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Focusing on the positive when losses overwhelm: Violet Press’ story

Note: This story is part of an upcoming series focused on sharing experiences and advice from our customers. Stay tuned for more from #ZohoInfluence.

“There really isn’t a part of our business that has been unaffected by COVID-19,” began Vi Warner, independent artist and owner of the small business Violet Press, a Zoho One customer. She was hit quickly by the economic impact of COVID-19. Vi is a letterpress artist who left her career as a lawyer to turn her passion into her livelihood. She works on a vintage machine and, alongside her brother Jake, creates custom invitations and stationary for weddings and greeting cards to sell wholesale and at her shop. Before the pandemic started, Vi had just recently moved her small shop to an area with more foot traffic. Once the quarantine orders set in, however, she had to switch gears. Vi had to close down her brick and mortar store and many of her custom work clients postponed their contracts.

“I’m not sure when we will reopen and things feel very shaky right now. We haven’t gotten any government assistance and we’re not alone there—93% of small businesses didn’t receive PPP or EIDL loans/grants and that first wave of money has now run out,” Vi elaborated. Like so many small businesses, the COVID-19 crisis is causing significant hardship for Violet Press. Since this downturn started, Vi has started taking on part time legal work. This shift, however, is not due to any sort of failure of the business or Vi’s creativity, this new set of challenges are simply new things to adapt to, knowing that Vi’s passion will be there when she’s able to dedicate her full time to it again.  

“Our wedding invitation side has sustained losses due to cancellations and postponements. Our retail side is closed to keep customers and ourselves healthy. Our wholesale side has faced similar cancellations and delays as other small businesses that carry our greeting cards have closed and fear they may never reopen,” Vi explained.

While it’s been hard because many of her wedding contracts have been postponed, Vi is planning to start taking this opportunity to put more focus on the online face of her business. Though weddings are being postponed, people have not stopped planning them, nor have people stopped falling in love and getting engaged. People who are engaged now are simply giving themselves more time to plan and perfect their weddings, they’ll just be happening much later on. Though Vi has had to face new challenges due to this pandemic, she hopes this time provides ways for her to keep creating in a way that she may not have been able to with her regular work schedule.

In the meantime, as a member of Zoho’s ESAP program, Zoho can at least make sure that she has one less thing to worry about. “As we currently have very few ways to bring in income, breaks from vendors are super helpful. Having Zoho extend a few free months to us not only helps our expenses, but boosts morale and helps us feel supported.”

And if you find yourself or folks you know in need of greeting cards or custom wedding stationary invites amongst all of this, please take a look at Vi’s work on her website here. If we may say so ourselves, it’s beautiful.

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