Shannon Willey, owner of Sea Green Designs in Southampton.
Shannon Willey, owner of Sea Green Designs in Southampton. COURTESY SHANNON WILLEY
As Shannon Willey has come to realize, there is no time like a quarantine to redecorate.
“People, now that they’re stuck at home, are deciding they need to make some changes — are desperate to make some changes — to their space,” she said, “and they’re, like, ‘We could use some help doing that.’”
Enter Sea Green Designs, an interior design business and home furnishings boutique inspired by the coastal lifestyle of the Hamptons, owned and operated by Ms. Willey for the last 20 years — and she isn’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic stop her now.
“As soon as this all started taking place, I just knew that I was gonna have to shift the way that we did things,” she said. “I think the one thing that really helps in this situation is you realize absolutely everybody is in the same boat. Everyone is affected somehow. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make the shift and maybe see a bigger boost once things are open again.”
Halted construction on the East End has brought most of Ms. Willey’s projects to a standstill, she said, but remote consultations via Zoom meetings — the norm for her New York City-based clients — have continued.
For her local customers, she has even gone so far as to drop off samples at their homes, from a distance.
“When construction opens, hopefully,we’ll see that boost. When retail opens, hopefully, we’ll see that boost,” she said. “Probably the biggest challenge, when you’re a small business, it’s when everything happens at once. You need to be able to do as much business as you can. So we’ll have to make sure that we can stay on top of what needs to be done, so we can take advantage of that boost.”
In the meantime, Ms. Willey said she is keeping busy by consistently refreshing the store’s window, posting merchandise on social media and her website, and bringing shoppers into the shop — albeit virtually — through Facebook Live videos.
“Our figures are definitely down. Having the store closed is a big impact, for sure,” she said. “I’m hoping that the fact that many people are already out here, if things are able to open up safely for June, that maybe we can start to make up for that.
“June is a funny month, in terms of the retail side of things, anyway, because a lot of people are out for the big push for Memorial Day, and then it quiets off while everyone’s waiting for graduations and weddings and things like that, which, obviously, this year won’t be happening,” she continued.
“I’m hopeful! We’re managing. But there’s definitely been a financial impact, there’s no question.”
One fine body…