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Philadelphia Business Transitions Into Digital Economy Due to Pandemic

COVID-19 has granted Snapdragon Flowers a second chance in translating their in-person business into the digital economy. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has many businesses making a technological dip into online business, but can most afford it? The most affected has been the small business, especially those in Black and Brown communities. 

McKinsey & Company reported, “The pandemic contributed to tipping 41 percent of Black-owned US businesses into closure from February to April 2020. More than 50 percent of the owners of surviving Black businesses surveyed in May reported being very or extremely concerned about the viability of their businesses.”

Tolani Lawrence-Lightfoot, Photo Courtesy Snapdragon Flowers

CEO, Tolani Lawerance-Lightfoot began Snapdragon Flowers in 2015. As a previous wedding designer, she realized her passion for color theory and began her work. Her love of floristry and turning the art of flowers into a business became a reality. Subsequently, COVID-19 has put a temporary hold on that. Lightfoot still is standing strong and has made a strong, impressive comeback for her business into the digital economy. Still, it’s been an uphill battle handling a business in a pandemic

On battling the post-pandemic business realm: “That was hard because it did feel like a hit. People haven’t been able to see their loved ones, face to face, so flowers became a way to convey their love. I am so happy I can convey these messages and past messages between people.” 

On shifting to the digital economy: “I’m not good at social media at all, I feel like generationally I kind of missed it by a tiny bit. I really had to get comfortable with doing social media and I had to get comfortable with being communicative with consumers. I did that myself, that comes from the graphic design background. Through COVID-19 that had really saved me. But I don’t enjoy that aspect that it’s been hard, moving from storefront to a digital world.” 

On selling flowers digitally: “We have a little photo area in the studio, white background and all of that nice stuff. We oftentimes have a pick of the day and the occasional pick of the day bouquet will come out amazingly. We might put that on sale online that day.” 

The UNCTAD reported, “Businesses and consumers increasingly “went digital”, providing and purchasing more goods and services online, raising e-commerce’s share of global retail trade from 14% in 2019 to about 17% in 2020.”  Lightfoot hopes to continue to run her business in 2021, as her sales have increased since the pandemic has occurred. 

“I’m going to continue Snapdragon Flowers for as long as I can, but for right now we are definitely looking for a smaller shop to work out of to keep empowering and employing people from the community,” Lightfoot said. 

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Aquil Starks Jr

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