This composite photo shows Maryl Facura (left), co-founder of Fakura clothing line; Rachel Carrasco-Strudwick (center), founder of Rachel Strudwick experience curators; and Natasha Moor (right), founder of Natasha Moor Cosmetics.
Maryl Facura, Rachel Carraso-Strudwick, Natasha Moor/Released
Entrepreneurs adapt to survive amid COVID-19 pandemic
(Philstar.com) - July 26, 2020 - 11:03am

MANILA, Philippines — As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses find a way to adjust to the so-called new normal.

To date, more than 15 million have been infected by the infectious virus around the world while several countries race to find both medicines and vaccines for the pandemic.

Businesses have to adapt — by going online, for example — to survive the coronavirus pandemic due to health protocols and restrictions on movement.

Three entrepreneurs shared their experiences on how the imposed lockdowns affected their work and how to move forward given the current situation.

'Bizarre transformation'

Filipina entrepreneur Maryl Facura, co-founder of Fakura clothing line, sees a "bizarre transformation" in the fashion industry post-pandemic.

"Broadly speaking, for us to proceed with the new normal, adaptability and innovation is our resilience for this crisis — as no one can truly tell yet what exactly the 'new normal' looks like," Facura said in an online interview with Philstar.com.

Noting that some brands have re-structured their operational models to survive, Facura said the fashion industry is one of the hardest-hit businesses during the pandemic as it highly relies on in-store retail.

Fortunately for Fakura, which specializes in one-piece women's clothing, it was purposely built as online store to reach customers globally.

The online clothing line actually released a new collection in February, not knowing that a global lockdown would be imposed a month after.

"True enough, our business has been affected somehow due to cutting back on spending brought by this crisis," Facura said.

Facura's team, however, was quick to adapt its theme to reflect the situation, which was dedicated toward sustainability in a way that "every piece resonates with the vital basics of life."

"Moving forward, we will endure to adapt but hold to our brand's DNA and purpose by not trying to change everything," Facura said.

'Activate, adapt'

For Filipina entrepreneur Rachel Carrasco-Strudwick, digital was never a focus for her consultancy business, which us most mostly either through retainer contracts or per project basis.

Strudwick, who is based in Singapore, runs a marketing consultancy named after herself. They label themselves as "experience curators" who focus on luxury and lifestyle brands.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected her consultancy work as project lined up for the year had to be on hold as cases in Singapore rose by late January.

"Businesses have been slowing down since then. On top of that, we deal with a lot of luxury and lifestyle brands and they rely on in-store traffic and intimate experiences or gatherings to gain sales," Strudwick told Philstar.com.

Strudwick described the "quiet time" as an opportunity for her team to rethink and re-strategize on how to move on with the business.

The Singapore-based entrepreneur admitted that she initially thought they should just "ride out" the pandemic but later on realized that they would have to adapt to the "new normal."

"We have been thinking of how we can use digital as a tool to complement home experiences or modified activations," Strudwick said.

"At the end of the day, clients still have numbers to hit and we want to help them achieve that. When the markets go live again (and it will go live again), they will be ready and equipped and we as a business, will be ready too," she added.

'Survivor'

Indian entrepreneur Natasha Moor, who lived in the Philippines for a while, was actually infected by the virus, rendering her incapable of physically working as she had to be isolated in a hospital room.

Hong Kong-based Moor, initially a makeup artist, launched her self-named cosmetic brand — Natasha Moor Cosmetics — on Sephora, which has a market in Southeast Asia.

"After my 20th day in the hospital I realized that instead of being upset and feeling like my world was falling apart, I decided to embrace this 'down time' that I was given," Moor said in an online interview with Philstar.com. She was on medication for 14 days but received her negative result 34 days later.

Moor added that she also wanted to take her mind off the situation and help improve her company during the coronavirus crisis.

Admitting that she herself was confused and lost, Moor decided to go public on her condition to help raise awareness about the virus, noting that some people as not taking the pandemic seriously.

"I also saw that people weren't taking this as serious as they should, especially kids with the lock down rules so I thought 'd use my voice for the greater good and actually share my story while at the same time encourage people to stay home and take this virus seriously," Moor said.

During the pandemic, Natasha Moor Cosmetics was still able to release its products through Sephora's online stores in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"We may have been hit by a pandemic but we know we're coming out of this storm with a bang as survivors," Moor concluded. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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