Salone cancels 2020 fair, a new COVID-19 small business impact calculator, and more - Business of Home

Salone cancels 2020 fair, a new COVID-19 small business impact calculator, and more - Business of Home


Salone cancels 2020 fair, a new COVID-19 small business impact calculator, and more - Business of Home

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 03:33 PM PDT

At Business of Home we're committed to following the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout on the design trade. We'll be collecting the most important stories here, in a—hopefully short-lived—regular feature. If your business is being affected or you have a tip, please drop us a line.

For a comprehensive list of industry cancellations and postponements, click here.
For small businesses looking for some helpful resources, click here.
For tips from PR pros about how to communicate during this time, click here.

SALONE DEL MOBILE CANCELS 2020 EDITION

In February, the organizers of Milan's design festival Salone del Mobile postponed the show's original spring dates to June 16. Yesterday, Italian financial newspaper Milano Finanza broke the news that the summer show would be canceled, and Salone would resume next year on April 13, 2021.

HOW MUCH WILL THE CORONAVIRUS COST YOUR BUSINESS?

Earlier this week, B2B e-commerce marketplace Faire unveiled a calculator that will allow small business owners to see the economic impact that a slowdown could have. "Last week, we surveyed more than 20,000 retailers and makers to hear how they have been impacted and how they are responding to the crisis," Faire co-founder and CEO Max Rhodes told BoH. "The most common response when we asked what retailers expected their business to look like over the next three months was, 'I don't know.' That demonstrated to us a real need for meaningful tools and resources to help people better understand the financial health of their businesses."

The tool is two-fold: First, users are prompted to input their finances before the virus disrupted business; then, they are asked to input those same details with the added measure of how the pandemic is currently affecting the business on a scale from "no loss in sales" to "shut down." The calculator also asks detailed financial questions, like the amount of cash on hand at the beginning of the month and set monthly expenditures like rent, insurance and utilities. "By entering any changes to your revenue and costs since the disruption occurred, the calculator will generate a financial status for your business," says Rhodes, who previously worked at financial startup Square. "It will provide your cash run rate as well as recommended actions you can take and resources you can deploy to help your business make it through this crisis."

The calculator is free and available to anyone, not just sellers on Faire. "Our mission is to provide the tools that will empower the local retailer, so the goal with this calculator is to support entrepreneurs and small businesses whether they are a current customer or not," says Rhodes, adding that thousands of calculations have already been made since the tool launched earlier this week. In a webinar that walked users through the application, Rhodes expressed hope that the government's stimulus bill would offer some relief to small businesses and that we could see an economic bounce-back similar to what China is experiencing now that it has begun reopening businesses. "We want to make sure that businesses are in good shape and ready to serve customers when we get through this," says Rhodes. "I'm really hopeful. They've figured it out in China and South Korea. I believe in this country and our ability to solve this." —Haley Chouinard

WE'RE ALL LIVE ON INSTAGRAM NOW

The design industry has caught wind of the power of Instagram Live—and what's not to love? In the words of The Vale London's Melinda Marquardt, "It's like people are right there in your living room." While social distancing is keeping us all physically apart, designers, publications and brands have been utilizing Instagram Live to connect intimately with more people than they could possibly see IRL in their pre-COVID-19 lives.

Design journalist Sophie Donelson began her conversation series "Big Books Small Talk" on March 21; Whitney Robinson of Elle Decor introduced "World Tour," a series of live interviews with industry personalities, this week; Food52 has been giving live cooking instructions, and its sister brand, Home52 has released a host of home organization videos. The live chats offer an immediate connection with design personalities across the pond, as well. London-based designer Ashley Hicks went live, charming viewers with a bit of British wit, while promoting his new book; Cabana's Mondadori Sartogo went live with Miguel Flores-Vianna to talk all things inspiration and travel.

