Alfonso Ali Wright and his partner Jamila McGill run the New York-based company Brooklyn Tea, a tea room and Black-owned business in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. From Covid-19 to the recent protests across the US, what does it take to survive the unexpected as a small business?
We spoke to Alfonso for the Courier podcast. Listen above or read the story below.
Q. Is it difficult to plan the month-to-month of your business amid the constant crises?
‘I mean, we're in a bad dystopian movie right now. I guess when the zombies come out we'll start selling something to them! ’
Q. Zombies might love tea…
‘We'll convert them. What we’re really doing is taking it day-by-day. What Covid taught us is that we have to be adaptable. We have to pivot. We have to evolve. So, whatever comes next, we're going to take it as it is and do whatever we can to overcome it. And that's really all we can do. We plan in the moment and think of a short term strategy – how can we get through this month? And then, alright, something weird happened – how can we get through next month?
Until the pandemic is over or until there's a vaccine, it seems almost foolish – because we don't know when the next wave is going to happen – to make long-term plans, unless it's years out. But because we're a new business, years out is a little crazy! We have no historical data to go by. So we're focusing our energy on how can we pivot, evolve and adapt to what's coming this week and next week, just to stay alive.’