Small Businesses Flourish Amid Coronavirus Quarantine

Nayeli Delatorre
Under the Sun
Published in
5 min readNov 19, 2020

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In the corner of a small, dim room is a desk containing keychain rings, silicon molds, gallons of resin, and an air-purifying respirator. Wearing a grey oversized hoodie, and with the window cracked just a bit to allow the crisp evening breeze to slip into the room, Ashley Diaz pulls her hair into a bun to start on the custom orders she has received for the week.

Based in the San Gabriel Valley just east of the city of Los Angeles, the 21-year-old started her own small business in early April, shortly after the nation shut down due to Coronavirus. In a time where many were advised to stay home, she made an extra room in her house as a startup to flourish her creativity into a business.

The entire world is experiencing an unprecedented global health crisis with stay-at-home orders, face mask mandates and forced closures of nonessential businesses. Due to these closures the U.S. economy’s GDP fell by 31.4%, numbers not seen since the Great Depression. However, even while the Coronavirus pandemic has caused the economy to plummet, there has been one positive effect; the increase of young entrepreneurs.

In May 2020 there were 20.5 million unemployed Americans, an increase of more than 14 million just from February. The rise in the number of unemployed people due to COVID-19 led others to find a new means for income in order to keep up with financial obligations. With no in-person teaching and limited options for social events due to months of social isolation, many of those either working from home or not working at all encountered an influx of time on their hands. This is when younger entrepreneurs started looking for ways to use their talents and creativity to make money during such harsh economic times.

RESIN BY ASH

Photo on the left is a portrait of Ashley Diaz. Photo on the right is her bestseller resin keychains.

“I was really strict on myself and minimized the amount of times I would go out; typically only to walk my dog or grab take-out food,” says Ashley.

She explains how the extra time allowed her to explore her creativity by creating resin art and utilizing it as a small business on Instagram. With limited options for entertainment, many people turned to social media as a way to pass time. Ashley saw this as an opportunity to market her new products.

Using a two-component system of resin and hardener and mixing them together results in a chemical reaction that ultimately turns liquid resin into a solid plastic. With resin, one can create art that illuminates and adds depth with color pigments or other additives. At almost 2,000 followers on @RESINBYASH, Ashley has showcased her many products from keychains, coasters, pop-sockets, ashtrays and much more.

“Honestly, if it wasn’t for quarantine I don’t think I would have ever had the time to explore my creative side and this business would have probably never happened,” says Ashley. As one of the millions of Americans who were unemployed as a result of the pandemic, Ashley is thankful for her customers across the nation who have supported her small business during economic hardships.

During quarantine when many people and small businesses were suffering the most, consumers who were able to spend thought twice about where to put their money. Many, like Jennifer Nguyen, decided to spend their money locally.

“On my Instagram I saw a lot of my followers and locals start businesses selling food, pastries, and customizable stuff like cups,” Jennifer says. Any opportunity she could, she would purchase from small businesses around her community.

Both are photos of the purchases Jennifer has made to support small businesses created by youth that arose during the start of the pandemic.

On Monday, Nov. 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, ordered California to close all indoor operations for many nonessential businesses like hair salons, barbershops, fitness centers, places of worship, malls and personal care services. The order came shortly after the health department closed a Downtown L.A. clothing factory, Los Angeles Apparel, after 300 of its employees got infected with the Coronavirus.

That same afternoon, the County of Los Angeles directed residents to a state site to help people understand the difference between the “essential workforce” sector and “non-critical” sector. These statewide closures were cited with the rising cases and hospitalization of COVID-19 across 30 different counties.

“Since my mother who worked at a nail salon fell under the “non-critical” sector she ended up unemployed. Luckily I still had my job throughout quarantine and was able to help my parents financially through my source of income,” states Jennifer.

Although her mom is now working again, the hours and tip wages are not the same as before. Fewer people are going to the nail salon and many former customers started going to other locations who opened earlier during the pandemic.

The future for many businesses is still uncertain as COVID-19 continues to rise in Los Angeles County specifically. That’s why many of these at-home small businesses that many of the younger generations started up are great to have even as a side hustle. By working for themselves these individuals are allowed to take control of their source of income.

The uncertainty of one’s employers laying them off or cutting their hours led many individuals to take this opportunity to create a start up in something they’re passionate about.

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