.  Again, I didn’t promote anywhere near as much as I should have.  Then came COVID – and though a little reluctant, I started to focus on our jewels and accessories – particularly the box.  With the attention I’ve been able to give the product, we’ve managed to grow the membership over 300% percent, even during this time.  My mission has always been to provide stylish essentials and the current state of events calls for just that – essentials.  Fashion and style for many of us is our escape, it’s our outlet to express ourselves creatively and emotionally.  That can surely be deemed essential for those of us who fall into that category.  Especially now with so much of our time spent on Zoom, Facetime, Hangouts, or the like.  What’s highlighted on these virtual calls is our upper body – our neckwear, earwear, etc.  So who knows – you probably have a secret weapon in your toolbox that you never considered, but is just what people need right now.

  1. PIVOT ISN’T A BAD WORD

I worried that if I started focusing on accessories, people would forget me for the other thing I love so much.  I feared that if I made this shift there would be no going back, this new focus would become the brand identity.  Here are two responses to that way of thinking:

  1. If it’s working then maybe a permanent shift isn’t such a bad thing.
  2. If it’s not working who says you can’t pivot back?

Maybe it’s a combination of the two.  I haven’t given up on apparel.  I put a halt on making clothing because between production and sourcing materials, it just isn’t feasible in this current climate. I’ve chosen to prioritize what is working and for the sake of my business, I have to. Business is always evolving, and if I want my brand to be sustainable, I have to be open to evolving, too.

  1. REMAIN OPTIMISTIC

An article I read recently on Medium shared the following wisdom: “A pivot done well, can be a thing of beauty and something that both large corporate innovation teams and startup founders can take much inspiration from.”

None of us are the first to have to pivot.  It’s been done and done well time and time again.  In moments of doubt and uncertainty, I try to find some reassurance in the success stories of others.  If it worked for them, surely it can work for me.

To learn more about the Gwen Beloti Collection please visit gwenbeloti.com.

 

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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