By: Danielle Kearns
Checking in on you all on day...what is this? 87 of quarantine, right? Well, it has certainly been an interesting time of late. Let us tell you - we miss you guys! The studios have been way too quiet recently and, although we know it's the right thing to do right now, it has not been easy on us as business or personally. We have had to adapt all of our operations, completely remodel our website, and bring our staffing down to the bare minimum. Everything has changed from our hours of operation, to ordering procedures, to stocking shelves, to responding to emails, to rescheduling and revamping classes. It has felt chaotic at times, but we have felt and appreciate all the love and support we have received. It means the world to us that, despite the ever-changing times and financial struggle that so many people are dealing with right now, that people are still CHOOSING to shop with us. Please know that every online purchase made goes to continue to support this small business, cover payroll, afford rent, and ensure that our studio doors will remain open on the other side of this health crisis and global economic decline. Here are some ways you can continue to support our small business during this time remotely. And keep in mind, many of these apply to small businesses that are struggling all over the place right now that could really use our support.
1. Like, Follow, Share, + Comment on Social Media Posts
I'm starting off with arguably one of the simplest ways to support us right now - and it happens to be FREE. We are staying as active as ever on Facebook and Instagram since it's our only way to interact with you all these days, so let us know you're there and watching. If you're following along in a LIVE class, send us a wave and comment from where you're watching from. If you've gotten one of our "to go kits," please, show us your family's special time painting them together. If you're drinking your morning cup of coffee in a mug you painted with us years ago, let us see it. Snap a picture and TAG US. It is completely free to share our posts, keep up with a conversation, and interact with us. It also helps other people in the community see what we're all about and reach a larger audience. We're in this together even though we're apart.
The Claypen's Facebook + Instagram
The Firestone's Facebook + Instagram
Our YouTube Channel (Has pottery painting techniques!)
Our Pinterest Board (Even more inspiration!)
You can even find us on LinkedIn | The Claypen | The Firestone
2. Classes + Reservation Refunds
Small businesses are hurting considerably right now, especially those whose entire business model is based on customer service and people physically entering their space. We host so many birthdays, team building events, meetings, gatherings, happy hours, special occasions, and our own classes and workshops. For so many people, our events may be the whole reason they know who we are in the first place. We invest so much of our time, energy, and expenses into running educational, interactive, and fun programming. But, since we have no choice but to close our doors to the public for now, we can't have those events and have had to reschedule and postpone literally everything. With that comes loads of refund requests. In most cases, small businesses like ours have already purchased all of the resources and materials for events weeks or even months in advance. Please, please, please know that we understand that money is tight right now, but requesting refunds will only further cripple a business that is already struggling. In our case, our policy is a credit. We will honor registrations and reschedule classes when we can safely can do. Class credit codes will be transferable when classes can be reinstated or can be put towards a to-go kit or virtual class if you call the studio.
3. Gift Cards
This soon shall pass. And when it does, the money spent towards gift cards purchased NOW will be considered an investment in the company so, we too, will be there when this passes. We offer physical gift cards that can be purchased over the phone with a credit card and mailed (free of charge) anywhere as well as e-gift cards that can be purchased right on our website. Gift cards can be used at either studio location as well as our cafe.
If you own some, wear it. Take a selfie. Tag us. Be our motivation. Give us a boost and shout us out because, most of all, we miss the feeling of a community of creativity. And man, our stuff is damn cute! If you don't own any, consider buying some. Who couldn't use a cozy (and clean) hoodie right about now? You've probably been wearing the same one for weeks in quarantine.
The Claypen's merch shop
The Firestone's merch shop
5. DIY To-Go Kits
We have added so many options right onto our websites and are updating them (literally) all the time. Keep checking in for more pre-packaged assortments, but keep in mind, our FULL inventory is also posted, so you can create whatever pack-up you like. We have options for canvas, wood/board signs, pottery, and brush lettering. Surf the website and build your own. You can even pick your own pottery paint colors now!
The Claypen's online store: pre-packaged to go kits OR build your own
The Firestone's online store: pre-packaged to go kits OR build your own
6. Virtual Classes
In case you miss us as much as we miss you, we have also launched our virtual class calendar which brings our staff right into the comfort of your house from either their house or the studio. We started off with doing some free Facebook Lives, but have gotten a little more technologically savvy and now can cross-stream on Zoom and Facebook on BOTH of our business pages. AND we have created "class pack kits" which are the perfect companion to our virtual classes BECAUSE they come with everything you need to do the class right along with us. All of the materials are pre-assembled for you so you have what you need to complete the project. Purchase ahead online and pick-up your class packs curbside safely and hassle-free. This class page will continue to be updated, so keep an eye on it!
Virtual Classes: Calendar + Class Kits
Danielle is a CT native, She started at The Claypen in 2018 as a Studio Associate and quickly became a Team Lead and our resident blogger on staff. She now manages The Firestone, our sister studio in Manchester.