In the last two weeks, Covid-19 has monumentally changed the way we live and work in the U.S. — especially as we all negotiate the new norm of working from home, mandated quarantines, retail’s mass shutdown and employee layoffs.
Knowing the difficulties that all industries — particularly fashion, beauty and wellness — are facing and will face in light of coronavirus, we have reached out to the founders and CEOs of companies we regularly cover to talk about their challenges. Ahead, Amanda Chantal Bacon of wellness and beauty brand Moon Juice discusses the importance of government assistance for small businesses, her owned juice shops, Moon Juice’s partnership with Sephora and pushing product launches.
“I fall into the category of small-business owner. I fall into the category of DTC company. And I also fall into the category of a business with big third-party retail partnerships. I’m a part of the local restaurant and grocery categories with my shops. And I’m a mini media company.
The last few days, I’ve spent most of my time dealing with operations, HR and supply chains. It is interesting for those saying this is not a political issue or who have ducked out of politics. As a small-business owner, it’s hard feeling self-sufficient, because we all could — I could — use meaningful government support and funding. These are congressional issues. How do we protect and keep people safe? It is scary not knowing the answer to that.
My office is working from home. Our three LA shops have modified hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and we’re operating with contactless pickup and delivery to continue to serve our community while keeping people safe. It is an unprecedented time in the service industry, and there are going to be casualties. It’s a scary time for business owners.
We also have big third-party relationships [with Sephora], and those stores are all closed now. They have been really transparent with us and communicative. They’re also trying very hard to move a lot of their service efforts online. It will be interesting to see how that will roll out and animates and unfolds digitally. Larger companies like Sephora probably have much more of a disaster relief or other fund padded into their business model than most of the brands they carry.
We had a launch planned for April, but we’re moving it. We’ve chucked all those marketing emails and put the kibosh on it right away. No one needs a fragrance or a product launch yesterday. It comes off as tone-deaf in the middle of a pandemic. It’s hard to know what to say right now in a marketing email or in an Instagram post, because people are sick and there are no tests. It is our health at stake — physical, of course — but also our mental health.
Once that urgency wears off and there has been a bit of silence, a new product might make sense. But now, it’s panic. My company is small enough, and I’ve maintained leadership so that we can react quickly; I haven’t taken institutional investment where I might not be able to offer work-from-home or make these kind of decisions and concessions. As CEOs, as CMOs, this time calls upon that brave entrepreneurial spirit we all have. I’m trying to be vigilant and flexible. It is hard.”— As told to Priya Rao