I'm A Survivor: How Twiink Studio Founder Miko Su Got Through Her First Year Of Business (Despite A Pandemic)
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Starting a business is difficult under normal circumstances- but to do so in the midst of a global pandemic adds a whole new set of complexities that one simply cannot be prepared for. Given these circumstances, many entrepreneurs in the region have had to shutter their businesses- but there are also others like Miko Su, the founder of Abu Dhabi-based Twiink Studio, who are fighting the odds to get their businesses to survive the economic downturn caused by the global COVID-19 crisis.
Twiink Studio, which opened in November 2019, quickly became the UAE capital’s premier lash studio offering a host of services including brow tinting, threading, and microblading. With a viable business plan and tenacious spirit, Su was off to a good start, but just a few months into her entrepreneurial journey, the coronavirus pandemic began to rapidly spread, and bringing the momentum her business was on to an abrupt halt. “With us being in a business where we are physically very close to clients, we were greatly affected by all the changes,” she says. “Not only was I afraid for the health of my staff and myself, our finances were worrisome too because bills and payrolls don’t stop, just because income does.”
Source: Twiink Studio
Given the outbreak, Twiink Studio, like all other service-based businesses within this business sector, was required to close for three months in accordance with UAE government regulations. During that time, Su grappled with the loss of revenue- but she also didn’t let it keep her down. “The lockdown definitely opened my eyes to what’s important in life,” she says. “Throughout quarantine, I had to sit and wait for the days to pass. I couldn’t stop thinking about how we would survive in the long run, what I needed to be doing, and whether the industry itself would survive. There were so many unknowns, but what I did know was that I simply could not give up, just because things were tough.”
And that’s exactly what she did. Su kept looking toward the future, and devised a plan for recovery. After the lockdown got lifted, only half of Twiink Studio’s services were allowed to resume upon its reopening. Consequently, bookings declined by 60%, which left the business in financial peril. But then, to give her business a boost, Su launched Twiink at Home, a personalized mobile service that accommodated “the new normal” that the world was in now. And this, along with other incentives to welcome clients back, is what is now steadily helping Su’s business to rebound.
Source: Twiink Studio
Amid the pandemic, taking care of customer needs is only half the battle when it comes to owning and operating a successful business. Su is now tasked with maintaining health and safety regulations specific to the COVID-19 crisis, which includes keeping up with changes to guidelines, which are frequently handed down during impromptu municipality inspections. Su’s workload has thus tripled, and the level of responsibility she feels to those who depend on her for employment and services has also intensified, but her resolve to keep her business running remains the same- and she remains still immensely grateful for all that she has. “Starting Twiink just a few months before the pandemic began was an unfortunate stroke of luck, but the business is celebrating its one-year anniversary in November 2020, and we are proud,” Su says. “I am so happy and relieved that we survived.”