By thinking outside the box and helping their communities, these women are not only surviving, but thriving.
By Tsivya Fox
Coronavirus regulations have put a damper on many lives and businesses. However, some business operators have found ways to think outside of the box not only to continue running their small businesses but also to bring joy, fun and unity to others during these challenging times.
Jesica Myers moved to Israel from Canada in 2002. After a career in writing and marketing, she decided to pave a fresh path and opened a “paint your own ceramics” shop called KeramiKli in the centrally located city of Beit Shemesh.
“I’m a single mother who needs to support my family,” Myers told United with Israel (UWI). “I opened KeramiKli exactly one year ago, during Passover.”
What was a popular “in shop” activity became an impossibility due to coronavirus regulations forbidding gatherings or even leaving one’s home.
“I had to think how to save my business and decided to make it an ‘in home’ activity,” explained Myers. “I’m now a very, very busy one-woman show. I offer take-home kits that include all the products one needs to create a beautiful item. I pack up and do home deliveries of the materials, pick everything up when the individual or family has finished, fire the items and return the projects back…
“With so many people out of work or struggling, I offer many discounts to those in need,” she said. “I created special bar or bat mitzvah and bride-and-groom painting kits that I gift to those who cannot hold their celebrations due to coronavirus lockdowns. I cannot compensate for the cancellation of their events, but I can bring them some joy. Just because their party was cancelled doesn’t mean the celebration has to be.”
Myers also raises the spirits of those who have lost loved ones over the past few months by giving them art projects, with special consideration to single-parent homes. “Painting a ceramic piece doesn’t change the world,” she said. “But, it does provide entertainment and bonding and puts a smile on a person’s face, even for a bit.”
She is grateful for the outpouring of support she receives from communities at large. “Some of the kids have signed their projects with ‘Corona Pandemic 2020,’” she told UWI. “I guess when we look back at this time it will carry with it a bit of a badge of honor.”
If You Can’t Tour Israel, Israel Will Come to You
Nina Brenner moved to Israel from the US in 2010. Four years ago she started “Paint Party Events Israel,” a group activity that doesn’t require previous painting experience. Like many others, she found herself without a livelihood when coronavirus struck.
Brenner now runs her business virtually, both within Israel and globally. “Had I known the great need for virtual classes I would have done this long ago,” she told UWI. “Some people gather their families for a fun activity, and others put their kids to bed and then join the party.”
Participants either get the needed supplies delivered to their homes or order them from a local art-supply store that delivers. She offers a variety of pictures for painting and has added an extensive line of Israeli-themed pieces since touring Israel became an impossibility due to coronavirus.
“Traditionally, the Passover season is a particularly auspicious time for both residents and tourists to travel around Israel,” she said. “I decided to help people feel a bit like they were out and about in Israel. It’s really important to have people still feel they can enjoy the country and what it has to offer even from their own homes.”
Brenner not only incorporates painting at her parties, but also movement, confidence boosting and self-esteem building. “It’s art classes with the twist of being in a very supportive and positive environment,” she said. “These are difficult times when people may not be feeling so positive. I’m grateful that I am able to provide a bit of a get-away from the challenges surrounding us.”
Corona Can’t Stop a Community Business
“I know these families and have watched their kids grow through the years. I want them to be happy, especially during these hard times,” Farrah Dobuler, founder of “It’s My Party,” a full service event business, told UWI. “I’ve been supplying balloons, fun activities and event guidance for their birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs and engagement parties for years. Coronavirus wasn’t going to stop me. I just had to think out of the box of ways to keep things going under the new regulations.”
Dobuler, who moved to Israel from the US in 2010, was fortunate that her business caters to residents in her community of Modiin in central Israel. “The travel restrictions would have killed my business,” she explained. “Within a week of the lockdown, I restructured by thinking about the things I can still offer people to continue having fun as a family and provide a festive atmosphere even at home.”
She immediately sent out messages through social media platforms and created special prices for deliveries within peoples’ budgets. In order to stay within the health ministry’s instructions, she personally delivers everything from cotton candy machines to balloons.
“Clients meet me on the street and take what they ordered or I leave it on the street and they come and get it,” she said. “We maintain social distance while I maintain my business.”