Erika J., the owner of the eponymous aviation-themed online store LAPilotGirl which makes available a plethora of aviation gifts for sale, talked to the media about the hardships that she, and many other aspiring entrepreneurs like her, faced during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 pandemic shut down supply chains all over the world and threw a wrench into the global economy, affecting the health and livelihood of billions of people. Even well-established conglomerates were struggling as employees were forced to work from home. Startups stood no chance against such an upheaval and small-scale businesses across the country hemorrhaged money and resources as they scrambled to adjust to the new normal.
The crisis unfolded quickly, leaving businesses few avenues to change or adapt in time. Many businesses also underestimated the amount of time it would take for the situation to normalize, preventing them from taking the necessary steps to ensure their long-term survival. According to a survey of small businesses highlighted in the PNAS scientific journal, the median business with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses had only about 2 weeks of cash on hand to ride the wave of lockdowns and shutdowns. Unable to have sustained cash flow, most businesses had no choice but to lay off workers and shut down.
Knowledge-based workers and companies that relied heavily on technology could adjust to the changing times by asking their employees to work from home. At one point, PC sales hit their highest levels since the pandemic as people were trying to set up the infrastructure they needed to be productive at home, which is indicative of how just drastic a shift the entire pandemic was for the workforce.
Apart from the move to working from home, the pandemic also sparked an exodus from urban areas as those who had the luxury to work from home chose to settle down in quieter towns away from their expensive living accommodations in the city. Consumer demand for goods and services also decreased significantly as people were making less money than usual, prompting them to cut back to the essentials and carefully consider when and how to spend what they had. Businesses also expect mergers and acquisitions to increase as those that failed to survive the pandemic look for a way out of troubled times through consolidation.
Businesses that only exist online and do not have a brick-and-mortar presence faced similar challenges during the pandemic. Though the demand for online goods increased during the pandemic, as people avoided leaving their homes, consumers still cut back on spending on non-essential items and impulse purchases such as dining out, jewelry, and electronics. This affected many businesses which operated in those industries.
Erika J. expressed her opinion on the tumultuous times that small American businesses saw during the pandemic by saying, “We work hard on our designs and product quality to give our customers the best experience for their money. However, if you were struggling during the pandemic, it is unlikely that you were prioritizing the purchase of apparel and accessories, such as the pilot shirt, top, legging, hoodie, and swimwear range that we have on the LAPilotGirl store. This was bad news for many small business owners like me who are running an enterprise that is heavily reliant on people looking for gear that inspires them towards a life goal. We were also affected by supply chain issues as we source products from all over the world and the movement of goods was hampered for the better part of a year. It was disheartening to tell our customers that we were out of stock or suffering from extended delivery times. Now that things seem like they will slowly return to normal, I want to extend my support and prayers to all the entrepreneurs who braved these tough times and are now hopeful for what the future has in store.”
Readers can head over to the LAPilotGirls’s Zazzle, eBay, Etsy, and RedBubble stores to purchase customizable items such as airspace pants, aviation t-shirts, custom phone cases, watch bands, notebooks, bandanas, wrapping paper, and more.
LAPilotGirl, Los Angeles based female private pilot, aviation themed products online shop www.lapilotgirl.com
Santa Monica, California
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