As we dive into the current and future business landscape of the COVID-19 season, in its earliest phases, we focus on the ways to purposefully dismantle our current way of doing business in preparation for a new norm. Looking at the phoenix’s transition to rebirth, as a model, these preparations are the Reconstruction Phase. This phase consists of three parts: (1) calm down, (2) care, and (3) communicate.
While I was thinking about business owners to reach out to for this project, Jay Bowman, who is a pamper expert, immediately came to mind. After our interview, I realized her experiences and insights about the pandemic are a fitting example of moving through the Reconstruction Phase.
Meet Jay Bowman from Jay’s Precious Cargo
Jeramian (Jay) Bowman is the CEO and formulator of Jay’s Precious Cargo, a line of handmade proprietary pampering products sold online and at a boutique in Tennessee. I have had the pleasure of working with Jay as her business coach, and I am also a loyal customer of her amazing handmade products. Her business mind keeps her focused on the next big thing, during a normal season of business, so I knew she would have some great insights through COVID-19 pandemic.
Putting Faith First
“This pandemic is something that came and shook the whole world. That’s major! I went from ‘It’s some messed up stuff going on in China’ to ‘Are you freaking serious, Hobby Lobby is not considered an essential business?’ This is so surreal to me. I think a lot about how life will be once we are back up and running regularly.” – Jay Bowman
The sentiment of Jay’s first reaction is something that so much of us can relate to. The news went from being someone else’s problem to shaking the foundation of our entire lives. As if being the CEO of a growing business is not enough, Jay is a proud parent of three. So, one of the greatest challenges for her during this pandemic was immediately being thrust into the role of a homeschool teacher for her first-grader. One thing that homeschool has given her, is a new understanding of her patience threshold… any new homeschooling parents connecting to that part of her journey?
When I asked Jay, how she found peace and calm in the chaos, her answer was simple and powerful. “My faith in God keeps me mentally stable.” She misses going to church and socializing at work, but she leans heavily on her faith. Prayer is an important part of her daily routine, and something she recommends for everyone during this time of mass uncertainty. “Pray! I pray and plead the blood of Jesus over me and my family daily. That has been the only thing that has kept my anxiety down.”
Whatever your faith practice is, or however you embrace spirituality, finding peace from a higher source is one of the best ways to achieve that sense of calm you will need to get through this.
Jay’s Precious Cargo is all about self-care and pampering. She makes all her products by hand and has spent the past few years finding the perfect ingredients and formulas to offer high-quality products with high-quality ingredients for a reasonable price. She is constantly improving her product line and adding new products to her catalog. She is in the business of adjusting to the market to provide the best in self-care and pampering products. But how has the pandemic impacted business for Jay?
A Lesson about Communication
One of the most important things about the COVID-19 pandemic or any other crisis that may hit, is learning as many lessons that are offered. One of the things that frustrated Jay the most about the pandemic, was the misinformation and poor communication coming from experts. This is not a political issue for her, as much as a communication issue. Jay described the confusion, especially in the beginning about what we were dealing with and how concerned we should or should not be. The experts and doctors had conflicting reports. Eventually, she said she lost trust in what the experts were saying.
I’m not sure how the information pipeline could have been streamlined, but here is a lesson on how vital it is that communications be clear, concise, and consistent. As we prepare to move into the next phase of the COVID-19 season, we need to prepare for how we will communicate to our own customers, clients, employees, and partners in a way that engenders trust., As we move into a new way of doing business, we want these key stakeholders to move with us, not away from us.