12 Dallas-Based Small Businesses Share the Lessons They’re Taking Away from 2020

2020 presented unprecedented challenges for small businesses in the lifestyle space. Spas, salons and more had to close for months. Gyms have struggled to develop streaming services and then adapted to new capacity constraints. Stores struggled to keep stocks as the distribution chains stalled. Even so, many Dallas mainstays have prevailed. Some were still in their prime. We asked local business owners to share the biggest lessons they learned in 2020, their proudest moments during the pandemic and their hopes for the coming New Year.

BEYOND Studios: “2020 was a premiere year for BEYOND, but we made it with great strides. While we eagerly await the day when we can be at full capacity, we won’t do so until our employees and customers are as safe as possible. TeamBEYOND and our customers have been very supportive of us every step of the way and we have actually increased the number of customers who are BEYOND members rather than going from class to class. In 2021, we hope everyone will do their best to comply with COVID-19 restrictions so small businesses like BEYOND can operate without interruption. “- Rumer Richardson

District Climb: “[I’m most proud of] the resilience that the team showed. We continued to prevail. We offered free YouTube training videos when we were closed and when we could go back to work we showed every day if one climber or 15 climbers came to us. We hope that with the support of new and old customers, the fitness industry will return to an even stronger number in 2021. “- Tamra Michelle

d.RT: “[We launched our company this year, and] The lack of face-to-face interaction turned out to be very challenging especially early on. It was difficult not being able to travel and create together in the same space. In our business, we have to touch, feel and see everything, so decisions that are normally made in a meeting took much longer as we had to send fabrics and colors back and forth. This has made us better business people – we learn to be more forgiving and flexible. To adjust. To adjust. Develop. is one of our campaigns, and we definitely lived that this year. We are grateful for these lessons. “- Paula Brunson

Energy Gardens Living Decor: “The biggest challenge of the year was adapting my business model. Sales at local markets and festivals have ceased. I started selling on Instagram and offered plant delivery to my doorstep. In 2020, more people opened their eyes to the importance of nature in their homes, so the demand for indoor plants skyrocketed. My customers are the real superstars – I’ve received so much love and support from both new and existing customers. “- Anthony Robinson

House of Conservation: “One of the greatest blessings was the downtime during lockdown to refocus and get creative again. We haven’t had a chance to catch our breath since we opened our doors, and it was nice to slow down and focus on things we had pushed into the background. 2020 made us realize how much we value the people in our lives and our team was an instrumental support system. As a group of women in a start-up, we really leaned into each other to get through and that made the difference in the world. “- Rylie Bland and Brittany Ricketts

Leather customer: “[This year reinforced that as business owners, we need to] Take care of our people. Support your employees, be empathetic, build trust and lead your team through the ups and downs. Great people are the backbone of a successful business. Leather science is also about celebrating everyday life and sharing joy. We’ve always had a big gift shop. This year, customers wanted to send meaningful, personalized gifts to loved ones far and wide. We are grateful that our customers have come back to us for gifts, and we are just happy to be a part of them, whether it is to celebrate a (virtual) graduation, birthday, anniversary or holiday. “- David Liu

Popovers + Peonies Pop-Up Picnics & Events: “The hardships and uncertain times of 2020 brought Popovers + Peonies to life. We are so grateful and proud that we have been able to safely bring our loved ones together to celebrate events large and small. We felt the support to a great extent and look forward to celebrating more in 2021. “- Paulina Szczponik

StudioHop: “The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that the fitness industry is agile in several ways. We were impressed with how quickly our team and partners were able to turn to serve our customers and keep them mentally and physically healthy during an otherwise scary time. “- Natalie Wolfe

SonnensteinFIT: “What makes Covid-19 most difficult is that the future is completely unclear. There is a feeling that things will return to a more normal state at some point, but no [idea] of timing. I am very proud of our team, which faced the unique challenges of 2020. They have not withdrawn from our vision, but have adapted at every opportunity: online courses during the blockage, observance of distance and hygiene, new systems for contactless control. in and more. “- Brandon Hartsell

The Kirsch App: “Cherry was one of the many companies that were ordered to discontinue their services [in 2020]. As a social impact company that exists to provide economic opportunity for women in our community, sitting on the sidelines for a few months has been a challenge. That year United Way became an investor in Cherry. This is the first of its kind from United Way, launched at just the right time. This enables us to offer our Cherry Pros all-round services when they need them most. We and our partners at United Way hope this innovative model will serve as an example for entrepreneurs with a social impact across the country. “- Amber Venz Box and Aaron Coats

Tracee Nichols: “My manufacturer in New York was shut down for a while and I couldn’t fulfill any orders. My customers have been so understanding and patient. Your loyalty through good and bad times means everything to me. I also had other women-based companies backing my line with lots of shoutouts and mentions on social media. I hope small businesses like me can leverage what they have learned in 2021 and continue to grow and expand. This year, despite its challenges, has really given small businesses a voice. Now I believe consumers have a better understanding of how important small businesses are to the community and how much their support of any kind means. “- Tracee Nichols

Vivians Boutique Spa: “Flexibility and positivity have helped me explore the unknown territory of reopening our business amid a pandemic. It also emphasized my original goal when opening the spa: to provide people with moments of connection and wellbeing. We look forward to providing more joy, connection, and convenience [to clients] We look forward to a brighter year 2021. ”- Kristin Barton

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