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For all wondering, here’s an update on what’s going on here at the Otis James studio… The theme of the last couple weeks seems to be uncertainty. COVID-19 has forced most folks to face tough questions as life changes radically for the unforeseeable future. My family was somewhat fortunate in the time of social distancing in that most of our work was already done at home. My studio is in our basement, and my girlfriend does remote work already. I do have a part-time job that I most likely won’t be going to for several weeks. The main disruption for us is lack of child care now. So finding adequate time to work while taking good care of little Arlo 100% of the time is our biggest challenge currently. Luckily, time spent with him is a wonderful gift, so we can’t complain too much about that. :)

Because my studio is already at home, I don’t have a retail location anymore, and I don’t have any employees currently, there is not much disruption to my operation other than watching my son. I did have to cancel a pop-up in Charleston this Friday that made me very sad. It was going to be the grand opening party for my friends over at J. Stark in their new location on King St. Once the dust settles on this necessary social distancing and they feel ok to reopen their shop, we’re going to get a pop-up back on the books. It’s something I’m eagerly looking forward to. In the meantime, I will be working on getting caught up on all the custom orders that came in during my promotion. It was quite a bit, so my order list is long. I’m working on breaking up the load to a weekly schedule, as I will also be working on creating inventory to sell. I will try to reach out to folks with outstanding orders to let you know when I have your cap scheduled. I appreciate everyone’s patience through all of this. The custom cap-making process is something that can’t really be rushed.

As many of you are probably already experiencing, this virus is creating some major disruptions in people’s lives. Folks who rely on revenue from restaurant and retail work are out of wages. Small businesses, especially, are going to be hit hard as people can’t go out. Thankfully, online business is able to keep going without disruption. I will continue to sell online and put out new product each week or two while I clear out my custom order queue. I know some folks will probably be feeling some pinch during this unprecedented time, but I hope most folks are able to figure out ways to ride out this storm. My family and I will still be relying on my business for a fair portion of our income, so I am hoping that everyone won’t be closing up their wallets and purses right now. Margins are tight. Small businesses like mine need your support, if you’re able.

Through this crazy time that this virus has thrust us into, I find a lot of reasons to find hope and see the good in humanity. One only needs to do a little searching on social media or the internet to see beautiful examples of solidarity and community in the United States and around the world, even where people are in lockdown. It’s on all of us to do our parts to protect those who are most vulnerable by keeping to ourselves for a little while. I imagine for some folks this isolation will be much tougher than for most of us. While the swirling uncertainty probably touches the majority of people, or will as this ticks on, I think most of us will come out of this just fine. My heart goes out to those who are most vulnerable during this time. If there is someone you can help in any way right now, do what you can. If there is one great lesson this virus can teach us, it’s that we’re all in this together. We are all interconnected, from our closest friends and family members to all the folks we’ll never meet on the other side of the world.