Today is our six month anniversary at The Firestone.
This certainly wasn’t how we were expecting to celebrate. The studio was empty... on the Saturday of a holiday weekend. We had one person working. We spent the day anxiously waiting for the ping of an order to come through (yes, we cheer when it happens.) And, yet, we’re unsure of the future. For many small businesses, this situation has been a punch in the gut. We are riddled with uncertainty. We are unsure of the next path to take. And even though May 20th has rolled around and some businesses are getting to see their customers in person again, we just aren’t there yet, and to be honest, it’s terrifying. And we know our story isn’t all that unique. But as a business that barely got off the ground before the pandemic hit, this has been an especially difficult situation to navigate.
The past six months have been life changing and we have experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. In a matter of weeks, we went from a construction zone, to a booming holiday season, to finally opening our cafe and wet clay studio -- things we had dreamed of and worked up to for years -- only to being forced to shut down to the public, cancel classes, and create an online store from scratch in a matter of days in hopes to cover the most basic of expenses. Electricity. Heat. Rent. Payroll. These things have remained constant despite every other unpredictable curveball we’ve been thrown.
Although we’ve felt the unbelievable support from the public through online ordering and social media, we’ve also had long stretches of time where we didn’t receive a single order. (Not exactly the kind of thing you run to Instagram to brag about.) We thought that by reopening the cafe for curbside pickup, we might stimulate sales, but it’s been a slow process when you know a lot of the world is still bunkering down.
Despite all of this, we are still trying our best to be grounded in gratitude e v e r y d a y. It’s not always easy, but we are making the conscious effort to persevere and stay consistent for our customers and our staff. We know we aren’t necessarily considered “essential” these days, but we also know we’ve been a landline for some living in quarantine and in need of an artistic outlet. We feel an immense responsibility to create and maintain sustainable jobs for our employees and create a comfortable, consistent, and safe work environment for them. We’ve had to come up with creative ways to hit all these marks, and we haven’t gotten it right every time. But still, we try.
It is our six month anniversary. So today and tomorrow and the day after that, we are asking you all to keep small businesses, ours included, in your minds and hearts because these are incredibly unusual times. This is an opportunity to support small businesses in the most spectacular of ways by placing orders with them. We are made with 𝗵𝗲𝗔𝗥𝗧 and we just ask you to share that love and pay it forward.
Danielle is a CT native, She started at The Claypen in 2018 as a Studio Associate.