Of all the businesses slammed by COVID-19, it’s hard to imagine one worse than event planning.
For 15 years, Susie Blumenfeld built Pink House Productions into one of the area’s go-to firms. Weddings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, birthdays and anniversaries — if you could celebrate it, Susie and her staff would help you celebrate it even better.
When the coronavirus swept through though, business instantly stopped. First, March and April events were postponed to June. Then they were pushed back to November. Now there’s little until 2021.
Pink House Productions was all about people. While other event planners began offering Zoom or drive-by parties, Susie resisted.
“I have the best clients in the world. I didn’t want to cheapen the integrity of what I do,” she says.
But bills don’t pay themselves. So the party planner pivoted. She now picks the perfect gifts, and personalizes them.
“I’m 58,” Susie says. “My friends are retiring, and moving to Boca. I’m starting a new business.
“Clients always trusted us with their mitzvahs, birthdays and weddings. Now they trust us with ‘contactless shopping.’ I text them photos; we gift-wrap and ship — technology is great.”
Susie has always supported women-owned businesses. She shares the stories of 2 friends, who also were severely impacted by COVID.
Shari Goldstein is a speech pathologist. She too loves her work. And she too has relied on face-to-face contact. It’s important to see how a child’s lips and mouth move, in order to help.
But Shari has moved her business online. She conducts sessions by video now. It’s different — but she’s adapted.
“She could have packed it in too,” Shari says. “She didn’t. She’s too passionate about what she does.”
As with Susie, trust is crucial. “You trusted her with your kids in person. Now you trust her over the computer with your 2-year-old.”
We don’t always think of nutrition as a personal field. Yet, Susie asks, “what is a more sensitive topic that weight loss or health, for you and your family?”
During the pandemic, her friend Robin Barrie Kaiden has added an app and link to her website, allowing clients to communicate virtually.
“I’m impressed with my friends,” Susie says. “Their ingenuity is amazing.”
As for herself, she notes, “A much as I want my business to go back, I can’t do it before everyone is ready. I love event planning, but I love this too. I have to look forward and be positive. I hate negativity.”
Besides, she says, “look at the real estate market. Lots of people are moving to new houses. They all need housewarming gifts!”