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NEW BEGINNINGS FOR BUSINESSES

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Each year residents within the DMV area get the chance to view the gorgeous cherry blossoms in spring. It is also a popular activity to attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. This annual festival is a regular reminder of the country’s connection to and friendship with the country of Japan. In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki sent a gift to America of 3K cherry trees. Visit the Washington Post website to get the Official Festival Guide for March 20 through April 11, 2021.


Letter from the Editor So much has happened in the world since the last issue in December 2019. No one knew at that time, that a global pandemic was just around the corner. At the time of my writing this letter, the US had sustained 543K deaths due to Covid-19. Not one country around the world has been removed from the effects of the virus. Along with families facing the remorseful road of mourning their loved ones, millions have lost jobs, and businesses, as well. In some cases, unemployment occurred due to the closing of small businesses in cities around the country. Women have been impacted more significantly when it comes to job losses and also business endings. Those business owners, who have been able to survive, decided to not only evaluate their plans but changed them entirely. These are stories that need to be shared with new and existing business owners. They are a means of encouragement, as well as, a way to learn how to transform when necessary. If the year 2020, taught us nothing else, it taught us that things can and will change instantly. Collages Mini Mag is now a quarterly business periodical that functions as a tool for those conducting diverse operations. This issue’s content will focus primarily on how the past year affected females in business. Moving forward, we will continue to provide interviews, stories, and information that encourage you to plan more, prepare more, and be more flexible. Sincerely, ARE

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Adapting During a Coronavirus Economy By Athelda Ensley

An Interview with Kimberly Lundy, Owner of Lundy’s Sweet Treats

We all know that last year was difficult for everyone, despite your sex, race, or profession. Millions of people lost their jobs, which is closely connected to small businesses. As one of the country’s largest employers, these businesses had been staples in communities for years. Along with having to let go of employees near and dear to them, small business owners were in a true


battle themselves. The ability to stay afloat in the face of a coming tsunami was virtually impossible for many. The state of the economy at the beginning of 2020 seemed to be nothing but positive. New businesses were being launched and existing businesses were bound to grow. Then, the global pandemic occurred and workers and owners had to try to adapt. This meant, being able to change your business plan, or to develop an entirely different model, altogether. According to Fortune, nearly 100k businesses that closed temporarily because of Covid-19, are now gone altogether. Included here are many African-American and female-owned shops, restaurants, and stores. By April of 2020, this had reduced ownership of these groups by 41%. Although many were negatively impacted, some businesses like Lundy’s Sweet Treats got a brand new opportunity to shine during what the US Census Bureau had coined the Coronavirus Economy. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Kimberly Lundy, who is both owner and operator of the business: Q: What was your biggest business challenge in 2020? A: My biggest challenge, by far, was the occurrence of Covid-19. I had recently started a brand new business with Lundy’s Sweet Treats. The idea of operating a bakeshop at the time when everything else was shutting down was daunting. This was of course while the entire world was trying to figure things out, as well. It turned into a pivotal moment for me as a business owner. The decision was to either give up on this dream or to move ahead with a plan and a purpose. I had to revise my business plan to adapt to the new normal. I started by building the brand name through social media outlets. These platforms helped me to propel the business in creative ways like using virtual images. I simply pushed through my fear and realized that there was nothing to lose, and everything to gain if I moved forward.


Q: What was your biggest business success in 2020? A: Success actually started by being able to make Lundy’s Sweet Treats become a business. This was a milestone that moved it from an idea to something real. During the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown, I considered how hard essential workers were being impacted. So, I started baking treats to honor them. The process of reaching out to each through posts ended up being a benefit for the business. My thoughts of giving back to others resulted in a connection with a sponsor. This person wanted to fund my continued baking for essential workers.

A local CEO heard about this story and wanted to give my baked goods to their workforce. Each employee from the company’s divided workforce would get the chance to enjoy Lundy’s Sweet Treats. This relationship started with a 3-week contract, which led to an extended contract. I was able to serve dual purposes by lifting the morale of a workforce and simultaneously building the brand. These connections were integral to expanding my business overall, by reaching customers in MD, DC, and WV. Q: How would you encourage new business owners to stay motivated, even in difficult industry/market times?

