NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Pandemic spurs some to embrace economic innovations

The past year has been greatly turbulent in all sectors, particularly so in the employment sector and the consequences they’ve had for those both looking for a job or who’ve been laid off as a result of the Coronavirus.

Many who normally would’ve performed typical wage labor were forced out of these positions as the economy suffered through the various lockdowns and restrictions put into place and instead had to resort to alternatives and nontraditional methods of work in order to better maintain themselves and their lifestyles.

While social media has traditionally been seen as a potential distraction from labor, many have instead utilized the marketplaces (and marketing opportunities) it provides and have found methods to maintain an income in the face of the devastation unemployment often brings. Some have even found it to bemore enriching than their previous careers and positions.‘

“I was disappointed at first because I thought I’d lost my only source of income, so Is tarted to look into other ways to make some money, even if it wasn’t what I’d been makingbefore,” said Jara Jimenez.

Jimenez had worked at TJ Maxx the past year and found herself at a loss when it came to what direction to go in after the store shut down as a reaction to the outbreak of Coronavirus in March of 2020.

Unable to find a job, she started looking towards the methods she’d used to shop before and began thinking it might be a way to maintain herself until the virus passed over.

“I’d shopped on Etsy for before and knew I could probably alter some of my older clothes and sell them. It took awhile but eventually it picked up,” she said.

While not the same amount as she had been making weekly at a retail store, after two months she was able to partly make up for the income lost over the course of the pandemic.

“I went back to my regular job when they opened back up, but I still sell on Etsy and think one day I might try to put more time into it,” she said. “Posting on my Instagram and facebook was enough to let people know what I was doing an dcreate some interest.”

While not necessarily life changing, the platform provided was able to helpher maintain her lifestyle through a time that otherwise would’ve been difficult.

Others who’d already dabbled in the online marketplace for a number of years found it viable to dedicate more time to their hobby in order to create a new (or larger) income source.

Sean Mccarthy has been active on online sneaker reselling websites since middle school and during the COVID pandemic found himself with more time to dedicate to it as the majorityof institutions were closed.

“Since school went online I was already at my laptop alot, so I ended up looking more into shoe prices and realized I might be able to make something off of it.”

The timing was beneficial, as he found that people were beginning to sell their collections cheaper than what’d normally be the price.

“I was able to buy about fifteen pairs and then started selling them. I didn’t make too much but it wasn’t bad at all. More work than it sounds though,” he said. “I spent alot of times on facebook groups and instagram pages linking myself to try and build up some buzz. It got tedious after awhile.”

After about six months Mccarthy stopped selling, but doesn’ tnecessarily view it as a bad income source considering the amount of work required.

“If I wasdoing it on a bigger scale I’d probably be way more willing to keep doing it. It just wasn’t worth it for the amount of money I was making,” he said.

While some have found themselves able to benefit from the conditions created by thepandemic, others have found it harder to maintain their online businesses over the past year

Greg Pearson is a luthier and guitar restorationist who’s found it increasingly difficult to do business through the economic climate of the past year.

“I’m really not surprised, I work with a lot of touring musicians and since no one’s touring right now there’s no business’,” he said. “Guitar restoration isn’t cheap, and sending a guitar to get refurbished right now isn’t possible for a lot ofpeople.”

As time goes on it’ll become more apparent what long term impact the pandemic has onthe economy and what relation social media promotion and online business fronts have to the marketplace.