The Coronavirus: How L2R and Other Small Businesses Are Bracing for Impact

Beyond sending shocks through the general population and healthcare sectors, the coronavirus pandemic is sending small businesses and their workers into a tailspin, as global markets begin to feel the impact of a slowed economy.

Countries at the center of the pandemic are already seeing the devastating effects of the virus, with Italy serving as the first example of what the global fashion industry can expect in the coming weeks. With Italy currently facing a country-wide lockdown there have been widespread setbacks not only for their luxury retail brands, but also for fashion retailers across the world, who rely on textiles and other supplies produced in Italy. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is likely to result in a billion dollar GDP setback for Italy alone, which begs the question: how will this virus financially impact small businesses in the USA’s fashion sector and will we be able to navigate the economic consequences of reduced spending and possibly even state forced shutdowns? 

In keeping with our commitment to transparency, we would like to share with you, our readers, what this could mean for L2R and what steps we are taking to keep our efforts going despite increasing concerns over the coronavirus. As we mentioned in our one year recap, we were set to participate in several Spring fashion events, including the Sustainable Fashion Forum and Portland Design Week. Unfortunately, these events may be delayed (or possibly cancelled) until the height of the contagion has passed. While we were looking forward to expanding our reach and introducing L2R to new audiences, this is a setback we must face for the safety of everyone involved. 

We are also expecting a significant drop in our storefront sales, as foot traffic declines and people opt to self-isolate and avoid crowded areas. As a result, the coronavirus is changing how people shop, with more consumers turning to online platforms while tucked away in isolation. We understand that this means we need to reevaluate our digital strategies and dedicate additional time and effort to expanding our online platforms, both on our own site and through Wolf & Badger. The goal is not only to update these platforms and generate digital sales, but also to use this time proactively and improve aspects of L2R that will contribute to our becoming a stronger company in the long run, and providing our clients with a better online experience. 

Even with these efforts, the possibility remains that the virus could result in shipping delays or other unforeseen consequences. However, being able to sell our products and sustain our company is only part of the concern. As we look to protect our staff and team of artisans, we have opted to temporarily halt production on our Spring/Summer collection, as well as limit our teams’ travels between the USA and Morocco, where the majority of our apparel is produced. 

We are hopeful that L2R will be able to thrive despite these obstacles, and that any potential negative impacts of the virus will be quickly overcome. We stand with our community, and will continue to conduct our business in the way that best aligns with the recommendation of experts and the safety of our staff and clientele. We look forward to the gradual passing and recovery of affected communities across the globe, and wish each of you the best during this time.