Some may wish to use Instagram Live as a way to boost their brand in lieu of the spring markets, others are looking for a way to connect with the design community free of form: "Last week I started to notice a different vibe on Instagram, including from a lot of A-list 'grammers—a really loose and sincere tone to things," explains Donelson. "Watching Amanda Hesser's at-home cooking tutorials [on Food52's feed], she didn't overthink her approach. She had her teen daughter film her cooking in sweats. It felt sincere because it was sincere." Designer Breegan Jane invited her kids on camera to do a "show and tell," and Sara Gilbreath chatted with Young Huh about creative outlets for shelter-in-place, while the online design magazine Sight Unseen went live to rifle through some of the books that it looks to for inspiration. No matter how you spin it, Instagram Live is, well, live—and now designers' followers can tune in and catch a glimpse into the personalities (and living rooms) of the characters that color our corner of the world. —Marina Felix

THE ONE-DAY SHOWHOUSE

While the coronavirus has made rescheduling showhouses a guessing game for those who could push their dates, the Interior Design Society Charlotte Showhouse was not so lucky. The house, which opened its doors in the thick of early COVID-19 closures, was forced to promptly cancel tours and shut down just one day after its opening on March 14—a heartbreaking decision for everyone involved.

Salone cancels 2020 fair, a new COVID-19 small business impact calculator, and more

A rendering of a bedroom designed by Jennifer BrownCourtesy of IDS Charlotte

"There were two parts to it," explains Audrey Clawson, president of IDS Charlotte and one the showhouse's co-chairs. "On one hand, the designers knew it was the right thing to do, but on the other, this project has been under development for three years, with over 100 volunteers, 260 vendors, 45 designers—we knew [canceling] would be a huge disappointment to all parties involved. All of the people who did this work full-time, going above and beyond the call of duty." The money raised from the showhouse would have supported a range of charities; to ensure that those causes still receive the funding they need, IDS Charlotte launched an online platform where donations can be made until April 6. For the designers, the cancellation is a bitter pill. But their creations will see the light of day—the rooms were photographed and will appear in the June issue of Home Design & Decor magazine, to be followed by a video tour narrated by the house's builders and designers. —Marina Felix

CAFTANS IN THE TIME OF COVID

The design industry is meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic head-on, with an abundance of charitable initiatives popping up over the past week. Companies like Woodard, Kravet, Eastern Accents and more are donating fabric and converting their facilities to produce washable masks for health care workers; Serta Simmons Bedding (the parent company of Serta, Beautyrest and Tuft & Needle) has committed to donating 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and medical facilities; and the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has committed $10 million to COVID-19 relief, as well as beginning the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns.

Publicist Christina Juarez launched a charitable initiative as well—one designed to spark a little joy in the design community (while still maintaining a safe social distance). On Monday, Juarez took to Instagram to start the Caftan Challenge, inviting her peers to don their favorite flowy garment and post a selfie. For each photo tagged #caftansinthetimeofcorona, Juarez has pledged to donate a dollar to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in New York. "I'm a fashion girl at heart and I love caftans and collect them from vintage shops and on my travels," says Juarez. "I was tired of looking at myself sitting around in yoga clothes and missed dressing up. We are all in the design business where it's all about the beautiful things, but there is so little beauty during these crazy times. I wanted to give my design friends from around the globe a reason to get dressed, have a giggle, some glam and give back."

With two of Kips Bay's largest fundraisers having been affected by the pandemic (the President's Dinner was canceled and the annual showhouse postponed), Juarez felt the organization was the perfect recipient for the donations. When Bunny Williams posted her own #CaftanChallenge photo, her husband, John Rosselli, pledged to match Juarez's donations dollar for dollar, a commitment that father-daughter design duo Amanda and Barry Lantz have also made. The challenge currently has more than 500 posts on Instagram, with Juarez hoping to reach 1,000 by Sunday, the last day of the event. "It's been super fun and we're still going full speed ahead!" —Haley Chouinard

