One of the biggest factors in the economic downward spiral due to the coronavirus is the lack of fashion commerce. The industry has been hit hard, as big brand sales reports show that the demand for fashion has plummeted since the start of the pandemic. 

As household-name retailers like Neiman Marcus and J. Crew file for bankruptcy in their struggle to survive, there is no doubt that small brands have been impacted as well. 

Isiuwa Igodan, 23, started her jewelry line from a multitude of influences. After buying expensive jewelry from a company with questionable quality, she figured she could sell better pieces for a more affordable price. 

“I was so upset when that happened. I thought, ‘for what it’s worth, I could do a better job at this myself,’” Igodan told Scriberr News.  

“I wanted to cater to millennials who couldn’t really afford expensive jewelry, and I wanted to give them something luxurious without having to break the bank,” said Igodan.

Her elder sister already had a jewelry line by the name of ‘Sorrela.’ So when Igodan’s friends began calling her ‘baby sorella,’ meaning ‘little sister’ in Italian, she saw that as the perfect name for her own brand. 

With the experience she gained from watching her sister work, along with her ability to follow trends and source jewelry, Baby Sorrela was born. 

Pre-coronavirus, business was doing exceptionally well for the Brooklyn-based entrepreneur. Online promotion via social media like Instagram and Twitter boosted sales, and she even began street selling to expand her consumer base.

Influencer promotions and brand ambassadors were beneficial as well, but in the wake of COVID-19 things had slowed dramatically, as mailing items and personal deliveries became too costly.

Igodan lost the time to even focus on the brand, since she began working from home as a media planning coordinator at Nickelodeon. Although her career outside of Baby Sorrela grants her the space to live comfortably within her means, she still tries to include the brand in everything she can.

“If I’m doing a collaboration, I would want Baby Sorrela to sponsor it, or be sponsored. I really want it to be included in whatever brand I will work with in the future. I had plans of switching everything up to keep the momentum going, but the pandemic put it all on hold,” said Igodan. 

Living in New York City during the COVID-19 outbreak has been a whirlwind experience. Igodan compared it to a “zombieland,” as the normal hustle and bustle of the city came to a complete stop, leaving the streets emptied in a way that many haven’t seen before. 

The isolation has left her mental health in a bit of disarray, but she anticipates the end of lockdown so that she can get back into the office at work and turn the tide for her business. 

“It’s kind of hard to even get wholesale right now because of COVID. My manufacturers are in China and Korea, so it’s been difficult to mail things to the United States, especially New York,” said Igodan.

In the meantime, Instagram has been her source of inspiration for what to seek when the epidemic subsides. Keeping in contact with her Los Angeles jeweler friends who update her on the latest trendy pieces, Igodan is already preparing for restocks, future photoshoots and collaborations for Baby Sorrela. 

The prospect of revenge spending has already been a turning point in certain parts of the world, post-Coronavirus. Luxury brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton have seen great sale increases in China, since the country ended their lockdown and slowly reopened its stores in April. 

People who were quarantined in their homes are now doing all of the shopping they missed out on, and Igodan has hopes that the buying habit will trickle down to smaller brands as well once America returns to a state of normalcy. 

As a self-starter who has always been business-minded, Igodan knows that things can change at the drop of a dime, but she is prepared for anything.

“I have so many new ideas for the Baby Sorrela that I want to see come to life, so I’m trying to stay positive for what the future will bring. I don’t know where my brand will take me years from now, but I’m going to try every single thing in life until something clicks, and if this doesn’t click, I’ll have something else in my pocket.”

Written ByYayonah Bangura

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