Small Business/Big Challenges: Mylen Yamamoto, Founder & Owner, Cropsticks
What has been Cropsticks’ latest pivot or innovation?
Immediately, we have lowered our minimums for distributor and restaurant partners on any new orders to help us all get through this. In addition, we now offer consulting for restaurants looking to enhance their takeout packaging, marketing and branding needs. Finally, we are seeking corporations interested in putting their logos on our Cropsticks and straw wrappers, which will enable us to give out product freely to the most in-need restaurant partners and give the corporate sponsor brand recognition for their community support.
What has been your company’s latest opportunity or opportunities?
With fewer in-person meetings and more time available, there is opportunity to exercise creativity. For example, I launched an informative YouTube channel “Can my small business survive?” that shares resources for small businesses that Cropsticks comes across as it fights to survive this pandemic.
How has your company’s experience been with any level of government during this crisis?
We were very thankful to receive the EIDL Advance Grant, but we are still waiting on PPP to come through, if ever.
In what ways do you think your business will be different at the end of this year?
I will have a clearer answer once shelter-in-place lifts and I can see all my friends back at restaurants, staying at hotels and flying airplanes. These are our customers. When they thrive again, Cropsticks will too.
What advice for other companies?
Lead with empathy because this pandemic will go away but your relationships will last. At the same time, I know empathy doesn’t pay the bills so stay on top of any government paperwork or talk to an SBA representative who can assist. Pivot if you can but be sure it aligns with your values and mission. Also, it’s OK to not have all the answers, so be gentle on yourself.