Smooch Studio keeps customers safe through pandemic

“I just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!” – Nicole Knight

Nicole+Knight%2C+Kendra+Knight%2C+Kelsey+Bowen%2C+and+Elise+Olszanowski%2C++stand+outside+of+Smooch+to+show+how+they+are+staying+safe%21

courtesy of Nicole Knight

Nicole Knight, Kendra Knight, Kelsey Bowen, and Elise Olszanowski, stand outside of Smooch to show how they are staying safe!

by Gillian Humphreys and Cameron Pattison

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/ktoj2

Social distancing, capacity restrictions, and financial struggles have wiped out many small businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. The ones remaining struggle to stay on their feet. 

Larger businesses with a big online footprint or curbside delivery like Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot have thrived in this time due to their convenience.

Small businesses have always been a challenge to sustain economically, but it became a harder task earlier this year, especially for personal care businesses like salons, make-up, and massage because they depend on close interaction between employees and customers.

Smooch Studio, a small makeup business in Frederick, Maryland, is doing everything in their power to endure the pandemic. 

Many small businesses were already at a financial disadvantage before the pandemic, but when COVID hit, they were more vulnerable than ever.

Most were affected by loss of revenue. According to an examination by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, small business income is off by twice the decline in wages and salaries.

Aside from struggling financially, many had to lay employees off and cut their hours due to not having enough customers. This left many people unemployed and at a large disadvantage. 

To help with the financial crisis business owners are facing, the government has funded many businesses with grants and programs. However, the government can only do so much.

Nicole Knight, owner of Smooch Studio, said, “We were awarded some grants and the Paycheck Protection Program, but those funds were used quickly.” 

Many small businesses were assisted by the government, but unfortunately the government can’t take care of everything. 

About 1 in 5 small businesses open in the beginning of 2020 have closed their doors and may never be able to reopen. 

Although many businesses have failed, the ones that have survived are making creative adjustments to make their company suitable for customers in the current situation.

“We are getting creative with online options and promotions,” said Knight. “We are also communicating to our customers that we are taking every precaution for safety and going over and above!” 

“Smooch has been so good with protecting their customers and communicating their safety protocols. I know whenever I walk in their door, I’m safe. It’s super important to support small businesses, especially now,” said Gina Humphreys, Smooch Studio customer.

As the pandemic goes on, businesses have to make many changes and use their resources in order to be successful in these trying times. Some small businesses are coming together to help one another by collaborating and cross promoting each other. 

For Smooch Studio, they have made many adjustments to make sure their customers are safe and comfortable. Some of the changes are cutting hours, extra sanitization, curbside pickup, online deals, and more. 

“Smooch is sanitizing everything regularly, as they always have, but they’ve added UV sanitizing lights for equipment and they’re constantly wiping things down,” said Natalie Mackey, Smooch Studio employee.

Joann Packan, Smooch Studio customer, said “Since I am older, it’s risky for me to go out often. By providing online options, Smooch has made it easier for me to access my favorite products while also staying safe.”

For most small businesses, there are loyal customers that greatly contribute to their success. The support and encouragement of those customers helps to keep owners motivated. 

Knight said, “Our customers have been amazingly supportive and encouraging.”

Although it is difficult to persevere in trying times, owners have to stay motivated now more than ever.

“I just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!” said Knight.

Giving advice to other small businesses and owners, Knight said, “Be smart with regard to utilizing your funds in a way that will create profit,” and to, “stay positive and informed.”