As retailers try to figure out how to navigate these uncertain times during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s helpful to look at the ways others in our community are responding. We asked Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s (WIRLC) members and board members what initiatives their companies have put in place to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some ways retailers are responding, including giving back to those in need.
WIRLC member Tiffany Narbonne, founder, CEO and lead designer of jewelry company T. Jazelle, created a T. Jazelle Relief bracelet. “I felt now more than ever was a time to create something that could help and make a difference with all that’s going on in the world,” Narbonne said. “We created our T. Jazelle Relief bracelet, and $5 from each sale is donated to the Coronavirus Relief Fund.” Narbonne has already raise $4,000 for T. Jazelle’s donation, which she says will go towards helping curb the virus’s spread and give communities on the front lines of the crisis the resources they need to act quickly and protect the most vulnerable. “We have received a very positive response through this, and have had retailers we partner with also bring this bracelet in to promote on their social platforms and websites,” she said.
Sea Bags, a totes and accessories company, is using its resources to make masks and face shields. “I’m so proud that Sea Bags was able to dedicate our skilled craftspeople, manufacturing resources and materials to cut and sew masks and face shields,” said Laura Hnatow, WIRLC board member and Sea Bags’ vice president of marketing and e-commerce. “We’ve already donated a large number of the masks. Many more masks and shields we’re making are being distributed by healthcare agencies we are working with. We hope to manufacture as many as we can get material for.” Hnatow also added that in addition to the masks and face shields, Sea Bags is researching other ways it can work with companies in its community to expand its impact further. “While we know we’re joining many companies that are doing good for the greater good, it was so energizing today to get a shout out from Senator Angus King,” Hnatow said.
Nothing Bundt Cakes is aware that even though society is social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, life is still happening. However, celebrations look a little different these days. “Nothing Bundt Cakes and our bakery owners are doing everything we can to make sure that the joy is still delivered to every bakery,” Yasaman Stewart, WIRLC member and director of retail and design, Nothing Bundt Cakes, said. “We offer curbside pickup and delivery.” Stewart also explained that Nothing Bundt Cakes has safety measures in place to be able to execute this successfully. “Our guests are still having birthdays and celebrations,” she said. “We want to be able to still safely deliver that and be part of their life.”
Dawn Robertson, WIRLC board member and CEO of On Campus Marketing, an e-commerce site for college students and their families, explained that the company is selling care packages specifically with healthcare workers in mind. The site has three packages available, including one called “Snacks for Heroes” care package. Along with snacks, the package also includes a card where you can thank the healthcare worker in your life for everything they’re doing. “Hospital workers are a vital part of our lives every day, but during times of crisis, they play an even more essential role in keeping our communities safe,” OCM’s website states. “It’s not easy — long hours, emotionally taxing days, dealing with crises — it’s all just part of the job for individuals in the healthcare field. If you’re wondering how to say thank you to the healthcare worker in your life for everything they do, we’ve got you covered.” Currently, OCM is offering free shipping for these care packages.
Fran Phillip, WIRLC board member and corporate board member for Vera Bradley, Sea Bags and Totes Isotoner, let us know that Vera Bradley is using its resources to create masks during the pandemic. Vera Bradley’s in-house team is currently able to sew general protection masks out of its distribution facility, and is working with both local hospitals and worldwide supply chains. The company has also launched a healthcare professional collection that includes scrubs, lanyards and more, specifically launched with healthcare workers’ needs in mind.
What new initiatives has your company put into place to respond to the COVID-19 crisis? We’d love to hear about them and possibly cover them in our Inner Circle e-newsletter.