While some of us have been making a permanent dent in the couch during the pandemic, watching Netflix and our budgets (by switching to boxed wine), others have found creative opportunities by starting a new venture or adjusting their business model to work during these crazy times. Here are a few shining examples in a not-so-shiny year.
The Sanitizer Company
Reacting to her son’s Mother’s Day gift of the url Sanitizer.co (not .com), Anna Miller jumped at the opportunity to help kill the coronavirus. The petite septuagenarian sourced and packed her e-store with all things PPE: masks, shields, dispensers, and yes…sanitizer. Sanitizer in every form you can imagine. In fact, she trademarked an FDA-approved product ToprosanTM, which is 75 percent alcohol, “That’s the amount of alcohol that kills Covid,” Miller says. “Other products have less alcohol that does nothing to Covid.” Her latest product is a shea butter moisturizer cleverly called “Apres” designed to put on “After” sanitizer to combat the drying effect of alcohol.
Heartfelt Crafted Notes
When salons and spas shut down, esthetician Paula Andreozzi had to get creative to supplement her Social Security income. A few years back she had begun crafting note cards as a hobby, but ramped up her efforts when Big Horn was mandated to close their spa.
Unlike most one-dimensional offerings Andreozzi layers her 3D note cards that are hand and die cut as well as embossed. Although you can purchase one, she also offers 6 to 12 cards in the same design, however paper and color may vary.
A true note, Andreozzi usually leaves the inside blank so you can pen your own sentiment. Her website is a work in progress, but in the meantime, you can see her art and contact her via messenger on Instagram for purchases and pricing. instagram.com/heartfeltcraftednotes
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“The word for 2020 is pivot,” says Anna Kula, who is, by trade, an art director with impressive national magazines on her resume. Like many people, her work situation was in flux; magazines were having a tough time of it, and with so much uncertainty in the world, she revisited her past.
Back in 2000, Kula’s knitwear line of hats and scarves were, in a moment that could be in a movie, snapped up by Barney’s and later Eileen Fisher. Kula continued to work as an art director, while still producing knitwear. But this is 2020, and what was needed were masks, and you can’t knit those.
However, Kula’s talents go far beyond knits. She is also an accomplished designer and seamstress. Kula would often get bored with her closet choices, and sew a little something to wear that evening whether to dinner or to an event. They didn’t go unnoticed.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ANNA KULA
Anna Kula shows off one of her mask-matching outfits that she created.
When she decided to help fight COVID-19, Kula wasn’t quick to make the masks. She did her research, found a pattern, tweaked it for ultimate comfort (and non-foggy glasses) then added a filter pocket so you can add further protection. They are also not your standard blue or black. Her wild, fashionable prints have sold over 300 in three months. She has also given many away.
Kula has expanded her offerings to comfy shift dresses with coordinating masks, luxurious caftans, and soon will be adding unisex lounge pants. She proves being safe and comfy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fashion.
Pet rescue has always been Wendy Rall’s thing. Originally a New Jersey girl, Rall left after visiting surfing mecca, Cabo.
A graphic designer by trade, Rall designed logos for local Cabo businesses and did pro bono work for The Cabo San Lucas Humane Society where she is credited as a co-founder.
After many years in Cabo, she ended up in Murrieta, and she fell in love. With a horse, a Gypsy Vanner. If you ever saw one, you would understand why. “I had no business buying a horse,” admits Rall. But she learned fast.
She quickly moved to a horse and dog-friendly residence in Joshua Tree where she continued her graphic design career, and started Rescued Tails to promote animal rescue. That’s when the coronavirus hit, and all of her traditional means of income dried up. Rall decided to expand her Rescued Tails brand.
She now makes neck gaiter masks with dog designs, dog-themed dresses, towels, and her favorite, commissioned pop-art pet portraits. They are so Palm Springs mid-mod, you just might squeal.
