Today, I wanted to share an update with you on Corporate Catwalk. It’s hard to put in words how much I miss my pink office, getting ready for work and working on the business everyday. I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to write this post. Part of me feels like it’s just a bad dream and I’ll wake up any moment and go back to “normal”. Everyday the office is empty, the desks unoccupied, the clothes untouched — it breaks my heart. I try not to think about it too much, or else I go down a dark rabbit hole. Matt continues to go by the office every so often to receive the mail, make sure everything is in order, but that’s the extent of us being at the office.
Even through all this, we have been blown away at the outpouring of messages and support from so many. From asking about the business, to positive messages that everything will return to normal and even sending us resources to use for the business during this pandemic. It’s heartwarming and we sincerely thank each and every one of you for that support. It means the world to us!
Last year, around this time, I started testing the concept for Corporate Catwalk. After several months of working with customers, we confirmed that our assumptions correct and identified the product-market fit. From that moment, I moved forward with launching the first iteration of the business. In late 2019, Corporate Catwalk was launched! We no doubt had some initial issues in the beginning but those were to be expected. I worked with an amazing developer to get things back on track and really started to see an increase in adoption in January 2020. All the while, doing it incredibly lean and fully self-funded.
This was the time we really started to see how valuable this business would be for so many women in the business world. As our customer base grew, we discovered the need for better technology solutions in order to scale the business and add more value to each and every one of our customers. At the time, we were only able to handle a certain amount of customers because we didn’t have all the necessary automation in place to support the demand. Even with little to no marketing and the need to revisit and improve our tech, we really started to see the growth trajectory for the business. Then, shortly thereafter, it all came to a halt.
As we moved into the month of March, I started to iron out some of the bottlenecks that we were facing and slowly began implementing the solutions necessary. Then suddenly, we along with the rest of the country, were hit with COVID-19. All outgoing shipments ceased and our time in the office came to a close. Not to mention, we had the arrival of our amazing new bundle of joy, Hugo. With him and Sebastian, we weren’t going to take the chance of continuing to go to the office and put our family at risk. Like so many other small business, we had to make the tough decision and temporarily pause operations till things improved here in NYC.
This was (and continues to be) extremely difficult for both Matt and myself. I remember being a few days postpartum and telling Matt, we have to pause all customers till further notice. As I sat at the table, emailing customers, we slowly started the process. I remember being on my last customer profile and saying to Matt, I’m about to pause our last customer account. After all the blood, sweat and tears that we poured into the business, it was heartbreaking. The timing was really tough and I know so many other businesses are in the same situation. We weren’t going away forever but we just felt defeated.
Being in the epicenter of COVID-19, we base all of our decisions around the safety of our family and those around us. Once we receive a thumbs up from the proper officials to go back to business, we plan on getting back to the Corporate Catwalk office and rebooting. In the meantime, we’ve had the opportunity to continue to work on all the things that needed to be improved with the business. We started to build on the business plan to provide more value to our customers, connect with technology partners and seek out a fulfillment center (if you have any recommendations on a fulfillment center, please let me know!).
Assuming the shelter in place here in the city won’t last into summer, we’ll slowly start making our way back to the office to get things moving again. We have some really great updates to the business and this Fall we plan on relaunching the “new” Corporate Catwalk. It’s something I can’t wait to share, because we’re going to have a lot more to offer all of our customers. Thank you again for all your support throughout the process. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Stay safe and we wish you all the best during these unpredictable times. Thank you for reading.