I’m lucky to call Karen Helburn, owner of Just Hatched in Guilford, a good friend. I’ve turned to my small business girlfriends often during this pandemic, for a sounding board, advice, and to find out how they are forging ahead with their companies. Karen’s optimism and wisdom, not to mention the ability to turn on a dime, has inspired me to stay the course. Her story is hopeful and inspiring for small business owners during these crazy times.
Here’s what Karen had to say:
While I wish that COVID never happened – there’s been one (very) unexpected outcome. It appears having the world turn upside down in an instant has made me get very clear on ‘who’ Just Hatched is and ‘why’ it is we do what we do.
For years our mission has always been: ‘To join our customers in celebration of the new life in their life’. If I’ve said my mission once, I’ve said it ten million times over the last 23+ years – but suddenly, in the face of this tragedy, something shifted. I got clear and subsequently calm deep within my core. My mission, which I once thought of as kind of frivolous, suddenly felt very important. A baby born during COVID is no less deserving of all the celebration and fanfare than a baby born a few weeks prior. In fact, these babies deserve an even greater welcome as far as I could see. Dads are banned from delivery rooms – not able to be present for the birth of their child, new parents bring baby home to an empty house, grandparents unable to hold their new grandchild in their arms- these stories broke my heart. Suddenly ‘joining our customers in celebration of the new life in their life’ felt essential, not frivolous at all. And then something even more amazing happened. I began to feel hopeful.
I realized that ‘what’ we do doesn’t have to change because of COVID. We can still join our customers in celebration of the new life in their life. HOW we do that will change – and has changed.
For example, we created a walk-up window that customers can shop through, and virtual shopping via Facetime is a daily activity now. We’re picking up the phone and talking with our customers directly much more now than ever before. These are ways we still get to join our customer in celebration.
The ‘what’ we do will never change – it’s the heart of ‘who’ we are. The ‘how’ we do it will be different, and that’s OK. This horrible and cruel pandemic has only made me more sure of my own heart.
Shop online at Just Hatched here: Justhatched.com. Or call the shop: 203.453.BABY
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