A: One thing that sticks out to me is that some of the greatest innovation has come from a problem. It all depends on how you look at it and where you gain your strength from. I would encourage new business owners to stay focused and to remember why got started. This means not forgetting what the original vision/purpose was for the business. Let this move you forward towards that goal. For me, my vision and purpose had to do with both my FAITH and my FAMILY. The challenges were like trying to figure out a puzzle by dumping out the pieces and putting a plan together.


Business owners will often find that it is necessary to sit down and focus on the next step. This is a good way to successfully build from where you are. Sometimes the picture we had in our minds may not be the same picture we create. This doesn’t make the final product any less bright or meaningful, but you have shown that you can face challenges and adapt to them.

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Female Entrepreneurs are Integral to the Economy By Athelda Ensley

Covid-19 Job Losses in 2020 Women Men

If you were a female business owner in 2020, like the rest of us you experience a year of both shock and awe. These were emotions that could not be avoided, whether the focus was either personal or professional. Covid-19 was recognized as a global pandemic and instantly the way that people functioned was changed. This was particularly impactful when it came to how you may have regularly conducted your business operations. According to US Today, female entrepreneurs, before last year were deemed disproportionately owners of foot-traffic-based businesses. This means that having customers or clients walk into establishments and offices was a big part of the business plan. Shops, spas, cafés, and other types of stores were largely owned by women. They took a hit from the pandemic more so than their counterparts.


When businesses were forced to close temporarily due to country-wide lockdown mandates, the impact touched small, medium, and large companies. Some were able to hang on to not just their business but their staff. There were many businesses, however, that shut down during this time and never reopened. Studies have been conducted and will continue to be, looking at what made some survive and others not. Female entrepreneurs have always been integral to the US economy. These are women that not only employ many of the country’s workforce. They also hire, encourage, and mentor other women into their prospective fields and industries. Growth, as it does organically, will continue cyclically. The industrious and innovative nature of women plays a role here. When you are given more lemons than you’ve ever had, you’ll make lemonade, lemon pie, lemon tarts, or even apparel with a lemon theme. We will not be held back by anything, whether pandemics, failure, or our society. Who Lost Jobs? As a female business owner, you are also officially an employee of that business. Included in the massive number of jobs that were lost in 2020, we women owners in diverse business fields. Fortune reports that since the pandemic began, 400K more women left the workforce. In some instances, these were people whose small business went under. Other things like school closings led to the number because mothers had to be at home for their children. These were not situations of choice so much as being forced due to circumstances. Those with that entrepreneurial spirit are dusting themselves off and getting back out there. Females with long-existing dreams to start businesses are currently making plans and filling out state documentation. They are creating jobs for themselves out of necessity.

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How to Adapt? The 2020 lockdown period was shocking to many people because it came out of the blue. These were people who had finally secured their dream jobs or found office space for business. All of those expectations were either met with a feeling of failure or a reason to adapt. Those, who didn’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy found new ways to conduct business. The internet is filled with resources, tools, training, and groups that allow business owners to transform their purpose. Many of these resources are free to users, such as those provided by the Small Business Administration. Females that have been able to recognize the need for change are the ones who are seeing progress in their businesses now in 2021. Reach out to those in your circle who are doing just this. What’s Next?

You may have gone from a business model that began with inperson engagement experiences. Now you have a choice of meeting apps and platforms. Think of what you need to be successful, write it down with your other goals. Do the research necessary to find those things and how best to apply them to your business model. I do recognize that for some women, their business model will not be successful for whatever reason. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t meant to be a business owner, though. It may mean that there’s more to do to reach that goal. Don’t give up on moving forward, stepby-step. There is room for you and your vision in the economy when the time is right.


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Collages LLC Mini Mag, Issue 1  

This quarterly periodical focuses on business topics to assist owners in the DMV area and nationally. Now a quarterly resource, Collages LLC...

Collages LLC Mini Mag, Issue 1  

This quarterly periodical focuses on business topics to assist owners in the DMV area and nationally. Now a quarterly resource, Collages LLC...

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