9 inspiring creative spins from small business amidst COVID-19

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

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This sign that appeared in the window of Seattle’s Opus Co. restaurant in early March is a pretty good representation of how all small businesses were feeling as they began navigating these uncharted waters: “We’re a little all over the place, with a plan (kinda), that could change at any moment — but we still want to be here for you!”

We know many of you can’t run your businesses the way you’re used to, so we’re here with a little creative inspiration to get you thinking of new ways to keep doing that thing you do that makes your customers love you. And right now, anything goes.

Here’s what some small businesses just like yours are doing to keep moving forward:

The business: Fruitsuper Their specialty: Elevated everyday objects.

Their creative spin: They grouped store items together into “care package” type kits. For instance, their Pantry Kit includes chile verde flakes, smoked Alaska sockeye samon, and dried white and garbanzo beans. And their Spa Day at Home Kit includes a face mask, charcoal soap, face toner, and bath bomb cubes. There’s something for everyone, they are geared towards staying at home, and it’s something customers can buy for themselves or send to someone else. They even provided some movie recommendations in an Instagram post about their Movie Watching Kit: “We’ve compiled an incomplete list (in no particular order) of some of our favorite films below. These inspire us, make us laugh, make us cry, and most importantly bring a bit of much needed joy and distraction. Make some popcorn, pour yourself a cocktail, curl up on the couch, call your BFF and watch a movie together.”

The business: Southern Charm Textiles Their specialty: Machine-embroidered pillows and tea towels with Southern charm. Their creative spin: Along with a group of 25 other local makers, CJ Evans participated in a virtual festival called Maker Hop + Shop — they created an Instagram account specifically for the event and scheduled Instagram Live events over the course of the day where the makers did live demos, gave tours of home studios, and chatted with customers.

The business: Capers Their specialty: Home decorating and furnishings, entertaining supplies, and gifts. Their creative spin: Since customers can’t come in, they started doing special window displays: “On Saturdays, as you wander, stroll, walk, run, bike, and drive down California Avenue,” a recent Instagram post read, “we’ll be here, dressing windows. Pause, watch, and be entertained, as we create new windows of beauty every Saturday between the hours of 10am and 2pm.” Customers can purchase anything they see by calling or emailing, and get free curbside delivery. They even included a contest element: passers-by can vote for their favorite window (there are two to choose from), and if “your window” wins, you’re entered in a drawing for a gift certificate. In addition, they are posting retail items for sale on Facebook and Instagram.

The business: Seattle Art Source Their specialty: Provide interior designers and homeowners with an organized and approachable way to purchase original art. Their creative spin: Virtual consultations! Founder Sara Hurt shared in an Instagram post how to connect with her: “Dreaming of the days I can work from my lovely studio space again. For now, I’m open for virtual consultations. Thank God for Facetime and Zoom right?! We can go through our online gallery together, you can show me the area in your home that’s needing some life, or I can answer your general ‘how it works’ type questions.⁠”

The business: Pure Bliss Their specialty: From scratch small batch cakes, gourmet dessert wedges, cookies, cupcakes, and more. Their creative spin: This dessert cafe is giving their customers lots of options for getting their sweet fix, right on the homepage of their website: They have a link to purchase gift cards, information about “at-the-door” grab-and-go, a link to the delivery app customers can find them on, as well as how to pre-order. Pure Bliss also posts the day’s selections to their Instagram Story every morning and updates when items are sold out.