LATEST NEWS

  • New York City halts all construction. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that nonessential construction in New York City would cease. "Anything that is not directly part of the essential work of fighting coronavirus and the essential work of keeping the city running and the state running—any construction that is not about the public good is going to end," the mayor said. Essential construction projects, those that impact health care and infrastructure, which do continue must implement social distancing practices, with violators subject to $10,000 fines.
  • Atlanta design centers shut down. In compliance with the executive order issued by the City of Atlanta on March 23, the IMC announced that it would temporarily close AmericasMart Atlanta, the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart and the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
  • Relief for tenants. The Federal Housing Finance Authority has announced that landlords may be allowed to fall behind in mortgage payments in exchange for not evicting tenants who fall behind on rent.
  • Dyson invents a ventilator. British inventor James Dyson (maybe you own one of his vacuums?) has designed a ventilator—it took him 10 days. His company's factories are currently producing 15,000 units to aid Britain's efforts to treat coronavirus patients.
  • Herman Miller ceases operations. Herman Miller has suspended its manufacturing operations in Michigan, until at least April 13. The company, which employs more than 8,000 worldwide, has announced a plan to pay workers during the shutdown.

IN MEMORIAM

It was announced that the internationally admired architect and critic Michael Sorkin has died at age 71 due to health complications caused by the coronavirus. His absence has spurred a series of warm tributes from the architecture and design community. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman wrote in a tweet, "He was so many things. He was a supremely gifted, astute and acerbic writer. He wrote with moral force about big ideas and about the granular experience of life at the level of the street." Edwin Heathcote, the Financial Times's architecture correspondent, described Sorkin as a "fierce and brilliant critic, perhaps the best."

CALENDAR UPDATES

  • The International Textile Alliance announced earlier this week that it would reschedule its spring Showtime Market to coincide with the new dates for High Point Market. Now, from June 12 to 16, designers traveling to North Carolina can support both events.
  • The Spring Decorative Antiques Fair announced the cancellation of its 2020 fair in London's Battersea Park, the first in the event's 35-year history. The event will return for its Autumn edition in September.
  • Field + Supply made the decision to postpone its spring market—the event will now run from July 17 to 19 at Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, New York.

Homepage image: Shutterstock

Not all entrepreneurs are 30-year-old guys - TechCrunch

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 07:16 AM PDT

All co-working isn't WeWork. And not all entrepreneurs are 30-year-old guys.

I know this well, having built my first startup in the mid-1980s after a potential employer said women wouldn't be accepted in technical sales. Within five years, their large computer manufacturing business was gone, but we were selling our products around the world.

About twelve years ago, my partner and I saw how the workplace was changing as laptops and WiFi allowed people to work anywhere. At the same time, endless commutes and long office hours were separating families, generating excess CO2 emissions and making work-life balance almost impossible.

We understood that enabling people to work close to home, rather than in their home, could address these issues while reducing isolation and distractions. We could apply our startup, manufacturing, building and operations backgrounds to this problem to develop automated, welcoming workspace centers in neighborhoods and small-town cores, and we could make this replicable.

This was 2008 — nearly a decade before Masayoshi Son plowed billions into WeWork with the directive to be crazier, go bigger. Our model was very different from WeWork's model of large centers in large cities that primarily targeted large corporations. It was more than a real estate play and with an interesting problem to solve: community focused centers were valuable to regular people, but could these be created sustainably and profitably over the long term?

We thought it could. So we built it.

The crux of what we developed was smaller, replicable, technologically-enabled and automated centers, outside big cities, that could meet the needs of their members and do it profitably and with minimal staffing. We developed our co-working management software, Satellite Deskworks, along with our now patented tracking and automation, to run any type of shared use center, and to do it simply, intuitively, and comprehensively.

I do not get funded. Several guys — without cynicism — suggested that I get a 30-year-old front man.

With the model proven, we began working on funding to scale the enterprise. The business plan, slide deck and pro forma were written. The pitches started, all the while running and growing the business from personal and generated funds. More pitches. And more pitches. Clearly we weren't making it interesting enough. Or it was too early. Or the people with funds didn't understand how important this was for the vast majority of workers and their local communities. Or perhaps there was just something wrong with us, since the business was already working.

Some of the pitch meetings felt like walking through the looking glass: One VC group provided us with an internal sponsor who advised us to only talk about software. Then his associate took over and said that advice was all wrong: our strength was in the combination of real-world and software.

On pitch day, before our presentation, a single-function app was pitched — just an idea, no product. It got funded. Subsequently, even though we had three profitable centers and several software clients, I was told that we weren't far enough along to validate the market. Another group declined to fund us, then a year later asked me back as an expert on co-working to explain this emerging industry to them. But, again, no funds were forthcoming.

