The Adaptables: Featuring Matcha Mylkbar.

Nov 04 2020 | Alice Wong, PayPal Editorial Staff

In this Adaptables episode, lawyer turned ‘funtrepreneur’, Sarah Davidson, tells us the story of her humble beginnings, how she pivoted her own life strategy, and the quick changes she had to make for her business during the pandemic and beyond.

Adaptables Episode Summary: Matcha Mylkbar's advice on embracing uncertainty.

Look for strengths you already have. While their café, Matcha Mylkbar, was struggling due to quarantine restrictions, their online product, Matcha Maiden, was doing better than ever. So Davidson and her team thought about how she could use that momentum to help support the café, by taking it online“We turned a lot of our dry recipes—for our pancakes, for our smoothie mixes, for our nine different multicolored superfood lattes—into blends, packaged them up to make an online grocery store. We made vegan survival kits, putting some of the blends together with our plant-based milk stock, toilet paper, and other basics for the pantry that we had access to in bulk, but the customers couldn't find so easily in the early days.”
Stay agile. “There have been many new challenges we never expected with production and shipping and quarantine but we're actually feeling more agile than ever, using the forced slowdown to really re-evaluate, tweak, and refine again. If you can be anything in this world, agile and adaptable is absolutely where it's at. So many businesses—in fact, the whole business landscape—have really had to re-strategize.”

Make small, positive changes. “We absolutely weren't prepared for this and had to get comfortable with pivoting again. But taking it day by day—not trying to engineer the end when you don't know when that is—and just making small, positive changes has served us well. What are the things [you] can't control? Don't spend any more emotional energy or stress on those than you already are. Let's focus on the things we can control.”
Go digital. “We're seeing so many businesses use
technology and digital to survive, whether event organizers or businesses running all their activities online and I think the biggest benefits of digital channels that way is you can reach such a wide audience, there's such a democratization of influence and business.”
Pivot the tools you already have.
“Being an existing PayPal business customer made it so easy for us to adjust and pivot. We set up online payments and set up a new online store. Social media helped us pump that message out really quickly, customers responded so well so fast because there was already so much customer trust behind the PayPal brand.”
Patience is key. Like many people, Davidson and her team have been stretched to the limit dealing with the obstacles of COVID-19. But she quickly realized that it’s important to find moments of grace for one another. “All of us have faced pressures in different ways—everything is relative—and the best thing that we all can do is have patience with ourselves and others.”
Embrace change. “Change will always feel uncomfortable at first and while COVID is why you had to change, maybe this was the right next step for you anyway even if COVID hadn't happened. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together, maybe this was just the reason that you did something new, you really could have benefited from doing anyway.”
Keep what works.
“One of the big questions that's been coming out is, what are we going to keep, and what's going to change back to normal? I really think there's no reason why you can't continue to do both retail and etail, as you start to return to physical trade too. A lot of businesses have shifted just for the purposes of COVID, but I think, in so many areas, having this added online dimension to your business can run alongside your physical trade to continue reaping those benefits of no geographical boundaries.”
Focus on the future. “We would never wish it to happen this way but there are so many silver linings that have come out of this, and that can continue to come out of this. There’s a true benefit of being able to embrace uncertainty and change in a way that can set you up better, and in a much more resilient style for whatever comes next.”

If you found Matcha Mylkbar’s story as inspiring as we did, tune in for more Adaptables episodes featuring small business owners who have not only adapted to survive, but to thrive.
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More recommended resources:

13 creative ways to keep selling in a pandemic.
Step-by-step guide: How to create a QR code to accept touch-free payments.
How to get started selling online quickly.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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