Since the beginning of 2020, we have been following Morgan from Open Hands Creative on her journey as a business owner navigating the coronavirus pandemic.
Today we are checking in with Morgan one last time to hear what she has been up to and her plans for 2022.
Open Hands Creative is an art experience business in Perth WA that offers creative, eco-friendly workshops, immersive events, and community connections. Morgan strongly believes in bringing like-minded people together and forming an open community that gives back to our planet. When COVID-19 hit, she could no longer bring people together to learn and create, so she had to think of unusual ways for people to get creative together.
Some of the avenues she has explored during the COVID-19 restrictions included:
- Setting up an online Esty store to sell DIY kits for her customers to use at home.
- Creating the ‘30 Day Drawing Challenge’ to give her community an opportunity to engage from home. She was overwhelmed by the generosity of her clients from the ‘pay what you think’ pricing payment.
- Balancing the delivery of her online products and her face-to-face workshops to build resilience in her business and cashflow in case of future social restrictions.
Morgan’s COVID-19 experience was in Perth, WA and the uncertainty of the pandemic continues to keep Morgan on her toes. Read more about her plans for 2022 and how she is getting ready for WA borders to open to tourists.
2021 at Open Hands Creative
2021 was interesting, I was playing it month by month and tried not to plan too far ahead. My in-person art workshop sales changed from typically being booked well in advance to very last-minute purchases. When I advertised it, I would not get enough sales and then the week of the workshop, many people would purchase the workshop. The week of the event is usually when I work out whether I should go ahead with the workshop and whether I can break even. I felt a bit anxious when I did not get sales until the last minute. For example, one time I received 5 sales the day before the workshop! This was because of the uncertainty of the world, and people’s social lives are very up and the air as they have often been cancelled. So now they plan their weekend the night before.
Being a Small Business Owner During COVID-19 in 2022
I went into 2022 with the idea that Western Australia would open their borders to the rest of Australia and that this would negatively impact me. I had the idea that COVID19 has benefited me because there were no community cases here, and locals could not travel, so they were spending their money on more luxury things such as my art workshops. There is also the element of people getting scared when there are community cases, and they would not want to go out and go to workshops as much I was expecting this to impact my sales early this year.
As business owners, we always prepare for the worst, so I was expecting the worst! However, I did have people suggest that the tourists would come in and spend money at local businesses. In that case it would positively impact my sales. My marketing and my target market has always been local Perth people, so I expect as we open our border to the rest of the country and world, this will all have to change.
Working with Many Rivers
My business coach, Colin and I only have a meeting every three months or longer now. Otherwise, we communicate over email if I have any questions. Our conversations have changed from how to develop a business plan and set up my business and cash flow to asking for advice on how to handle my employees.
What do you hope to do next with Open Hands Creative?
I thought that my in-person workshops wouldn’t be as successful this year if the borders opened. I would like to open an online shop and be Australia’s biggest eco-friendly art shop. I have tested online stores before and created different DIY activities and found that this was quite successful for people who want to do a workshop from home. This online store will really be a safety net for my in-person workshop and add to my offerings.
Thanks, Morgan, for sharing your business journey. Your story will inspire people who are looking to take their next step towards creating their own business. If you would like to stay updated with Morgan’s business journey as a small business owner, follow Open Hands Creative on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Did you miss reading about Morgan’s journey? Check out the other Road to Recovery articles where we follow Morgan, Ming and Betty on their journey as business owners during COVID-19.
The Many Rivers Road to Recovery Series
Morgan was also featured in a blog by Google.org on ‘Celebrating the women entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific‘. In recognition of Women Entrepreneurship Day, Google.org celebrated the stories of four amazing women entrepreneurs across the Asia-Pacific Region.
Many Rivers is excited to continue to support Morgan on her business journey, wherever it might take her.
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