COVID-19 has been a gauntlet for small businesses with many forced to shutter their doors temporarily, and others furloughing employees and working with a skeleton crew. But, as artists and poets and entrepreneurs know, constraints often spur creative solutions.
We’ve seen tons of Hudson Valley small businesses pivoting to stay afloat and to serve their communities, like these craft distilleries making hand sanitizer and everyone from vacuum retailers to upholstery stores sewing face masks. Their commitment and innovation is inspiring. So in the spirit of onward and upward, here are some of the most creative business pivots we’ve seen in the Hudson Valley.
Who knew that the real crisis of quarantine would be hair? Well, probably your stylist. With all this time stuck at home, people get antsy. (Note to self: Don’t give yourself bangs in quarantine. It never turns out well.) Hudson Valley hair salons are trying to get ahead of this, ahem, “resourcefulness” by creating custom coloring kits, glazes for their clients. “Don’t buy a box,” one post from Le Shag Beauty entreats its customers. “At a time when things seem so uncertain, self care is one of the best things you can seek to keep your sanity—especially when you are quarantined alone,” says Le Shag owner Jennifer Donovan. Clients can pick up their color kit in sterilized packages and schedule screen time with their regular stylist. Le Shag is also selling their luxury hair products like conditioning masks, detoxes, and organic shampoos and conditioners.
In New Paltz, Styled by Jenae is offering “professional curbside gloss kits,” customized to each client with application directions.“I'd rather my client's get their pro gloss, equipped with their proper formulas (ready to mix in small recyclable to-go containers) from me, instead of ruining their hair with a random box dye,” says owner Jenae Yelina. “This is an innovative and positive, yet temporary, solution to adapt, evolve, create and push through our current norm.”
While alcohol-based sanitizer may be the key to keeping the virus at bay out in the world, for many alcohol-based cocktails are the key to keeping your sanity at home. Enter the Hudson Valley Distillers’ adorable Cocktail Party in a Box, which combines one of their New York State-made craft spirits like gin or vodka with a mixer and a foolproof recipe. For example, you can order a 750ml bottle of HVD’s gin from Beacon-based company More Good’s Peach Basil syrup (just add grapefruit or orange juice) or HVD’s New York vodka with More Good’s jalapeno black tea mixer.
In joining a trend sweeping small bookstores nationwide, beloved local bookshop Oblong Books & Music has begun offering Mystery Book Bundles. “People have been asking ‘Can I just give you $100 and you send me some books?’” says owner Suzanna Herman. “The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES!” Oblong is offering $50 and $100 bundles. For bookworms the region over, this is indeed a titillating announcement.
When you add a bundle to your cart, indicate your preferences in the order comments at checkout and Oblong’s well-informed staff will curate a selection of books just for you. Whether your on the hunt for a passionate love story a history of the world or a sci-fi thriller, they’ve got your back. And if you’re drawing a blank or you simply prefer to be utterly surprised, relax and trust that you’re in good hands. Oblong's staff will send you a delicious mix of good reads. Oblong is currently offering free nationwide shipping for—or if you’d like to gift this to a loved one.
In the Digital Revolution of 2020, spurred by COVID-19, if there is one class of business owners that haven’t snoozed on opportunity it’s fitness instructors, who’ve taken to the web in droves to offer livestream, Zoom, Vimeo, and Youtube classes to help everyone avoid going stir-crazy and to release some much-needed endorphins. While many of us have a yoga mat at home, what do you do when your regular fitness routine requires more intense equipment.
Rhinebeck Pilates owner Elaine Ewing is taking her COVID-19 offerings one step further by renting out her studio equipment, which would otherwise just collect dust during this period. “Staying active and engaged mentally, physically, and spiritually is imperative to our well-being,” she says. Ewing is offering monthly rentals of Wunda chairs, low rigid matts, small barrels, and hand weights. Rentals come with a class commitment, and are first come first served. If you’re interested email her at [email protected] or call (845) 876-5686.