Senegal-born entrepreneur Mama Faye opened her Larchmont, NY fashion and cosmetics boutique, Taaru Majeure, just before COVID hit. After working for twenty-three years in retail management for powerhouse brands like Tom Ford and Estee Lauder, she decided to launch a solo endeavor. Beyond her elegant accessories and quality cosmetics, Mama Faye has distinguished her brand by developing her own ethical skincare line with fair trade organic ingredients sourced from Senegal.
How Did COVID Impact Mama Faye’s Business?
The shut-down was an early blow to Taaru Majeure, which did not yet have an online presence. Mama Faye was burdened by fixed expenses for her storefront, and needed to quickly pivot to cover them. While the economic environment was tumultuous, social support for minority-owned businesses grew with the Black Lives Matter movement. Mama Faye had a pool of prospective customers, but needed to figure out how to reach them.
How Did TAP Help?
TAP consultants Janice Hassenfeld and Justine Smith developed recommendations for a new e-commerce site including a “shop by skin type” tool, product review section, ingredient specifications, and other visual aids. The pair also worked with Mama Faye on her brand messaging, encouraging her to leverage her dynamic personality and celebrate Taaru Majeure as a black-owned business on social media. In addition, TAP helped stabilize Mama Faye’s financials by offering information on loan and grant support, cash flow tools, and rent negotiation.
Where is She Now?
The Larchmont storefront is now open, stocked, and bustling with holiday shoppers. Motivated by TAP’s support, Mama Faye has exceeded her monthly sales goals since August. With Taaru Majeure’s in-person business booming, she is also applying what she’s learned from TAP to help her social media and e-commerce venues thrive
Born in Venezuela and raised in Colombia, Yolfer Carvajal was inspired by his aunt’s traditional cooking. Wanting to pursue his dream of becoming a chef, he attended French-Jewish culinary school, resulting in a cooking style that was an eclectic fusion of his Venezuelan heritage and French inspiration. With the help of his brother Donny leading marketing and logistics, and sister Dahyanna commanding the finances, Yolfer opened Pabade Wholesale Bakery in 2016 and expanded to a cafe in East Harlem in 2019. He refers to his products as “global pastries baked in el barrio”.
How did Covid impact Pabade?
When Covid forced businesses to shut down earlier this year, the food industry was particularly hard hit. Pabade lost all of its foot traffic, and wholesale orders for their products disappeared.
How did TAP help?
TAP consultants Amy Lai, a CFA with financial expertise, and Sabrina Silva, a marketing and sales executive with knowledge of the food services industry, quickly helped Dahyanna prepare for a conversation with the landlord about deferring lease payments and encouraged her to access additional government support for small businesses. They suggested offering a lunch menu, and researched several food delivery services so that Pabade’s delicious products were accessible to those not able to come into the store. TAP helped the siblings review all of the new safety requirements for reopening and provided options for cleaning common areas. The consultants also showed them ways to manage expenses going forward.
Where are they now?
Pabade is back open for business and looking towards the future. Their delivery business is growing, and they are working on bolder long term marketing strategies. The help that TAP has given them and other small businesses during the Covid pandemic expands beyond strategy and analysis. They’ve offered encouragement and direction when small business owners feel overwhelmed and helpless. With TAP’s assistance, Yolfer, Donny and Dahyanna have regained the confidence to move forward and rebuild their business to be successful now and in the post-Covid world.
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