It is no secret that many small businesses are struggling to stay profitable in the year 2020. Meanwhile corporate behemoths are posting record sales numbers amid the online shopping craze. Thanks to COVID-19, if you run a small business (especially one that relies on the travel industry), things are especially tough right now.
For the past 15 years, 80-90% of our income has come from wholesale sales. We have sold our carvings all over Alaska to dozens of beautiful little gift shops and galleries. These wonderful stores sit brimming with original art and handmade goods for cruise ship passengers to shop and enjoy. We have had success and growth each year. Every economic forecast predicted that the 2020 cruise season would top them all, bringing in more tourists (and their dollars) than Alaska had ever seen.
Of course that all changed in March of 2020, when we learned that nearly all cruises to Alaska would be cancelled indefinitely. We know they will sail again, we just don't know when or at what capacity.
Initially, we felt that the pandemic would be devastating to our business. And had we not adapted, it would have been. But we are nothing if not versatile. We knew we needed to change if we wanted to survive. So we did. We have been learning all we can about social media marketing, e-commerce, and the retail art world. (We even learned a TikTok dance or two, lol). We are finding our buyers in other ways, not through an Alaskan cruise. It has been difficult, but it hasn't been impossible. To be honest, it's been a somewhat thrilling challenge. Resources are plentiful for those willing to look.
We say all this not to garner sympathy or to be negative. This is simply our reality, and we like to share what is happening behind the scenes. Your support throughout this entire year has been nothing short of miraculous. Every single order that comes through makes us do a happy dance! Every single share, comment, or message on social media makes all the hard work worth it. We will overcome these challenges placed in our path and we will be stronger for all of it.
We do pray for those affected by the virus. We are very sympathetic to the many who have lost loved ones, lost their own good health, or lost their lives. It is a tragedy for any life to be cut short. Businesses come and go. People do not. Our love and prayers are with you.
And thank YOU for all the love and support this year. Nothing went as planned! And yet, I think it was probably our best year ever. Maybe not in numbers, but definitely in growth. May we always look for the good and spread kindness wherever possible.