We are entering the fourth month of the Coronavirus pandemic here in Kingston, Ontario.
Local businesses are struggling. There’s no doubt about it. And with children being at home much more often, parents have been doing more than their fair share.
I reached out to local mom-run businesses, to find out how they are coping during this pandemic. Having taken myself out of the workforce to care for my children and help with distance learning, I feel different layers of stress. I can’t imagine how mom entrepreneurs with established businesses are managing right now.
Related: Surviving Covid 19 with Tweens
Kingston’s Mom-run businesses are struggling, and so are the moms themselves.
These moms have struggled through province-wide shutdowns, limited re-openings, and ever-changing requirements and suggestions from the health unit and the government.
One thing that is constant: none of these moms are complaining about having more (or different) time to spend with their families.
Let’s find out how mom-run businesses are doing during this pandemic:
Teaisha from Teaisha’s Divine Doula
“Right now, with Covid 19, hospitals are only allowing one support person at a time. It’s usually their partners which is, of course, understandable. So right now I’m offering virtual support as much as needed.”
(Take a look at the services Teaisha provides: https://teaishadivinedoula.com/)
“I regularly run an in home daycare, and have been doing this for 11 years now. Right now we aren’t able to re-open our daycare on the base. I do miss all my daycare kids which has been the hardest part, to be honest. It’s definitely a big loss of income. My spouse is a serving member. His income wasn’t affected, which is great, and we’re so thankful for that.”
“As for being a mom, my youngest just finished high school and online learning was a breeze for us, or I should say for my son. The plan was RMC [for him] as he was going to be doing ALOY which is the Aboriginal Leadership program, that runs for a year, however that program was canceled due to Covid 19. He will now be going to St Lawrence College. He will be taking media arts for a year. Some of his courses will now be online and he seems okay with it.”
“Being home and having lots of time on my hands means more time for doing. [I’ve been taking] some online courses and just spending time with my family.”
Glocca Morra is run by two lovely moms. They met while studying Graphic Design at St. Lawrence College in Kingston 25 years ago – both graduated and went on separate paths for many years. Adele worked as a graphic artist for many years. Rhonda also worked in graphics and then married a farmer here in Kingston and started working at the farm.
Adele and Rhonda reconnected about 6 years ago. Adele had been teaching old world skills like needle felting and cheese making. Rhonda had been hosting workshops through her greenhouse like planters and twig furniture. They shared a passion for exploring many different art forms and teaching came naturally as the next step.
The ladies had dreams of opening an art studio together and continuing to grow as artists. Over the last 6 years they have been slowly building their studio business at Rhonda’s farm house on highway 15. They worked a lot of evenings and weekends while also working full time jobs.
In November 2018 Glocca Morra was accepted as “resident artists” at the Tett Center. They opened a second studio there. At this point the studio business had become consistent enough for both ladies to quit their other jobs and focus on teaching full time. They say it’s been incredible.
“When covid hit in March we shut down our studio and stopped teaching. I had been quite sick with bronchitis and felt quite at risk. I self isolated at home and built a little studio for myself in my basement. I’ve kept myself very busy painting and building my personal art business online.”
“I have a 15 year old daughter, 14 year old step son and a 17 year old step daughter. During the pandemic we have been spending more time cooking, playing board games and hanging out together. We struggled a little with finishing the school semester online. Also with everyone home and creating more mess etc we have had to think of new ways to tackle chores. Everyone is pitching in more. Now that school is over I think we will be working on keeping the kids busy this summer. Making plans to learn new things, tackle projects that you’ve always wanted to get to. It’s tough on them when they can’t see their friends.”
“As a mom it’s been hard. There have been lots of tough questions about the future I just don’t know how to answer. We try to take it one day at a time and find things to do that make us happy. Making sure we exercise daily has been a very important part of keeping us in the right head space.”
“A silver lining from this pandemic is that we’ve had some amazing time with our kids. I think we have also hit a reset button and reprioritized our lives. We’ve had the chance to slow down and catch our breath and remember what’s important.”
Aba from Cher-Mere Spa
“If you had asked me last week I would have said something completely different from today’s answer, and that in itself sums up where we are at. We have two locations in Kingston with 13 staff between them. I feel they are really an extension of my family, and we are trying as best we can to make sure that this work family and their families are supported.”
“With the recent events, as a spa we certainly have been affected, and that makes us all nervous. I want to keep the job security and the spa running but that is directly related to people coming through the door.”
