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By Lily Woodbury

Adaptability During the Pandemic: World is Slowing, Creative Juices are Flowing

Evidently, there has been a multitude of downsides due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one positive outcome has been the level of creativity and ingenuity that has emerged in businesses and individuals alike. With so many restrictions in place, businesses, especially small ones, have had to get extra inventive in order to stay afloat. And people have had to get creative and resourceful to maintain some sanity during this crazy time! 

Getting Down to Business & Getting Creative While Doing it 

Who could have predicted a year like 2020 where so many things changed. I certainly did not expect to have to wear a mask to grab groceries or to maneuver around a busy sidewalk while thinking about social distancing. In fact, I never thought I'd be constantly paying attention to my location in relation to others around me. I definitely didn’t think about the terms six-feet apart and socially-distanced, and how they would hold so much meaning in my life. Businesses, like individuals, have had to learn to adapt and find ways to thrive in a changing landscape.

For example, alcohol distilleries in Canada have been using their facilities to make hand sanitizer. Although the smell of these products makes you regret ever drinking tequila, this business adaptation has been very crucial. Panic-buying of hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic and the continued increasing demand made pivoting necessary for these companies.


Hand Sanitizer Bottle


Italian Pasta Being Prepared


1 - Unsplash via @KellySikkema              

2- via Erin Birnie

Many cafes and restaurants had to get extra creative to increase their revenue, by selling meal kits and even grocery items. Where I Thrive, a cafe and gym located in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, offered Valentine’s Day meal kits, where customers could cut their own pasta from house-made dough and enjoy a lovely 4-course meal. The cafe went above and beyond by including three curated Valentine’s Day playlists, a pamphlet on how to recycle the containers, and instructions on how to make the food. Some restaurants, such as Local Public Eatery, started selling groceries and household products via food delivery services. Not only did this increase their revenue, it also helped encourage people to stay at home during the multiple lockdown orders Ontario faced. 

Gyms also pivoted to provide virtual classes at a lower membership charge. They completely shifted their teaching styles to accommodate this, but many were able to maintain a sense of community through live classes. Some spin fitness studios, such as SPINCO and Where I Thrive rented out their bikes for people to stay active at home. 


Line of Elliptical Bikes at Gym


 3 - Flickr via @CoachFrankDolan 

Other small businesses have been converting to and relying more heavily on online platforms by holding virtual workshops and classes. A small, women-owned business based out of Ottawa called PlantED Project offered virtual cooking classes. I have attended some, and they are so fun, and truly make you feel like part of a community (not to mention, the food is DELICIOUS). 

Pandemic Hobbies: Passing Time or Pastimes? 

I don’t know about you, but I got bored of Netflix quickly in March 2020. I was employed in a cafe at the time, so I was unable to work from home. I had to find ways to occupy myself before my brain turned to mush. I started reading every day and doing lots of outdoor activities. I took up road biking in the summer, and even cross-country skied for the first time in six years! My sister started new crafting projects regularly — from tie dye, to candle-making, to painting shoes — she was always creating something in her room. 

Now that people have the time and are in need of ways to supplement their income, many have been opening small businesses. I have been seeing new ventures that involve candle-making (The Valley Candle Co.), hair scrunchies (Honey Hair Scrunchies), jewelry (bijoux upcycled, Big Timer Art), and consignment clothing (THE SLOW FIT)  popping up during the pandemic. 



4 - Unsplashed via @pouredbyfi 

I love witnessing people doing things they are passionate about because now they have the time to focus on themselves. Honestly, it is really intriguing to me how innovative businesses have been. Hopefully, these creative juices keep on flowing!