File This Under Things We Love To See - Two Small Businesses Forge Through the Pandemic
In March 2020, I was informed I'd be working from home for the rest of the week. I wasn't prepared for the "work from home situation" to be long-term. As a public-facing department, we'd be expected to have weekly meetings via video calls. I quickly noticed a problem. Most of my clothing was made for office or fashion events. Getting dressed in the mornings used to be the highlight of my day. I looked forward to beating my face with a cute makeup look, getting dressed up in my cute pencil, skirts, heels, or whatever inspired me that day, and wearing a fun hairstyle. I'd take a quick picture on the way to the car, and the office was my fashion show. Now, I had meetings sprinkled throughout the day, and I quickly realized I needed to expand my wardrobe.
I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible in this new normal. My child would now be taking virtual courses from home, which meant I was no longer packing lunches and running out the door in the morning. My day would be filled with interruptions. Fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, circle time with the teacher via Zoom, being the house nurse, Microsoft Teams calls with co-workers, on top of my other everyday duties.
I needed clothing that would allow grace for the "stuck at home" pounds I'd stacked on and clothing that would be comfortable when I was not on camera and let me get down to eye level with my toddler when she began to have a tantrum.
With all of this going on, I begin to reassess my Public Relations Consulting business, April Communicates. I needed time for myself. Through my business, I was a board member for the West 18th Street Fashion Show. Last year represented the twentieth season of production, and we'd decided to run the show as a film, "Summer In Hindsight." We were all so tired from a long season. As the Associate Producer and the Director of Communications, I also ran the Communications Campaign, this kept me busy. Beat down from so many lifestyle and regulation changes due to the pandemic, and so much loss and death around us -- it all just felt like a little too much. Planning a film with a scary virus we knew little about was complicated and somehow rewarding at the same time. We (my family) were barely leaving the house and the seasons seem to be drifting by.
As I contemplated giving April Communicates a break, a few prospective clients came my way. Since I work another job full-time and manage my business part-time, I am selective with my clients. Yet, there was one prospective client that caught my eye. In the thick of the pandemic, Jennifer Tierney wanted to launch right into creating a new business, Jeanne Nuage. It wasn't just her audacity that attracted me to take her on as a client. It was her well-constructed clothing line, the clothing that I'd been looking for. In preparation for the Jeanne Nuage photoshoot, she described the pieces for me and the clothing looked comfortable enough to get down and around in, but cute enough to look like I am in the office.
On the day of the photo/video shoot I'd planned for the new clothing line, one of our models arrived with her toddler, who was about the same age as my little one. It was perfect!
We were able to see this active mommy at work, modeling while taking care of her toddler. The clothing didn't restrict her at all.
I also had the chance to try on the comfortable clothing we were building a campaign around. The clothing felt so soft and comfortable that I decided to switch out of the form-fitting red dress I wore to the shoot into a black Jeanne Nuage piece.
My client was flattered, but I never take on clients that I don't believe in. I know this line will be successful because of Jennifer's grit and quality fabric and construction. Of course, I offered to purchase the outfit. It's now a part of my wardrobe.
I know this situation can't be unique to me. I am not the only woman out there who still wants to be cute around the house for their partner, meetings and still rock a functional outfit. You can check out Jeanne Nuage at https://jeannenuage.com.
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Upcoming Appearances -- Jeanne Nuage
Event: The UNATTENDED Fashion Show - Virtual Stream will be available this month (February 2020).
Event: Valentine’s Day Pop-Up - Saturday February 13, 10a-3p
Date and Time: Sunday, February 14, noon to 3:00 p.m.
Location: American Dance Center studios 11728 Quivira Rd, Overland Park KS 66210
Event: KCFW S/S '21 Virtual Streaming Coming April 2021