LaTricia Brown unveiled her new design and alteration studio, Trish B Stylin’, in January 2020. Three months later, she was questioning the fate of her business when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
With most in-person events on hold during the pandemic, Brown turned to social media, email and the web to keep her business alive.
“We might be out of business,” she said. “It would be significantly slower. We were able to ramp up so much.”
Many small businesses in Savannah followed a similar path as Brown, according to the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce.
“What we learned is adaptability,” Katina Wheeler, Vice President of the Chamber, said. “I think that our businesses learned to pivot very quickly, to adapt. I think that there were a lot of new trades and skills that were learned and I think businesses learned to push themselves beyond the limits that they originally thought they had.”
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said small businesses are the backbone of the city’s economy, and are forever changed by the pandemic.
“We’ll never go back to normal. Normal is gone,” Mayor Johnson said. “There is a new normal. For us, that’s using technology and leveraging technology to support our economy at all levels.
As more in-person events start to resume, Brown is getting back to her specialty of designing and altering gowns for weddings and galas. After seeing how technology pushed her business to a new level, she said she will continue to incorporate it into her business plan.
“A lot of what we do, it ends up being word of mouth,” she said. “But now we started to capitalize on what we could do with those online platforms. We had a client who got married in Chile, so it really opened up being able to market to people.”