When coronavirus began presenting, and self-isolation was fresh, Montclair Made was gaining new wholesale customers on Faire and maintaining a storefront on Etsy. I was comfortable where I was, so confident of a future with a steady workload that I had already made the decision not to vend at any craft shows in 2020. I made this choice after traveling to shows for 3 decades, and enduring losses for the last few years. But I could justify the choice to save time and money by staying home and fulfilling larger orders that were rolling in since I joined Faire in February, finally filling a hole that had been created when Etsy Wholesale closed in July of 2018.
As a creative person, and also a business person, I struggled with the changes that came from this pandemic. Feelings of grief for the way things were, fueled by frustration about supply chain breakdowns, leaving me desperate for material to make my products, created a sense of insecurity I’m sure most self-employed entrepreneurs can relate to.
I struggled through product development, no lack of inspiration to be found creatively, but confused by information about guidelines and specifications, a sad symptom of the response by our leaders. I moved forward reluctantly, with support from my partner who I’m grateful to be isolating with, as well as encouragement from The Porchistas in the form of product development and feedback, for which I am thankful.
Custom masks I made for The Porchistas.
My long dormant website was revived as the ecommerce platform of choice, the process is chronicled on Instagram, and the product images are gathered in a photo album called “The Great Adaptation”, that documents the masks that I’ve made as a result of pivoting my business. Everything that I’ve done in my life has been preparation for this. I’m grateful that the infrastructure I needed was already in place and that the emotional support I need is there too.
I have become comfortable with my workflow again, materials are still challenging to acquire, but I’m managing, feeling a sense of control and creativity again. I am wary of leaving my apartment except for essential reasons, and organizing order pickups was making me uncomfortable about safety, so in an effort to stay diligent and healthy, I have discontinued local pickup until further notice. Shop updates will still be done regularly, with big mask updates happening weekly.
Thanks to everyone who has continued to support Montclair Made, I appreciate it!