Shannon Gilbert is an art history major at Humboldt State University, she also has a communications and a certificate in museum and gallery studies. In the spring 2021 semester she participated in the Humboldt in the Time of Covid internship, conducting interviews and oral histories of Artists located within the county talking about the struggles and changes they have faced during this time. Rachael Kee is a communications major at Humboldt State University who also runs a small homemade jewelry business on the side.
Rachael Kee owns KeeKlassics a small jewelry brand she runs out of her house in Arcata, Ca. During our conversation, we spoke about her experience starting a small business just 2 months before the Covid 19 pandemic started, and how starting and running a business entirely during a lockdown has gone. We spoke about how every aspect of running a business has changed from sourcing materials to advertising. We discussed how the shift of the creation of her business at her parent's home in Joshua Tree to moving back to Humboldt to finish out the school year and bringing the entire operation with her. Rachael and I spoke about the impact the pandemic has on sourcing materials, shipping, business, and advertising costs, and the overhead and profit that comes with operating under these new pandemic parameters. During the interview, Rachael and I spoke about the exploration of workers and their money in exchange for ad space on the craft website Etsy and how that prompted her to move to social media and her own personal website. The pandemic has also pushed the "side hustle" and hobby culture into overdrive, whether people are gravitating towards opening their own business because of the instability of the Covid 19 job market, or because the extra time at home has allowed them to have space and energy to work on this. During the interview, we talked about how this is going to impact the in-person and store shopping industry now that everyone is so comfortable buying everything online and how we think it might affect the future when restrictions can fully lift after the ending of the pandemic.
KEYWORDS: small business, independent artist, jewelry, Etsy, homemade art, craft, covid 19 pandemic, online shopping, stores, future implications