A Candid Conversation About the Coronavirus with Jane Dagmi

Episode #129 the Wingnut Social Podcast

In this special bonus episode of the Wingnut Social podcast, Jane Dagmi—the Editor in Chief of Designer’s Today—joins Natalie and Darla to talk about surviving COVID-19. Listen to the whole episode for a discussion about High Point Market, supporting small businesses, and how to operate a design business during social distancing protocols. 

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [2:32] Jane Dagmi shares how Designer’s Today is moving forward
  • [6:03] How to mitigate financial loss from businesses closing
  • [8:50] How to help vendors and showrooms impacted
  • [11:13] Take the time to polish your social media
  • [13:03] Use the technology tools available to you
  • [15:24] Develop a strategic plan for moving forward
  • [17:37] Ideas for commercial designers
  • [22:55] How to keep yourself and your client’s safe
  • [29:20] How the Coronavirus will impact High Point Market
  • [37:38] What up Wingnut round!
  • [41:00] How to handle your social media during this crisis

Connect with Jane Dagmi

Resources & People Mentioned

Keep yourself and your client’s safe

The ladies agree that technology is a life-saver—email, phone calls, zoom, and virtual tours make this uncertain time manageable. Take advantage of the tools available to you. If your client doesn’t feel comfortable meeting in person, do a zoom meeting. Do a consultation over FaceTime. If you do still meet in-person, you must do things differently to protect each other. 

Darla tries to lighten the mood with humor. She jokes that she usually greets potential clients with a kiss and a hug—but for now, she’ll give them a virtual fist-bump (with the disclaimer that down the road they’ll get a good hug). Wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, and always leave the ball in the client’s court. Even if you’re comfortable continuing with a meeting, they may not be. It’s okay to reschedule or switch to a virtual meeting. 

A fellow designer, Shannon Ggem, started sending her clients an email stating how she’s carrying on her business during the pandemic. She even goes so far as to let them know that she travels directly from her home to theirs, outlines what she brings with her, and lets them know that it’s all been disinfected regularly. While it is a very detailed option, something simple and straightforward outlining precautions you’re taking can help reassure your clients. 

Tips for your business—and how to support each other’s

Many people are now working from home with their children in tow as schools and businesses are closing. Darla and Natalie point out that it can be a great time to spend quality time with your family. You could also take a design class, complete a certification, or perhaps finish editing a podcast episode you’ve been working on.

Natalie and Darla also recommend taking this time to polish your social media. Double-down on your social and get your brand out there, so that you haven’t lost steam when the pandemic dies down. You could even double your marketing expenditure or launch an e-design program. 

Many small businesses will find themselves struggling during this trying time. With the postponement of the High Point Market—a 6.7 billion-dollar industry—many vendors and showrooms were left high and dry. Natalie points out that you should try and find local

showrooms or small businesses that carry what may have been featured at High Point and purchase from them. 

If you’re struggling to navigate the sudden change (or are a baby designer that’s just launching their career) don’t be afraid to reach out to established designers and ask for help. Seek out advice—and listen to the whole podcast for more ideas. 

Connect With Darla & Wingnut Social

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