Anna-Liisa Reppo is a small business owner and community builder in Berlin, but everything nearly unraveled when COVID-19 struck. Her small business, Berlin Wood Sisters, teaches women to build sustainable, affordable furniture. She had just started her business and was about to open a studio for in-person classes when lockdowns and restrictions put a stop to that plan. But Anna-Liisa persevered.
She pivoted to social media and digital tools to find customers and expand her community of women who want to build furniture instead of buy it. Now, instead of teaching small groups in a studio, Anna-Liisa reaches like-minded women through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and sells classes and products on her Squarespace website. Her YouTube channel hosts videos about how to build outdoor furniture, plant stands and many other pieces. She also stays in touch with her “sisters” through e-newsletters.
Though admittedly not very tech-savvy, Anna-Liisa has accomplished all of this by teaching herself website design, e-commerce and video production. Berlin Wood Sisters is growing despite the pandemic, and Anna-Liisa is busy and fulfilled. She still does pop-up workshops when possible so she gets to meet students in-person, but thanks to digital tools and platforms her business will continue thriving and more women will build their own furniture, because COVID-19 won’t stop her.