Why Did We Start a Small Business During an International Crisis?
I knew it was coming. I had heard it on the news. Companies were reducing travel, cutting expenses, and cancelling capital investments. I was assigned to work from home for the foreseeable future and I saw the economic numbers. Things were not going well across the country. I had a lot to be happy about - a wonderful wife, a healthy newborn, and a home for all of us to grow in - yet it was not a particularly great time to have the potential of a layoff looming over me. For Kendra, potential had already become reality. She was casting a wide net trying to make her next move in a tough economy. With all of this instability, why in the world would we add more risk by starting a business?
When you create your own job, you’re more in control of the outcome.
The game had changed. During this time we both realized that finding a new job and keeping it was almost as risky as creating a business from scratch. It was the first hint that surprisingly, the time was right to go into business together. For me, starting Citra Studio helped quell the uncertainty of my position. I would rather know exactly where I stand than wring my hands over rumors of others. In Kendra’s situation, there was a low prospect of anyone hiring, let alone for a job using her skill set. Being a new hire is a risky position in a rough economy. She wanted to take full control of her professional future, and was more than willing to create her new role from scratch.
The pandemic has caused a lot of moving, which caused a lot of nesting.
I was initially surprised. In the middle of a global pandemic, the housing market was booming. Companies were coming out one-by-one announcing that their employees would now be allowed to work 100% remotely. The employee’s home was no longer tied to an office commute, but to an internet connection. People were looking for homes with more space for their new offices, and they now had the ability to move to more affordable living areas. With larger spaces to furnish, greater budget flexibility, and ample time spent at home, we found that people are focusing on entirely customizing their spaces. This is why expressive maximalism is on the rise. People are looking to curate their highly personalized “happy place”.
There is more online shopping than ever before.
As lockdowns prevailed and people stayed home, traditional shopping moved online. Online shopping had been an increasing trend among consumers, but the pandemic accelerated the shift. This made us feel comfortable with our decision to start our store completely online instead of opening a brick-and-mortar showroom. Other savvy artists and designers moved online to sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy, but struggled to reach the casual consumer. There was no obvious “Amazon for art”, and selling online seems daunting for many creators. What we saw was an opportunity to partner with designers, helping them get their products back out in front of an audience who would appreciate their talents.
The world feels vastly different. As a country, we are still feeling the effects of a virus that has fundamentally changed how we live our lives. Yet, as vaccines are distributed and the positive case ratio goes down, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic created extreme challenges for society, but also great opportunities. Many found themselves with more time to create something, learn a new skill, or focus on their passions. In our case, opportunity became Citra Studio.
Read more about Citra Studio in our other blog posts.