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Juggling book reports and revenue spreadsheets

Stefanie Taylor, founder of the online jewelry company, Zaxie, has been busy. She spent the first couple of weeks of her state’s shelter-in-place order concentrating on getting her two school-aged kids situated in their new homeschool reality. Once they were settled, it was back to businesses.

Yes, businesses. In addition to launching Zaxie in 2018, Stefanie is president of Gennaro, Inc., a third-generation private label accessories business. So when her kids got into their groove, it was time for Stefanie to find hers.

“We had to furlough most of our staff, so no one’s really in the office. I’m able to just come in by myself for a few days a week and get some peace and quiet, which is really nice,” Stephanie says of her routine now.

Brick and mortar retailers, the main buyers of Gennaro’s products, were already on shaky ground before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, many of them are barely on life support.

“Some retailers are saying they’re only going to pay a percentage of their receivables, like 50%, so I’m trying to navigate that,” Stefanie said. 

“Zaxie is doing okay. Our orders have stayed consistent. We’re conserving capital, of course. We had to pull ad spending and any type of marketing. And our QVC feature has been moved from June to September. QVC’s business is good, but they’re filming differently these days.”

With people staying home, accessories is a tough category. But Stefanie says both businesses are pivoting to produce items that are important to people today.

“We’ve started developing masks for retail customers and for Zaxie as well. We’re using different prints, patterns, and personalization, all following CDC guidelines. And we’re making a ring that tells your temperature all the time.”

Stefanie maintains that she is cautiously hopeful during these days of uncertainty.

“I know we’ll figure it out. We have really smart people who work for us, we have the infrastructure, we just need to figure out what people need and get it out there. We’ll figure it out. We don’t have a choice.”

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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