‘It was quite overwhelming’: how it feels to have your business thrive in a pandemic | Australian lifestyle

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It’s no secret that on the work entrance, the Covid narrative has predominantly been a damaging one, with two-thirds of Australian businesses reporting a hit to revenue in 2020 and underemployment hitting a historic high of 13.8%, impacting 1.8 million individuals.

Despite this, lockdowns have introduced development to sure sectors, with Australians spending large in areas equivalent to beauty, hobbies and home furnishings. This elevated need for little luxuries is typically referred to as the lipstick index. So what does it really feel like to be an outlier in a downturn? We requested 4 business homeowners to share their experiences.

Edel Beattie, AKA The Happy Organiser, has been inundated with requests for house organisation assist. Virtual consults have made it attainable to attain extra purchasers determined to tidy the properties they’re spending extra time in.

Edel Beattie from The Happy Organiser: ‘Virtual consults more than doubled during lockdown.’
Edel Beattie from The Happy Organiser: ‘Virtual consults more than doubled during lockdown.’

“I started my business during the first lockdown in 2020 as I could see there was a need for a service in this area, especially since more people were working from home and trying to juggle kids at the same time.

“Virtual consults more than doubled during lockdown. Bookings are mainly from those who are now working from home and want to make their spaces feel less cluttered and more organised.

“It feels odd and unfair [experiencing this boom], especially as I have close friends who have businesses that have been crushed by the lockdowns. I try to focus on being grateful and supporting others where I can.”

Peter and Jenny Guest’s boutique B&B Guestlands – an Italian village constructed on their Hills District property in Sydney – has been immensely common amongst each industrial photographers and Instagram customers who’ve had their abroad plans thwarted by the pandemic.

Peter and Jenny Guest’s boutique B&B Guestlands.
A slice of Italy in suburban Sydney.

“We [built this] place for friends and family to gather in. We didn’t realise that it was going to become so popular. We still see it as people popping in for a sleepover. But I think the novelty, tiny little hamlet atmosphere … offers a bit of escapism for people who can’t get away right now.

“It was quite overwhelming around September 2020 because everyone wanted to come and stay with us. Our booking calendar had been filling up all the way beyond March 2022, and all the people who have had to cancel in lockdown are getting in touch asking if they can book again for next year.

“The appeal is that it’s not too far to travel. People have [flown] in from interstate – Melbourne, Adelaide, Magnetic Island – because they couldn’t go overseas.

“It is very disheartening and challenging dealing with the stress and anguish of staff and clients who are having plans and their livelihoods impacted. I feel like I have a responsibility to create … hope.”

Pam Yip and Jenny Lee misplaced their jobs in advertising and optometry when Covid hit in 2020. So the pair began a home bubble-tea subscription service and have since remodeled $2m in gross sales, catering to a 20,000-strong buyer base whose cravings couldn’t be happy by a go to to a retailer throughout lockdowns.

BBT Club portrait
Bubble Tea Club homeowners Pam Yip (left) and Jenny Lee (proper). Photograph: Griffin Simm

“Launching our DIY bubble tea kits during the peak of Covid and Victoria’s stage four lockdown … opened up a gap in the market. We’re convenient, affordable and accessible – so this becomes a much more viable option for people during lockdown. It’s a treat.

“It’s also a fun activity to do. You can only go for so many walks. Creating bubble tea at home has not only been a great way to engage the family, but has also diversified people’s at-home beverage-making experience beyond coffee or tea.

“We’ve had many customers comment on our social media platforms how they’re so glad they discovered Bubble Tea Club and how it’s helped them.”

Dog coach Lisa Hilleard began providing pet coaching on-line by way of her business Polite Paws when Australians first went into lockdown in March 2020. She spent a lot of the newest lockdown working 12-to-15-hour days to meet demand for her lessons.

Lisa teaching a Zoom puppy class
Lisa Hilleard educating a Zoom pet class.

“I have been a full-time trainer for 12 years but I started running live video puppy and manners courses for older dogs during both the 2020 and 2021 Sydney lockdowns.

“During Sydney lockdowns live video puppy class enrolments more than doubled. I was maxed out at 15 puppy courses a week with five to six puppies per course and could have filled more if I could clone myself. Now with the lockdown ending I am maintaining 11 courses a week.

“Profits were stable during the lockdowns, when most of my industry was completely out of work. Video puppy classes actually require extra admin time and expense … but less setup time and maintenance of the training facility, so it balances out. I have taken advantage of the extra demand for my classes by working extra hours to increase my income.

“My live video puppy classes will no doubt continue to be my most popular classes, even when I restart in-person. They’re cheaper … and if you are unwell or isolating at home you don’t miss any classes.

“I felt privileged that I was able to so quickly adapt my whole business to not only survive but thrive during a time when so many others were crushed by this pandemic.

“I have tried every week to spread that support to others by spending with local businesses. It taught me that if you work hard and are passionate about helping others, it will pay off in times of need when those grateful people have your back.”

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