“As a team, we are keeping positive, we are putting in checks and balances, and additional cleaning and safety protocols, in addition to what we already do, based on best practices and guidelines as they are presented. We also understand that we are all at different comfort levels, with respect to where we are at, venturing out with COVID. As such, we offer FREE delivery in Kingston of spa at home boxes, which are made up of everything that you would need to give yourself a spa treatment like a facial or pedicure at home. The downtown location is participating in the lovekingston marketplace, taking advantage of additional street space to promote the retail of our own namesake, natural products, Cher-Mere.”
“In addition to the spa, I sit on a few boards and committees for various organizations, but my real full time job is co-parenting 4 kids with my husband Ted, who also runs his own business. Things get a bit hectic.”
“How do I manage as a mom? I try to organize the things that I can control, like making sure there is food in the house to eat and that baths happen frequently enough, and let go of the things I can’t control, which are the shenanigans of 4 kids aged from 5y to 11y. Usually I have the support of my mom over the summer, who visits from Trinidad but with COVID, and no family in Kingston, we really depend on the tag team work of other parents and families who are our Kingston family.”
“Things are definitely busier. Finding the balance between kid time and work time is a bit more challenging, but we are all rallying and making the best of it! For us as a family, we try to divide so that we can maximize family and work time. My husband goes to work about 4:30 am each day so that he can be home by 2pm to take over with the kids. I have the morning shift: I get the kids ready for the day, try to plan and have snacks for the day and get dinner in the works so that it is ready for later on that day.”
“More recently, with the spas re-opening, we have a lovely student coming to help. I have to do errands for the spa, and with social distancing, it is hard to do with 4 kids in tow. In the afternoons, we try to do things together as a family, have dinner and then I work after they go to bed. That’s from about 9 PM until… Then repeat!”
Carrie from Shop & Play Cafe
“I am thankful that Shop & Play Cafe has multiple ways to generate revenue. Right now, we are focused on retail. This summer we will be changing things up a bit and adding some new services.”
“As a business woman, I have days where I am super positive and motivated and nothing can stop me, and I have days where I know it’s time to take a break (off the computer, off the phone, etc). As a parent, routine has gone out the window and I actually don’t mind a bit! My two kids are in their teens and we don’t require childcare or camp etc.”
“I have been working both from home and the store as needed (and sometimes just to give me a change of scenery or a break from being cooped up.) Overall, although this difficult time has stretched me, it has actually propelled me into the next stage of my business while allowing me to create some extra hours in my day.”
Yara from BOHO & HOBO
“BOHO & HOBO have experienced a reduction in wholesale sales as a result of the retail shops we supply to being closed due to Covid-19. We have been utilizing this quieter time to do product research for innovative and sustainable products we intend to add to our line in the near future. We are also using this period as opportunity to check in and ensure that we are staying the course with our brand purpose and values.”
“As a mother of two tweens, it is a real juggling act to balance working from home. Outside of homeschooling, my children have been learning how to do production work for BOHO & HOBO and learning about entrepreneurship. When the work is done, the beach awaits so they are keen to help out. We are fortunate to have our online store www.bohoandhobo.ca/shop that has helped with direct sales while people have been shopping more from home.”
Chantelle from clp.properties
“I’m finding the struggle for balance is REAL! It’s far more manageable now that the kids are done school for the year. Trying to balance work life with kids was very difficult when I was wearing the teacher hat as well as many others, one of which is a property photographer here in Kingston.”
“With real estate deemed an essential service quite early, I had many agents still looking for me to work. I had to take a step back in the beginning, making the difficult decision to press pause on my business (for 45 days to be exact) and shift my focus to the more important things in my life…my family, myself and our well being.”
“Moving into stage 2, I was able to pick up where I left off. Being a mom and business owner has been stressful while attempting to navigate this pandemic and I am very fortunate that my photography business has maintained it’s busy status. I still worry about the outcome of this pandemic and I strive to do everything in my ability to ensure my safety in the workplace (which for me, can be anywhere) every single day. Wash your hands and wear those masks people!”
Reading the struggles of these mom-run businesses during this pandemic is awesome.
Continuing to manage a business while helping children with schoolwork, and still doing the daily chores and tasks they were doing before (though maybe less often or with more help) makes them nothing less than superwomen.
There are many more mom-preneurs in town. (Some were too busy to be included in this post.) Support them when you can, and show them solidarity – one mom to another.
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