With weddings, events, workshops, and art fairs getting postponed/canceled left and right, the paper community of vendors has had to be nimble and figure out ways to navigate this pandemic. When the stay-at-home order first came into play, I wasn’t sure what to do – I had to sit with the uncertainty for a bit. I’m in the process of developing something now as part of a pivot strategy, but these women sprang into action early on and came up with amazing changes to their business. They’ve each inspired me in their own way, and I can only hope that what I have up my sleeve is as helpful to and warmly received by the community as theirs have been. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Laura of Paper and Honey: Stuck with what she’s best at
Laura is an amazingly talented designer who creates slam-dunk wedding invitations for her clients. She and her husband Max letterpress print her creations in-house… well, in their garage-turned-print-shop. Aside from her design skills, Laura is really funny – she’s got a quirky sense of humor and delightfully quick wit.
For her COVID pivot, Laura created a line of Quarantine Care cards. They’re beautiful cards to help us feel a little less isolated during this weird, lonely season. I bought a set, and each time I mail one, it feels like I’m tossing confetti for a loved one.
The key takeaway here: She stuck with what she’s best at. These cards are letterpressed to perfection, each one features a hand-done design motif, and they’re witty messages. Even though this isn’t her usual wedding client, Laura stayed in her lane, simply adapting her offering (luxe letterpress, well-designed items) to something new as her pivot strategy.
Shop her cards here.
Heather of Ampersand Lettering Lab: She brought others together
Heather is a talented hand-lettering artist in northern Michigan, who could no longer host workshops in her studio space. Likewise, many of the businesses who commissioned her for murals were able to have her onsite at the start of all of this!
Rather than let coronavirus get in the way of her love of letters – and her main goal to foster community – Heather came up with an ingenious idea.
You’d purchase a spot in the Letter League, which came with your very own matched PenPal (thanks to a little questionnaire you filled out upon purchasing). Along with your matched mail bestie, you received a kit, containing everything you’d need for your first 10 letters (cards, envelopes, stamps, and a pen).
People. Went. Crazy. Round after round sold out quickly. I snagged a spot in her latest grouping, and I can’t wait for my kit to arrive so I can get started sending fun snail mail!
The key takeaway here: She brought others together. Clearly, we were all craving the chance to be connected with someone else – to make a new friend. Heather channeled this energy and was able to solve the problem through her pivot strategy, filling a need felt by so many of us.
As of this writing, the Letter League is sold out. Join the waitlist here.
Anne of Anne Robin Calligraphy & Design: She maintained a standard of excellence
As a national figure in the wedding industry, Anne has been a coveted calligraphy instructor for a long time. In the past, she offered in-person workshops in her home. To ensure each student received the full one-on-one attention needed to benefit most, she always capped attendance to a small group at a time. In the wake of coronavirus, she started offering virtual workshops via Zoom. Instead of opening her home, she’s taken the instruction online. But, she’s kept the attendance small.
The key takeaway here: Anne has a standard of excellence in her teaching that she’s maintained. Many educators open up online learning to a “webinar” format and have lots of attendees simultaneously, but she chose to purposefully keep it limited, in order to maintain the same attention to each person she otherwise would have had in person. But now, you don’t have to be in Los Angeles to participate – this is a pivot strategy that benefits everyone!
Sign up for one of Anne’s virtual workshops here.
Note: I work as Anne’s remote design assistant – not sure if I need to disclose this, but want to be transparent. I’d recommend her workshops regardless of my working relationship with her!
Laura of Laura Hooper Calligraphy: She followed her passion
Laura Hooper is a Virginia-based calligrapher whose work is… well, everywhere. Under normal circumstances, she’s busy as a bee with calligraphy work, supported in business by her sister. In whatever downtime she had, she’s cultivated a tremendous garden at home.
Now, amidst the pandemic, her @foxhillgarden account is brimming with activity, updates, shared knowledge, and even products! She sells fresh-cut bouquets for locals in her area, and also offers virtual consults and hand-calligraphed plant markers.
The key takeaway here: She followed her passion. She’s always been an avid gardener – this has always been something she’s loved – and now she’s let it take the forefront, turning something personal into an income source as her pivot strategy in business.
On a personal note, her account has been a wealth of information for me and I’m so grateful she’s made her gardening effort such a focus during this time. I’ve definitely benefited from her guidance!
You can follow her garden-specific account on Instagram here or shop for garden goodies here.
So with that, let’s recap the four guiding principles I’ve found to be inspiring as a pivot strategy from these talented women as they’ve navigated change in their businesses.
- Stick with what you’re best at
- Bring others together
- Maintain a standard of excellence
- Follow your passion
I’m in the final phases of developing my own pivoted launch. It’s my sincere hope to emulate at least some of these qualities in the new products.
If you want to be the first to know when these new products are released, join the mailing list. Simply enter your info at the bottom of this page. No spam – I promise!
In the meantime, thanks for the inspiration, ladies!