DSM Forward: Pivoting for Success
The Greater Des Moines Partnership DSM Forward webinar series offers insight on moving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region forward in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As plans are made and businesses reopen, The Partnership has put together resources for employers at DSMpartnership.com/DSMForward.
Andrea Metzler, owner at Art Terrarium, Hannah Krause, owner at Eden and Terrence Thames, CEO and creative director at Cocoa Creative Agency, discussed making changes in their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at the recent “DSM Forward: Pivoting for Success” webinar.
Growing + Maintaining Business
In the seven months since the start of the pandemic, Krause purchased Eden. Eden has been a high-end boutique in the Historic East Village for many years. Krause talks about how she fell in love with the store before buying the business in July, and how she wasn’t going to let the pandemic stand in the way. Still, the business has been greatly affected. Krause says that she knew website and social media aspects of the business were already in need of revamping when she bought the business, but because of the COVID-19 crisis, she needed to give customers access to products immediately and made the decision to take on the risk of a website investment right away.
Metzler has also made updates to Art Terrarium’s web presence during the pandemic. The plant shop began using Shopify and Now Now in order to do online sales. When in-store shopping ceased through April and May, the shop offered local delivery and curbside pickup options during its closure. Metzler also discusses how when the shop first opened in Downtown DSM, word-of-mouth helped build the business. They were limited in marketing, but used Instagram and event collaborations with other small businesses to help generate exposure.
Thames discusses adding value for clients through video production, web development and graphic design. Because of COVID, many businesses he’d been talking to for years began to call about virtual events. He says his experience producing prepared the business for this time. After doing one event, another client would call for a similar solution. Cocoa Creative went from losing money at first to business picking up as people looked to solve problems for their customers. He’s utilized livestreaming into a range of events, producing symposiums or conferences at a higher level for clients. Thames says in his experience opportunities will return. The question you need to ask is: Are you ready when they do?
As far as safety concerns, Metzler says they made changes to their in-store potting bar, which is now only for staff. She also set up an outdoor DIY station for customers bringing in their own pot. They ask everyone to wear masks in the shop and continue to sanitize regularly.
Masks are required at Eden as well and sanitizer is available for customers. Krause also provides gloves to customers as an additional option while shopping, and a sink is located at the back of the shop as well. One thing that’s changed at Eden with employees back in the store, Krause says, is that they think more about how they can be there emotionally for their customers who visit the store. It can take courage to leave your home and go to a store. She says she takes pride in providing a space where people feel safe enough that they choose to come into the store.
With nine people on staff, including part-time and full-time employees, working remotely has worked for Cocoa Creative, while physical locations for the business, of which there are two, create more opportunities. Gravitate, a DSM coworking space, and AON Studios, a studio located on the east side of Des Moines, are the physical locations for the business. Thames explains how AON has a podcasting room, executive suites and more that allow for efficiency.
Watch the entire webinar below:
You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.