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During Unprecedented Times - Sean's Note to the Community

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To Our Incredible Brand Community
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I wanted to take a moment on behalf of our entire team here at The Lomas Brand to offer our thoughts, prayers, and well wishes to all the workers, employers, families, friends and fellow small business owners feeling the painful effects of this epidemic and its subsequent financial hardships. We too are feeling it, but we are a community and we are stronger when we bond together. Time will continue to move forward, aid will come, health will be restored and lights will be turned back on, though that may be difficult to foresee right now.  
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My heart especially breaks particularly for all those feeling the effects of jobs being lost, businesses shutting down, bills being due, and the financial impact those variables bear on individuals.  If you’ve been there before, you can sympathize, I know I can.  It's a feeling you don’t wish on your worst enemy. A feeling similar to being underwater and not being able to find the surface; undoubtedly overwhelming.
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While most companies are sending emails on operational updates as they should, I’d like to write this email to all those financially affected workers and fellow business owners finding themselves in distress. It's an attempt to bring a sense of camaraderie, comfort, empathy, understanding but also motivation and a positive light at the end of this tunnel.  Often times small business owners and employees are new business owners and new employees, and when I started, hearing from others past experiences helped shed a little light on what otherwise would be a shot in the dark circumstance. 
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A few years back, The Lomas Brand experienced crippling financial hardships that left me quietly and secretly $100 away from going out of business, going delinquent on all bills, and personally struggling to make rent for my apartment. Similar to what so many are feeling today. It wasn’t caused by a pandemic, but rather a dramatic and unexpected cause and effect of operating entirely off of retained earnings. It was March and growth unexpectedly stalled out. I mistakenly over estimated inventory levels, event season was over, and wholesalers were in-between buying seasons all at the same time. With that combo of events and timing, it financially wiped clean everything from The Lomas Brand and as the owner of the company and guarantee, that means it wiped out everything for me personally as well.  Bills rapidly began to compound, credit cards became leveraged out, credit scores began to slip and the short of it was, after months and years worth of 80 hour work weeks, I was left with $100 liquid and an extremely hard decision- Do I put the $100 towards a few hours worth of needed seamstress work or towards groceries? My realization at that moment was, I had for the first time in my life become broke. If you’ve ever been there before, you know you never forget what that feels like, I can assure you of that. But it's in these dire and bleak, scary and deflating moments that you find out what you're truly made of as a small business owner, an employee, as an entrepreneur. It's that age old question, "How much is it worth to you?"  Keep course or put food on your own table?  It's a terrible question to have to internally ask yourself but it's one that most every entrepreneur will one day encounter.  Unfortunately for so many, that day is this very moment.  They say “owning a small business is not for the faint of heart” - to me, there is nothing more true. It's also not for the risk adverse. That being said, I put the $100 towards my seamstress.   
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By doing that, I did something that I never thought I'd have to do- I found myself on food stamps to help buy groceries I couldn’t afford at the time. I was too prideful and embarrassed to ask for help from anyone. But while living in that hard spot, the silver lining was it made me push myself even further- I'd wake up at 5am every morning, work on what I had to do for Lomas till 11am, at which point I would start delivering food as a driver for Postmates and DoorDash to make ends meet.  I’d finish the lunch push at 1pm, go back to working on Lomas till 6pm then, start delivering dinner from 8-9pm.  This would go on for weeks.  One of the worst moments I had during this time was when I picked up a lunch that turned out to be for an old colleague of mine from my days in pharmaceutical sales.  He was buying lunch for his sales team - I was delivering lunch to earn a $5 tip. 
At the time, I felt that was the most embarrassing moment of my life.  I felt ashamed and above all, I felt helpless. But the drive of a small business owner never truly allows you to entertain the idea of giving up. You’ve put your everything in.  We'll stop at nothing for the companies we’ve built and love. The days and weeks passed, time pressed forward, day by day things got better and I survived. The Lomas Brand survived. We recovered. The subsequent year was our best, most profitable year to date with five consecutive quarters of record sales.  My point is, if you’re a small business owner in financial distress right now, don’t give up, continue to fight, things will improve.  We as small business owners are resilient, savvy, we can find a way to fit a square peg into a round hole because we are fueled by the love we have for our companies, driven by our dreams, responsible for our families, our employees, and we're grateful for every single one of our customers. Those are the requirements. We’ll find a way to carry on, we always do, we don't know any other way. 
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If you know a small business owner or if you have a friend or family member who is in small business- the scenario in the past I just described is happening right now to thousands and thousands of businesses across the country.  So please, if you’re in a position to support any small business, please please do so. Your support could be their lifeline.  
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And lastly - to the incredible Lomas Brand community - we are open and we will stay that way, you have my word. You've always showed up with unsolicited support, in good times and in tough times and especially in unprecedented times like these and I’m reminded of that every day. 
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Stay healthy, stay safe, and long live small business.
- Sean Feeney
Owner/Founder