By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
DESPITE thousands of people laid off and the economy at a near standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, some local businesswomen have found ways to adapt to the crisis.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolera Glinton, of BGG Wow Bags and Accessories, created and sold mainly handbags and flip flops. A request from a client overseas for face masks saw her business take on a new venture, with sales growing every week.
“When COVID-19 hit, of course I became concerned about my finances,” Mrs Glinton said. “I’m married with four children and a husband recovering from a massive stroke which leaves me as head of household. A model who modelled my bags at New York Fashion Week 2015 sent me a Facebook message with contact info of a company needing face masks for New York. I became a designer of face masks, producing 500 pieces for them.”
After this, Mrs Glinton said the word got out and her phone started ringing for orders in Nassau.
“My friend then did a Facebook live promotion for me and I began getting more orders and wholesale orders from other islands.
“I produce up to 75 pieces in a day and sales have been growing week by week and the demand is great. So COVID-19 has allowed me to create a new product that is very profitable at this time, the BGG Wow Mask.”
Another woman finding opportunity during the pandemic is Geneen Evans of Eden’s Pantry, a personal shopping business for those who can’t get out or don’t want to.
“On the 9th of April a few days before Easter, I laid in bed feeling stuck,” Ms Evans said. “The country was headed for its first lockdown weekend due to COVID-19 and my hopes of becoming gainfully employed again was dashed.”
She had a job interview just before the COVID-19 crisis began and was ready to start a new chapter in her life. However the COVID-19 restrictions dashed those plans.
Ms Evans said a quote from Dr Myles Munroe — “Crisis brings ideas and ideas brings opportunities” — encouraged her.
“A friend called who is an essential worker, a nurse, and as she talked to me she went on to say how many things she needed to do including shopping but the lines were so long,” Ms Evans said. “That’s when I offered to do it for her for a fee. After this she kept referring me to other people and my days before the Easter lockdown were full. I went on the lines early in the morning, did the shopping and delivered the items.”
She named her shopping business Eden’s Pantry after her 11-year-old daughter. She offers a food shopping service, but also makes runs to home stores as well. She hopes to expand her business and hire employees in the future.
Local soapmaker 20-year-old Singular Brown said she had to think creatively to keep her business Cia Monet afloat during this time. With most businesses required to close their doors to the public, she has turned to ecommerce to continue sales.
“When COVID-19 emerged in The Bahamas and most businesses were required to close their doors we had to think both smartly and legally as to how to remain relevant while being able to secure some kind of income,” Ms Brown said. “We decided to beef up our online presence by promoting essential products that were necessary during this time. We strategically showcased our handcrafted organic soaps that contain more oils, more lather and better cleansing agents for the skin.
“We are also exercising social distancing and wearing our masks while offering curbside and contact-free pickup,” she said.