Over and over again, I'd be told that the presentation was spot-on, and yet, no funds.

I'm an older woman. I got my undergraduate degree at 43 years old and a masters at 46. I had started, run and sold my first startup to a large multinational by the time I was 40. I am good at what I do; I build and scale businesses.

Another group declined to fund us, then a year later asked me back, as an expert on co-working, to explain this newly emerging industry to them.

But I do not get funded.

This is not a complaint. This is a fact. I understand what happened at those pitches. Despite our scalable, successful business model, the decision makers were trying to gauge what others at the table would do, how they would perceive me. And the double-whammy of being older and a woman was a bridge too far.

Like picking at a scab, I talk to people knowledgeable in venture who nod their heads at the idea that I'd have trouble getting funded, no matter how well the model worked or the software functioned.

Several guys — without cynicism — suggested that I get a 30-year-old front man. But instead, I focused on growing my business organically, perhaps missing the opportunity to truly scale something that communities of all sizes need.

There is a serious flaw in how businesses are funded, and it is the same discussion we had twenty and thirty years ago about who was at the table in managing businesses.

Vibrant, innovative concepts and businesses are frequently started by people who aren't happy with their options inside the box of the corporate world. 45% of small business owners are from minority ethnic groups. Women start businesses at twice the rate of men, yet female founders got 2% of VC dollars in 2017. Black women are the most educated group in the U.S., yet they receive about 0.2% of VC funding.

Older founders are seen as less dynamic, less adventurous, while the reality is that half the startups in the U.S. are by people over 50 — and older entrepreneurs are actually more likely to succeed.

Despite the fact that many acknowledge this as a problem, the solutions seem elusive. But they shouldn't be. Corporations are stronger because of bringing diversity to boards, and the VC model would be stronger by employing many of the same tactics. The likelihood that funded startups will succeed increases by appealing to a broader audience, and the best way to do that is to fund a broader segment of entrepreneurs. Although these shouldn't be new concepts, let me propose a few ideas:

Set up and support funds at an intermediate level. There is a crying need for funding in the $1 million – $3 million range, particularly for women- and minority-owned businesses. We know how to successfully bootstrap, but however good we are, it takes investment to scale.

If you measure it, you get it. Set up metrics. 10% of your board will be women within a year, 30% within three years, and 50% within six years. Set up similar metrics for ethnic and racial diversity. Set a goal for the percentage of your portfolio that will be minority- and women-owned startups each year over the next five years. And measure the performance of these startups against the past portfolio.

Increase the diversity of VC management and boards. By including decision-makers at the table from a broad range of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and genders, the industry should get to a more diverse portfolio with a greater likelihood of overall success.

Get to critical mass. Token diversity accomplishes little. You need enough people to truly provide a voice and echo. It's easy to ignore a single voice from a different perspective. Research has shown that for a group to even hear a woman's voice in a meeting at least 30% of that group needs to be women.

So, yes, I walk into the VC pitch rooms, and I know I'm not walking out with funding. No one is going to wire me a generous seed round and tell me to go break things.

Because of who I am and how this particular world perceives me, I have to build a business that works, that stands on its own from the beginning. This is not the end of the world. Businesses should work.

But the VC model needs to work, too.

The Milpitas Beat is offering free advertising to small business owners - The Milpitas Beat

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 10:25 AM PDT

As a way of supporting small business owners in our community, The Milpitas Beat is offering free advertising to all Milpitas businesses, starting March 30.

We're extending this offer for as long as the shelter-in-place order lasts.

We know that our small business owners are feeling the impact brought on by the coronavirus crisis. As small business owners ourselves, we know what you're experiencing and want to do whatever we can to offer support during this challenging time.

If you have a small business in Milpitas, please send an email to take advantage of the free advertising we're offering.

The email address is: [email protected]

And if you have ideas for any other way we can be of service, please let us know.

Previous articleCoronavirus news: 51% of small business owners say they won't survive beyond 0-3 months

Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women's empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat's founder.

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