I'm sure everyone in the world is now well aware of the recent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, for my March 2020 Blog Post, I wanted to share how I take health and safety precautions when hand-making headpieces and hair accessories that are sold through my small business - KittyKatrina.com.
What Does “Health and Safety” Mean for a Business?
Health and safety refer to how a company makes its products and provides them to the public. Simply stated – businesses, at least in the United States, must take certain precautions to ensure the health and safety of their employees AND buyers.
For example, if a business has a sick employee, the business should encourage this person to stay at home to avoid the risk of getting other employees sick and possibly contaminating products they sell to the public.
Further, there are several regulatory agencies in the United States, such as the FDA, CDC, OSHA, etc, that monitor the practices of businesses to ensure the health and safety of employees and the public.
What’s a Small Business to Do?
First, it’s good to know that unlike larger businesses, small businesses are generally not always required to follow certain precautions when hand-making items simply because they don’t employ enough people to place their small business into a category that regulatory agencies monitor.
For example, many small businesses may have less than 5 employees - as is the case with Kitty Katrina - which means they are not always required to follow guidelines from regulatory agencies that may only monitor companies with 10 or more employees.
With that being said, does this mean small businesses are off-the-hook when it comes to taking health and safety precautions? Not at all! Bottom line - it’s still important for small businesses to care about health and safety when hand-making / producing their items because...it's good business.
So, how can customers know if they're buying from a small business that takes health and safety seriously when hand-making / producing their items? Unfortunately, customers may never be able to find this information BUT they can look at the social media accounts and website of their favorite small businesses to start. The small businesses who are transparent about their health and safety precautions and have great reviews from other buyers are typically much more trustworthy.
So, in an effort to be transparent about my health and safety precautions and to help buyers feel confident when shopping at KittyKatrina.com during the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) spread, I've outlined my health and safety practices below:
I have a private studio space specifically for hand-making my headpieces and hair accessories, which is cleaned daily using approved products that kill bacteria and viruses.
My studio space is also a smoke-free environment and I'm a non-smoker, therefore, no smoke would ever transfer to the items I hand-make.
My studio is not open to the public to avoid others hurting themselves on the tools / equipment I am trained to use in hand-making my items AND to avoid introducing outside contaminants.
Ultimately, a clean studio space is a safe studio space for both myself AND customers.
I store my supplies in airtight bags and boxes or drawers - nothing is exposed.
Of course, I allow my tools and equipment to remain on my production tables for quick and easy access while hand-making items to fulfill orders. My tools and equipment are sanitized at the end of every production day.
All of my supplies are non-toxic, but when necessary, I wear a facemask to avoid inhaling fumes or participles, such as those from adhesives / glues or particles from fabrics.
I also use adhesive that heats-up to 375 degrees, therefore, I wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants, closed-toe shoes, a protective smock, and in certain cases, a face shield to protect my body / face from possible adhesive burns.
Another incredibly important part of health and safety when hand-making my items is personal hygiene. Before I start hand-making items, I wash my hands with antibacterial / anti-viral soap under hot water for at least 20 seconds, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I never make items if I am ill. If I am sick, I do not enter my studio space to avoid any possible contamination. I extend out my production time and communicate with buyers as necessary to alert them of the situation, because I believe in being honest and transparent.
This part I find to be the MOST important, especially due to the recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) spread. Washing hands thoroughly before working, and not working when sick, are critical for any business and its employees to follow.
I know small businesses depend on their ability to always be producing / selling items in order to remain competitive with big businesses while earning an income. If a small business cannot produce / sell their items because a key person is sick, then the fear is they will go out of business quickly because they aren't earning income while this key person is ill.
However, it's important to note that many big businesses have this exact same fear, especially if a large percentage of their workforce is sick. This is why big businesses implement systems to handle those situations to ensure the health and safety of their employees and the public, as well as the continuation of their business.
Therefore, it’s equally important for small businesses to take similar health and safety precautions when hand-making / producing their items and develop systems that will ensure the survival of their small business.
If you’re a buyer, now you have knowledge of what to look for when you purchase from small businesses. Shopping is fun but being a smart buyer is essential, and as you can see, there are other concerns when purchasing items, not just showing LUV to your favorite small business.
Further, now you know the health and safety precautions I take when hand-making headpieces and hair accessories sold at KittyKatrina.com, and I hope it makes you feel confident to shop with my small business. I thank each and every person from the bottom of my heart for your purchases during this hard time and continued LUV and support!
If you’re a small business, perhaps this blog post will be a helpful guide so you can research health and safety precautions you might want to use going forward. Of course, I am not an “official advisor” on this topic, so I encourage all small businesses to research practices that are conducive to their specific health and safety needs.
This article is not intended to be used as “fact” or as a "rule" for others to follow - I am merely sharing what I do in my small business to be transparent and helpful during a time when our world is facing a health crisis.
Knowledge and being prepared are the cure for fear - so remember, remain calm and wash your hands!