The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced surf shops globally to shut their doors. With doors shut to the public, many retailers are wondering how do they stay in contact with their shop’s community when they can’t be with them. Peace of Wood Surf Shop owner, Kristina Young has been painting her way into homes across North America from her house and growing her shops community well beyond their retail walls.
We caught up with Kristina to see how its been going.
BTR: COVID-19 has forced surf shops globally to close their doors to the public. You have embraced the challenge of growing Peace of Wood’s community virtually with live paint jams on Instagram. How have they been going and will you continue virtual paint jams when you can re-open your doors?
Kristina: They have been going great! I honestly didn’t know what to expect from doing live paint sessions daily, all we knew was that at the core, our shop has always been about community and we wanted to keep that going. We wanted to find a way to continue to help and support our community. We wanted to find a way to really offer a creative outlet and relief from what was happening around us. Art has always been a therapeutic outlet for me and that’s how I’ve always loved sharing it.
We have been so overwhelmed with the number of people joining in every single day and all the positive feedback! I definitely know there is something long-term in this even after this storm clears. I’m not sure what that looks like but I’m really excited to see where this path takes us.
BTR: Do you feel the live paint jams have brought new people to your community that you wouldn’t have met at the Peace Compound?
Kristina: Yes! We’ve had friends of the shop refer friends all over the country and even the world! It’s been amazing to see how many new people we are connecting to through this offering, that’s what’s so amazing about the virtual aspect of business, and we’ve really started to tap into that more. Doing it at the same time daily allows people to schedule it in. We’ve gotten so many thank yous from parents who are grateful for the hour break in their new adjustments to home-schooling, working from home, and new routine.
BTR: How are your online sales going?
Kristina: Being such a small shop and rotating artists in the shop, we don’t have our full inventory online, we have truly done mostly all sales through personal connections in person, so this adjustment was definitely a big one. We also really struggled with pushing a bunch of inventory on people when we are all struggling. Initially, we really didn’t have anything online and started offering the free paint jams because that just felt right. We then had members of the community reach out asking how they could help support during this time. I have a personal website for my artwork and I put up gift cards and some paint jam certificates for purchase online and to be honest, I’ve been so blown away with how supportive everyone has been. We are so incredibly grateful for our community and would not be able to do it without them, we never take that lightly.
BTR: New Jersey Surf Shops make a majority of their sales in the summer when beach goers and tourist flock to the Jersey Shore. Do you feel you will get back on track quickly if we can get a handle on this virus before May? If not, how long will it take for you to get back on track?
Kristina: I think there’s so much up in the air right now only time will tell. We are really trying to take it one day at a time. We are keeping it positive, and as business owners, we will always keep pushing no matter what comes our way.
My husband and I have always pushed through any obstacles because our belief in our shop has always overcome anything. We know in our souls that it’s where we are meant to be and the path we are meant to be on. I think the transition back into “normalcy” for all retailers is going to take longer than we would hope, but once we get there, I have no doubt we will all come out on the other side!! We just have to continue to water those positive seeds, support each other, and support our communities.
BTR: What do you miss the most about being in the Peace of Wood Compound?
Kristina: Everything!! The energy in the space, the connection with every person that walks through the door, HUGS, music, artwork being created by all ages, board talk, meetings with all the artists to catch up and collaborate, running in after a morning surf throwing clothes on and starting my day, the ability to share a space that means so much to you is really something I’ll never take for granted and I truly cannot wait to get back to it.
BTR: What advice do you have for your fellow surf shops and the surf industry?
Kristina: Hold the line!!! Stay positive and stay true to your core shop values. Find ways to continue to connect and give back to your community during this time, we are all in this together and we will emerge stronger together!!
Don’t be afraid to get creative and step outside of
Your comfort zone, great things happen there!! We cannot change what’s happening, but we can choose how we respond. Rise above it, remain positive, and support those around you.