Perseverance and resilience; key traits for local businesses to survive the pandemic

Perseverance and resilience; key traits for local businesses to survive the pandemic

A PayPal initiative to #SupportLocal businesses

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widespread, bringing economic activity in India to a near halt. One of the biggest bearers of this economic strain have been the small and medium businesses. From delays in shipments to international countries to difficulties in moving products between manufacturing facilities and shutting physical stores, local businesses are facing myriad challenges to sustain.

Having said that, local business owners have risen to the occasion and shown utmost perseverance and resilience as they fight back with ingenious pivots to adjust to this new reality. The government and many industry bodies are committed to ensuring revival of this sector. In line, PayPal is making concerted efforts to enable MSMEs and make a positive difference by sharing inspiring stories of local businesses who are leading by example. Here are five interesting stories of local businesses’ journeys and endeavors, and we urge you to #SupportLocal with PayPal.

Misha Gudibanda, Co-Founder of Sky Goodies

Passionate about creativity, Misha started Sky Goodies, a company that makes easy to assemble papercraft DIY kits for adults.

With an aim to add value to people’s lives, while having fun in the process, Misha started Sky Goodies as an experiment in 2013. Adults often forget the joy of creating craft with hands. She and her partner began by designing DIY paper craft templates to ignite passion for creativity in adults.

“It’s meditatively analog craft, for the digital age”, says Misha, while describing her products. She listed the products as digital downloadable products on Etsy.com. Sky Goodies quickly gained prominence and featured in leading international magazines and blogs such as Vogue, Elle-décor and Lonely Planet.

Striving to achieve optimal growth, Sky Goodies caters to customers across the globe. However, the pandemic has posed a threat to her business. Over the last few months, Misha had to shut the physical store and warehouse to sustain. Sales of physical products which constitute the bulk of her revenue have come to a standstill.

Committed to overcoming the challenges, Misha has undertaken freelance work to cover monthly costs. Her perseverance and resilience are commendable. Support Misha’s small self-funded business to enable her to survive the crisis. Shop here.

Poorvi Wadehra, Founder of CatCurio

A Women entrepreneur, inspired by her love for animals - Poorvi established CatCurio, a company that sells unique cat themed products across 67 countries.

An architect by profession, Poorvi has always been open to learn new techniques, ideas and skills. Without a degree in business, she started CatCurio to go beyond the preconceived four walls called ‘workspace’.

“Today, we sell our products in 67 countries. I don’t travel as much as I’d hoped, but my products have travelled the world”, mentioned Poorvi whose passion transcends into her work. Inspired by watching videos on social media, reading blogs and researching, she turned her dream into a business reality.  

Since inception, Poorvi has maintained an impressive customer service benchmark. She believes reassurance, confidence and trust are invaluable traits a brand must demonstrate when selling globally. However, the pandemic has delayed international shipping and deliveries considerably, putting off clients and decreasing sales to a large extent. Furthermore, as an all-women enterprise, working from home comes with its own unique challenges.

To stay afloat and continue building brand presence, CatCurio has accelerated its social media activity. Help Poorvi increase website traffic and sales. Shop here.

Vivek Tiwari, Owner of Urelas

A young undergraduate student runs Urelas, home to an array of distinctive personalized décor products

“The best stories have layers. In our case, so do our products and it tells a story” says Vivek. He had his ‘aha’ moment when his brother introduced him to layered artwork. Taking inspiration from this, he designed similar layered products and illuminated it to create distinct stories. This is how Lunibox was born, which transformed Urelas from a t-shirt business into a home décor venture.

Vivek’s dedication to his business is admirable. To navigate through the COVID-19 crisis and its concomitant challenges, Vivek skipped most of his classes this semester. However, he is facing problems to move products from his manufacturing facility to his warehouses in the US and Europe. Despite soaring demand, he is unable to offer products to customers as they are out of stock.

The pandemic has created many hurdles but Vivek is determined to learn and thrive in this scenario. Moving forward, as part of Urelas’s contingency plan, the company will overstock in anticipation of a crisis and invest in local manufacturing units. Support Vivek to enable him to make his learnings into a reality. Shop here.

Nupur Goyal, Owner of iDukaancrafts

A woman entrepreneur fascinated with crafts, design and creativity launched this venture to tap international consumers and is now looking at offering her products in the Indian market as well

Nupur curates and sells fabrics, and handicraft supplies to designers across the world. Through her work and while staying abroad, she realized the regard for Indian-origin fabrics, craft and hand-made supplies across the globe and grabbed the opportunity to reach out to these consumers. She was always intrigued with colourful fabrics and inspired by how her mom who came up with apparel designs for herself.

The biggest challenge for her right now is to get supplies and raw materials from the vendors to create the products. She is also finding it difficult to ship these products internationally as very few e-commerce companies are operational and the ones that are have increased their prices. She is receiving orders from her international customers but unable to produce and ship it to them.

Due to the small nature of the business it is important to ensure continuity and keep the money flowing. “We invested our personal savings to fulfill the pending orders and to pay staff salary. Utilized personal time to learn more and more things from the webinars by PayPal, Epch, Etsy and other organizations to use the money wisely in these extraordinary times. As the resources are limited, we will have to make the best out of it,” said Nupur while sharing her thoughts on overcoming the barriers.

Nupur is thinking of selling in India too to fulfil doorstep deliveries during the nation lockdown and adhere to the social distancing norms.

Grab this opportunity and procure handicrafts of an international standard. Shop here and be on the lookout for more products.

Amit Singha, Owner of Anuprerna

An ethical sustainable textile industry enthusiast who started this endeavour to support the artisan community in West Bengal

In 1983, inspired by the artisan community around, Amit’s endeavour started out of a small village in West Bengal with a mission to support and empower the rural artisans, promote and preserve East India's traditional crafts & textile, use natural and sustainable fabric, and share this incredible tradition with the world. Anuprerna strives to create recognition for beautiful handwoven textiles to bestow value onto the ordinary lives of these artisans with extraordinary skills.

Amit’s clientele primarily consists of domestic brands and designers. He is gradually expanding by exporting his products through online platforms, social media, and other third-party platforms. Due to the pandemic, the industry and his business has come to a standstill. Even if there's little demand, he is unable to fulfil it due to logistic challenges. Moreover, there's so much uncertainty around the pandemic that Amit is unable to plan anything for the near future and is finding it difficult to manage expectations of his employees and artisans.

“Well, it's absolutely imperative to learn from such a crisis, to stay prepared in the future. Although, this pandemic is one of a kind that I sincerely hope will happen not more than once in our lifetime. The world should learn and ensure it doesn't happen again,” highlights Amit while talking about the effect of the pandemic on his business.

Amit believes a new model of working will emerge, where clients will become more reliable on their suppliers, working in a long-term partnership model to tackle such unforeseen events together.

Support these artisans while filling your wardrobe with sustainable fabric. Shop here.

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