COVID Interruptus: Lessons in Fortitude When Dreams are Put on Hold

The internet has made everything accessible to everyone. This can make it very difficult to set oneself apart in a crowded field such as linen rentals.

Bringing out new collections, creating new products is tricky when suppliers are virtually the same mills.

How to differentiate? The answer would be to create your own line of patterns that are exclusive to you … without having to buy your own mill.

In 2019, Susie Perelman of Mosaic, Inc., took these challenges on head-first. She had been looking for new ways to break away from the pack — to make a pivot from within her own specialty — and in 2020, with the launch of Made by Mosaic, she had done it.

Made by Mosaic is a linen collection created via technology, enabling control over order size, and making each line completely one-of-a-kind.

“The creation of this was the perfect storm,” Perelman says. “It was the combination of my background in art – I have always wanted to create something by hand. It was advances in technology and printing. And it was three decades of experience that enable me to forecast what the industry might want in terms of design and color palettes.”

“Perelman and her team found a viable way to intersect art and digital technology.”

It took a lot of research “There are several ways to get art onto fabric,” Perelman says. “But I didn’t want that iron-on type of affect. I wanted it infused into the fabric. That brought up all sorts of issues with heat, materials and dyes.  And it had to be able to withstand many washings.”

made by mosaic
Made by Mosaic is a linen collection created via digital printing, making each line of linen totally one-of-a-kind.

There were mistakes and of course learning experiences, along the way, but after eight months of intense devotion while running the main business, Perelman and her team found a viable way to intersect art and digital technology. And they took it to market – the ARA and then The Special Event.

All was going well until …

We interrupt this story for COVID-19 …

You can guess what happens next.

As she developed Made by Mosaic, Perelman’s challenges were simple – set herself apart from the pack. “Now in 2020, my challenges are completely different,” she says. Yet those same disciplines that helped her launch the new line are now being used to combat the fallout business effects of COVID-19. They are …

1. Perseverance. “When designing our fabric, we met with all kinds of obstacles,” Perelman recalls. “Instead of throwing in the towel, I worked hard to use the defeats as fuel to overcome and succeed. Now more than ever, we need to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to overcome.”

2. Fortitude. “My favorite quote along the way was ‘If it were easy everyone would be doing it,’” Perelman says. “One thing I know for sure, the event industry is strong and resourceful. While we all feel down and depleted, I know the passionate creative backbone of our industry will enable our entire industry to rise and lift beyond the dark days – to emerge victorious again.

We experienced frustration along the way to create Made By Mosaic, and we rose above. We are now faced with an even bigger mountaintop ahead — both at Mosaic and in our world. We will climb to the summit again. And won’t the views be sweet when we get there?”

“I know we will rise again.”

3. Flexibility. “Those in the industry a long time have learned along the way — head down your path and write your chapter. But, when things don’t come out as planned, be flexible and pivot. In the creation of Made By Mosaic, we often found ourselves pivoting and trying new thing to find solutions in 2019. And now in 2020, we need to pivot, pivot and pivot again! With so much uncertainty we just must be flexible and use all that is thrown at us right now to rewrite our story.”

Bottom line. “Response out of the gate to this new facet of my business was phenomenally great,” Perelman says. “We had orders. The interest was there. While all the orders have now evaporated and everything is on hold, every day I hold onto the notion that the interest will return. We hit the pause button and there are certainly days when I feel depleted. The momentum is gone.”

“But in my heart,” Perelman continues, “I know we will rise again. And when we do, you can expect to see Made By Mosaic products in the decor of the most meaningful celebrations – those in which we really know the value of togetherness and the preciousness of life.”

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