At the beginning of this year, I was at home on maternity leave with my new baby, Michael. In the weeks leading up to March 9th (my return to my day job), I did a few test runs at daycare, practiced using my breast pump, and labeled everything my son owns with a marker. I was so busy getting ready to go back to work that I wasn't paying any attention to the approaching health crisis: coronavirus, or COVID-19.
After only six days back at work after maternity leave, Philadelphia was shut down. We've been staying home as much as possible since then. We go to the grocery store about once every ten days, and we've ordered Chinese takeout one time since mid-March. We're going for daily walks, exercising, reading, baking, cooking, crafting, Zoom chatting, and, of course, spending all day taking care of the new babe.
I get the feeling that a lot of people are finally getting the chance to take a breath and re-evaluate their lives. Do we need the long commute just to work in an office, when remote work would yield the same result? Have we been too rushed and too busy to focus on the things that really matter, like our health and our families? I think for a lot of people, the new normal may look at little different than how our everyday lives used to look.
This is also a time to re-evaluate how we take care of our community. Essential workers like doctors and nurses are always valued for their contributions. This nationwide shutdown has highlighted what else is truly essential, too: restaurants, grocery stores, food manufacturers, farmers, and farmhands. There are so many people in our community to thank for making this crisis smooth and easy for many Americans!
It's a tough time for small business, especially those in the arts. Maybe you're asking yourself how you can support your favorite local jeweler or local craftsperson. Here are a few ideas for helping those in your local community, so they can come of out this crisis and thrive in the years to come.
Leave a Positive Review
What small businesses do you already support? Sift through your jewelry box, peruse the prints on your walls, check the bottom of your coffee mug, and give those makers a shout-out online. Positive reviews on Google or Yelp are so helpful for spreading the word about small business. They depend on your rave reviews!
Comment and "Like"
These are totally free ways to support your favorite makers! The more engagement and interaction a page gets, the more likely it is to perform well online. This is a free and easy way to support a local artist.
Share on Social Media
Snap a pic of your favorite pair of earrings, the ceramic platter that holds your keys, or the hand-dyed tea towels you picked up a craft fair last year. Tell your friends about the pieces you love, and why they're important to you. Tag the jeweler, ceramicist, artist, etc. so they can share your first-hand review.