Hindsight is 2020

by Julia Jacobsen

There couldn’t be a more true statement. What I had anticipated to be a great year came to a screeching halt as toilet paper few off the shelves.

I run a small business that is web based but the majority of my income is from “pop up” booths I set up at events or outside another boutique business. I don’t want to say I “welcomed” the cancellation of event after event, but in the end, a pause is what my family needed.

I always try to look on the bright side of things. I know we need to wallow at times, but I can’t settle there for long. If I stay in my wallow it hardens like mud and I have a hard time getting out of that place.

I did all the things some of us did while we settled in…wearing the same sweatpants three days straight, binge watching Netflix, etc. I never made sourdough, but I did dive back into cooking more. I embraced Zoom meetings. “Embraced” is not the proper word here. I forced myself and showed up with a smile to Zoom meetings. I dislike the lack of connection the digital age has brought us, but I liked that I could show up to a Zoom meeting dressed like a mullet, business on the top and pajama party on the bottom.

I did not predict my events being cancelled into August 2020. One event was put on by my new friend, Heidi Monter, who organizes Dirt Road Salvage in Cheney. I met her because of the pandemic. When her event couldn’t go on as scheduled, she came up with an alternative, a live sale via Facebook.

“No, I can’t go live”

“I don’t want to”

But Heidi offered to host the live sale. I dropped off about 15 items, left a descriptive list with sale prices and Heidi went live for me. I watched the live sale from my home, nervously. I told myself before Heidi went live, “Do not critique what you are unwilling to do.” I said this a few times, not for lack of faith in Heidi, but my business is my baby and I knew it could be easy to become a critic. I had no complaints, she did a great job and I had enough sales that it piqued my interest to try again.

For my first live sale I enlisted help from my friend, Robbee, who has youth and social media skills. We laid out roughly 45 items to be sold. Our practice run left me in tears from laughing at the bloopers we made. There was no turning back now. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Hi, my name is Julia Jacobsen and this is Ag Swag.” This was essentially an intimate version of a home shopping network. There was interaction between those watching and myself so even though there was a bit of a delay, people could ask questions and request more details about a product. I had no idea what was going to take place. I misspoke, I made some errors, but we had an excellent sale! It was clear people wanted to shop small and liked the convenience of couch shopping.

I will now add live online sales to my business plan. I don’t intend to do these often but I think they are a great way to hold specials for upcoming holidays or introduce new products. They also push me out of my comfort level. I did not want to do these and now I find them enticing and a unique way to interact with customers.

You can wear sweatpants and wallow in the mud as much as you need to, but at some point I highly recommend thinking outside of the box and attempting something that scares you.

Visit Julia’s Ag Swag website here.

Posted in