As the owner of Ojai Lingerie I'd like to share about how COVID-19 affected my business and what I did to "pivot." I hope my story inspires others to keep smashing barriers and reaching new heights. ❤
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My life has been full of pivots, but none quite like what this year has brought. Sometimes you come face-to-face with obstacles/barriers so grand that your only option is to give up or bust right through them.
When I completed my business plan in 2018, I had just left a career as an Associate Director at a private school to pursue my dream of becoming a business owner. In the summer of 2019, I was able to realize my dream when I launched Ojai Lingerie.
When COVID-19 hit, businesses deemed non-essential were shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. At the same time, my lease was coming up for renewal in May, and, with my family and community in mind, I made the difficult decision to close my storefront.
My passion and purpose in business has always been to serve others, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do this without my brick and mortar. I struggled to reimagine my business without a physical space.
As the Black Lives Matter movement began gaining new traction, the spotlight turned to Black people, our voices, and experiences. With little to lose, and for the first time ever, I chose to be vulnerable and transparent and to speak freely about my business from my perspective as a Black woman. To my surprise, friends and strangers began to support and listen—bridging gaps with people I never thought would take the time to hear me.
I leaned into my mission and stopped apologizing for my decision to close my flagship shop. Rather than focusing on what I couldn't control, I chose to focus on how I could continue to uplift women. That's when my online business started to thrive.
When you need to make changes in order for your business to survive, you must do it with the courage of your convictions. Stand by your truths. Be a beacon for others. What I realize now is that I AM what makes my business so special and unique. My personal experience is something nobody else can replicate.
Ojai Lingerie is so much more than selling pretty underwear, and, by realizing this, I didn't have to change my products to stay in business. I simply dug deep and found the courage to turn up my mic and amplify my message. I believe the things closest to your heart, mind, and body should receive the utmost consideration and care.
Women deserve to feel and be empowered to shop consciously and feel beautiful just as they are. I believe in self-love and elevating the status of women everywhere—including my own elevation as a Black woman. I, Malory Taylor, am here to defy the odds while building bridges and fostering relationships that extend far beyond lingerie. Here’s to us, and to forging a better human experience for us all.
#representationmatters #amplifymelinatedvoices #blackbusinessowners