So many small business owners like myself are seeing a hit in their businesses after the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Supporting small businesses during this time is crucial to our economy. Below are some ways to help
1. ORDER ONLINE FOR PICKUP
Many local restaurants and businesses offer order online/pickup in store. This allows for less time in public because you are not waiting around for your items.
2. PURCHASE GIFT CARDS
Many local businesses offer gift cards which can be purchased now and be used at a later time
3. SHOP ONLINE
Some local businesses do offer online checkout and shipping which is a great alternative to going out to the stores.
4. STOCK UP ON ENTERTAINMENT
Now is a great time to stock up on the things you typically don't purchase for yourself. We may be in this for awhile and having something to pamper yourself or entertain the kids can help significantly. Purchase a new candle, some new lotion or bath scrub, maybe a face mask. Stock up on crafts for the kids, books, and other entertainment for the family.
5. SHARE SHARE SHARE
Many small businesses thrive on word of mouth and will do so even more now. Share the businesses you love, comment on their social media, send a friendly note telling them how much you support them.
Many years in the making and I am elated to announce that I have finally found the perfect space to house my many ventures.
15 years of doing design in some form or another
10 years since I bought my first professional camera
6 years since I started my event styling company
3 years searching for the perfect space to house it all
This is our new little project, @thegreybarncollective is set to open December 2019 and will be the new home to...
-@marenandlou and @pixelnpine Photography Studio
-Small shop/Handmade design
-The Paper Prince Event styling
-@detroitglam Hair & Makeup studio
I am so excited and so grateful for this opportunity.
I am also so thankful for an amazing partner Jordyn Popour in all of this, we have big plans for this space and are working hard at making all of our dreams come true
I am so nervous to write this post, having to explain the many changes of Maren & Lou over the past year. I've always wanted something of my own, to share all of my creativity the way I wanted. It's hard having a passion for so many things and at the same time not know what your true calling is. I've seriously considered (and also pursued) Interior design, graphic art, photography, clothing design, and event styling. All to say that it is unfortunately impossible to offer all of these things as one person and in one business. My one consistent and ongoing love has been for photography and design but fear of not being good enough or stepping on toes of other photographer friends has held me back from pursing it seriously. I recently read an article about starting out and thought I'd share a few impactful words from it,
"Dear patiently waiting for your chance...
Don't be discouraged by your growth cycle.
You're going to do many things during this process, such as compare yourself to someone who has had years and years of experience.... and that's going to make you feel like total dog shit. (I know because I've done it.)
You're going to doubt yourself once you do this. (yep, I've done that too)
But I'm here to tell you not to quit!
Don't you dare do that to yourself.
You are just as capable of growing into those shoes that anyone else wears.
You see ... people don't just wake up successful.
They work to get there.
Successful people fail. a lot. and often.
Successful people try harder.
Successful people are determined.
Successful people get scared.
Successful people push past it.
The truth is, your success is going to happen. You just need to encourage yourself and know that all these feelings are normal.
So PULL UP those professional britches you now wear and START making a change in the way you think."
If you are still with me, this is what I needed to hear, to know it is okay to have these feelings and continue to pursue my passion. So with that, I am so incredibly excited to announce that Maren & Lou is now offering lifestyle photography and graphic design, two of my passions that I can't wait to share with you.
Sara is a 32 year old mom of 2 (5 year old daughter and 18 month old son). She loves to create items for babies, children, and the young at heart. Her company, Soph and Jake, makes the sweetest plush dolls!
How did you get your start?
"I actually started while also working full time as a preschool teacher. My husband and I were newly married and making small salaries. So to have a little extra pocket money for the upcoming holidays I started my little business. The idea of owning my small business was a fantasy for a long time although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted it to be all those years ago."
Sara is the sole owner, designer, creator, packager, etc. for her company.
"I usually start by drawing a small sketch of my idea and tweaking it a few times. The I'll make a pattern, try to settle on fabric and materials, and start the creating process." Sara explains that it is a constant process to strive to always create something better.
What are some of the biggest hurdles growing your business?
"I think the social media aspect that goes along with running a business is one of my biggest hurdles. It’s hard to stay motivated when things that are out of your control keep changing and you’re not able to connect as well with the people that love your product."
We all have days that we want to throw in the towel, and Sara is no different.
"I think this is a problem with any business owner or even just someone in day to day life. When the kids are sick and you have business matters that need your attention, the days can get very overwhelming."
Where Sara finds her inspiration:
"I gain a lot of inspiration from my mom to start. When I was very young my Dad was laid off from work, to help make ends meet my mom and her friend started a business making children's clothes and women's shirts. I look back and think, that’s the kind of person I want to be: doing what needs to be done to support her family." Sara also adds, "Trusting yourself enough to take the risk in starting your own business is a quality that not many people have and I admire everyone that tries!"
Having a support team is so important
"Right now I am mostly a one woman show, but my husband is definitely my biggest support (he is pretty much my tech guy when the printer is acting up and he even helps me package!) and I love bouncing ideas off of my sister when it comes to products and branding. My sister even designed my logo!"
Advice on the social media game:
"I think the main thing is to be authentic and try to connect with people. I fall in love with a brand when I know the people behind it are genuine."
How do you organize your time and schedule?
"I definitely have to be flexible with my scheduling. Working out of my home with two young kids keeps me on my toes. Nap time is when I get most of my work done so I make sure to be as productive as I can. I also have quite a few late nights after my kids go to sleep."
What are some goals and aspirations of your business?
"I would love to continue to see steady growth this upcoming year. I live for the photos my customers send me of their babies with my products. It makes everything so worthwhile!"
Copyright © 2020 Maren and Lou L.L.C.
Maren & Lou Photography is a SE Michigan newborn, lifestyle, and portrait photographer located in
Clarkston, Michigan and serves Oakland and Macomb counties and surrounding communities.