OKG: Tell Us a little bit about yourself and your year in review?
OKG: As a small business owner what have been some of the challenges, you have faced this year?
Lindsay Harkness: Oh man — well for starters waking up every day during the shutdown to the fear of having to close down my shop. However, that fear quickly turned to determination to keep it open, and so began the Zoom meetings. SO. MANY. ZOOM. MEETINGS. Cléo Rajon, with The Independent Shoppers Association, kept us small shops in the know and united in a way that helped us all bond and realize we weren't alone. We were able to discuss what was working, what wasn't, and have a unified plan on reopening — and more than anything created a support system that was there to listen and not judge as the shutdown affected us all differently.
The round table calls with Secretary Kouplen from The Oklahoma Department of Commerce really helped give me that extra push that the small shops do matter. At the time there were specific call times for retail, and to see all my fellow peers listening, often as confused as me, but determined to figure this out reminded me that while we all run different stores we are in it for the same reason, community.
OKG: What has 2020 taught you about yourself or your business?
Lindsay Harkness: 2020 has taught me that being a part of the arts in my community is a privilege. To own a shop that not only inspires people to create but provides a safe place for all members of the community to shop is pretty special. 2020 helped me to see how many familiar faces really do come through my doors — and those smiles behind the masks were more often than not the driving factor that kept me pushing through.
I think one big lesson from this year is to think outside the box, to not give up, and to keep pushing forward. Just because something doesn't work the way it used to, doesn't mean there isn't a new solution that can work just as well or better.
OKG: Who have you leaned on to get through this year?
Lindsay Harkness: Personally — my close friends who have seen every emotion, sometimes all of them in one day or maybe even at the same time. HA!
Business — my fellow Plaza Shop Owners as well as several others around the city.
OKG: What has been the best thing about 2020 for yourself?
Lindsay Harkness: Realizing that I am truly doing what I love, and no matter what it takes I will keep going to make sure I can continue to serve my fellow artists and artisans.
OKG: What has inspired you this year?
Lindsay Harkness: Seeing the community come together as a whole to support each other. To see people slow down, remember what is important, and get creative in how to keep those important things going is something I don't think any of us will forget.
OKG: Plans for 2021?
Lindsay Harkness: A Nap. — or a plane ride to a Sandals Resort with Michael Scott. HA!
OKG: First thing you want to do when Covid is gone?
Lindsay Harkness: Sit with my friends without a mask on.