By ALEXANDRA FRANCISCO The incredible women in our lives deserve more recognition than they get. From bold leaders and family members to entrepreneurs and neighbors - I'm proud to be part of the strong community of women business owners here in Cranston.
The incredible women in our lives deserve more recognition than they get. From bold leaders and family members to entrepreneurs and neighbors – I’m proud to be part of the strong community of women business owners here in Cranston. I’m even more proud to see our continued resiliency, leading to unwavering support from many customers and visitors from our city and beyond.
Thinking ahead to Business Women’s Day this month, I can’t help but reflect back on the hurdles and challenges small businesses had to overcome over the last year and half to get here. Many of us were shut down without any ability to operate or serve our clients for some time, then re-opened under a dramatically shifted business climate. We then had only a few short months of “normalcy” before COVID numbers climbed again, bringing new challenges for myself, and I’m sure, many of my fellow woman entrepreneurs.
Through this uncertainty, I continue to have a growing sense of gratitude for the online connections I’ve been able to cultivate in this community despite the shutdowns. Social media – a necessary tool for my business growth – is the perfect example of that. Through my Instagram page, I’ve been able to quickly reach and communicate openly with my clients about new business safety policies, protocols, and shifts in services. And the free analytics within Instagram for business owners help me determine what content is the most useful and relevant to my clients and followers, and when I can more likely reach them. Not only have I grown my connections with my clients and community outside of our in-person time, I’ve also been able to deepen my connections with nearby fellow business owners through this platform.
And as I spend time on social media, it’s become increasingly clear that small, woman-owned businesses across our city and state were hit especially hard by this pandemic – dramatically impacting service sectors, food service, and other customer-facing businesses. As COVID challenges our community in new ways, I want to share some ways I plan to continue supporting my fellow woman business owners locally, and I encourage you to join me.
First, if you’re able to pay a visit to some of your favorite woman-owned businesses in-person, please do. Be patient as many of us may be reinstituting more safety protocols, like mask wearing or social distancing. This is a point of anxiety for many of us as we all continue to keep everyone’s safety top of mind while needing to make important judgement calls regarding our business. Your support during this time by making an appointment or visiting is a reminder of why we’re here in the first place.
We have outstanding businesses owned and run here in Pawtuxet Village and nearby Edgewood by such inspiring women, from Beans & Buns, to Haven Fitness, to Essence Yoga, to the Veiled Crow, to Wild Red Salon, and so many more. If I can’t visit them in person, I plan to engage with them on social media, share more of their content, and use my social media platforms to recommend them to my clients and friends who walk through my door. Now is the time for us to openly support our local gems.
Lastly, I’m working hard to keep an open mind with more patience as we all navigate the end of summer into the fall. It’s a challenging time of change for many seasonal businesses and families as new routines come into play. Last year, we saw some hard-working, local small businesses shut their doors this time of year for good, but I feel a renewed sense of hope as many remain and new ones open.
Today, let’s all re-commit to supporting our local woman-owned businesses in both small and big ways. Many business owners are wearing multiple hats right now – balancing their business and personal responsibilities – and our community can be the encouragement an entrepreneur needs to keep going.
Alexandra Francisco is a Master Esthetician and owner of The Wax Queen in Pawtuxet Village.