The Real Reasons to Push On in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic
When COVID-19 hit, I was wondering what on earth we would do as a company to survive. In fifteen years, we have never had a lay off and I could not stomach the thought of such a thing now. I pulled the team together and told them we would find a way to make it through – one way or another!
I have thirty-five employees, many of whom are family members working together for Enfusia. In one instance, we have four people from the same family working here. If I were to furlough them, then what would have become of this family? In fact, what would become of any of the families were we to furlough them? I knew God would give me some divine wisdom or creativity to figure this out. He is good that way!
Then the FDA allowed businesses like Enfusia to manufacture hand sanitizer under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. Normally, hand sanitizer is an OTC (over-the-counter) registered drug, and you simply cannot just make it because you want to. This temporary ruling by the FDA not only saved the company, but more importantly, saved jobs.
We pivoted at lightning speed and have not looked back.
The next divine idea simply came from our own need to refreshen our cloth masks. We wear cloth masks all day everyday at Enfusia. They are hot and they get stuffy, and throughout the day, we would spray a mixture on them to freshen them up. The idea: boom! I wonder if others could benefit from this too?
I reached out to one of our best customers and pitched the idea. Immediately she asked how many bottles she could buy and when can they ship. COVID has left a tremendous strain on all packaging supplies so we could only sell the spray using the bottles we had in stock. With that, a product was born. The Enfusia Cloth Mask Refresher Spray sold nearly 2,000 bottles in one week with only one of our customers. We quickly were able to secure more bottles from a competitor who was closed and not going to reopen anytime soon due the state where they are located.
Pivoting is scary, and it is expensive. At the time, we did not have the infrastructure to be manufacturing these items. We are a dry goods company, so with the help of our team, we quickly rearranged our facility to ensure quick production. Every single day I wake up, it is a new challenge. I have had to work harder than ever, not for more money, but simply the thirty-five faces. The thirty-five families who are depending on their jobs.
I believe I was given the opportunity to lead because I have a compassionate heart. It takes courage and selflessness to be an effective leader. One must decide every day how to respond to mistakes and issues that arise. I have found grace and mercy to be best. I have made mistakes along the way, but I have grown as a leader and as a person.
The pivot is essential, and it will continue to be essential moving forward. We cannot get stuck with how things used to be. We must be a light and shine during these difficult times when the pivot is tough. And of course, the pivots will always be tough. So, I push on and I challenge everyone around me to think differently. Be different, not because it is cool or trendy but because it is necessary. The faster we learn to embrace change, the faster we are off the line at the race. The next pivot is imminent and lurking. The question is, “How will I react?” I am pretty sure I will embrace it; I have thirty-five faces watching!
To learn more about how Enfusia has pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out these interviews:
The Courier: Woodlands bath and beauty business adjusts operations during COVID-19
Community Impact: Enfusia in The Woodlands shifts production from soaps to sanitizer
Fox 26 News interview
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Liquid Hand Sanitizer
Cloth Mask Refresher Spray