CannaBus Express Tours
How do you adapt your business when it’s a tour? Lynne Daniels figured it out by creating “Root To Toot”, 10-to12-minute video segments highlighting every nook and cranny of the cannabis business in the desert. Already three episodes in, and with inquiries from streaming services, she’s prepping for a new episode with her Green Extreme Team, a wide swath of cannabis industry professionals. She promises the episode to be a cross between
Meet The Press and Bill Maher.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CANNABUS EXPRESS TOURS
You can experience the Greater Palm Springs cannabis industry virtually through one of the videos created by owner Lynne Daniels. The real ride hopes to return soon.
If you follow CannaBus Express Tours on Instagram, you know that Daniels stars in daily videos with clever tips as well as funny and some touching cannabis-related videos. Make sure to check out her hilarious “Board of Directors” posts.
As we cautiously move into a new tier that has loosened the restrictions, the CannaBus is ready to roll on the ground again with smaller groups and Covid safety rules.
Home Buzz Staging
Ashlie Burgess was living a good life in Los Angeles as a videographer, choreographer, and as part of a nationally-touring dance troupe. She also handled their social media. Then something happened. She met a guy, and they fell for each other.
He was living in San Diego, but wanted to move back to his hometown, Joshua Tree. And the kicker? Joshua Tree was also Burgess’ hometown, where she grew up with a father in construction, and a mother in home decorating.
In February, the young couple moved together, back to Joshua Tree, just before shelter-in-place began. But by that time, Burgess had already implemented her plan to follow in her family’s footsteps.
Being a successful choreographer/videographer means having a vision, knowing what will be esthetically pleasing to the eye. That transferred well to home staging, interior design, and decluttering homes to make them more attractive to renters and buyers. Although she’s got great genetics in the arena, Burgess gained a RESA certificate. It paid off. homebuzzstaging.com
Tommi Rose’s Drag & Dine Delivery
Chad Gardner has been a steadfast protector of his patrons. He shut down Roly China Fusion and 533 Viet Fusion twice due to Covid. He expanded the outdoor dining at both locations, and, thanks to his landlord at Roly China Fusion, utilized the mezzanine and pool space at Twist to offer al fresco dining. But he wasn’t done.
He read an article about drag queens suffering monetarily during the pandemic and wanted to help. Gardner contacted drag queen, Tommi Rose and her bevy of beauties, and together they created Tommi Rose’s Drag and Dine Delivery.
For $25, a drag queen will deliver your food. For $50, she will sing you a song. For $100, you can (in a week’s advance) choose your queen, and request three songs. This is in addition to the price of food. The service is available Fridays and Saturdays only.
If you have to dine at home, why not invite a queen? rolychinafusion.com
Zin American Bistro
The restaurant has been wowing locals and visitors 364 days a year for 16 years with their food and award-winning wine list. Mindy Reed never had time or opportunity to update her restaurant, nor could she maintain her initial concept: bringing a new culinary experience to Palm Springs.
Reed closed Zin at the start of the pandemic and used the time to refresh the interior, expand outdoor seating, and revamp the menu with award-winning chef, 30-year old Jake McPeck.
“We’re much more farm to table now,” Reed says, emphasizing Peck’s creativity with vegetables. For meateaters, they added a tomahawk steak. And they still have that award-winning wine list. They plan to reopen early October. zinamericanbistro.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ZIN AMERICAN BISTRO
Palm Springs’ favorite burger is back in a brick and mortar. The Cole Hotel is the new home of Brad & Crystal Reihl’s Village Fest and pop-up favorite, The Heyday. Operating from 3-10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, you can get the award-winning smash burger to-go or eat it poolside.
The Cole was recently renovated by Marc Weis, and offers midcentury accommodations, as well as breakfast service from Gabriel Ferguson, the owner of Sunnyboy Biscuit Company in San Diego, from 7 a.m to 1 p.m.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE HEYDAY
The Smashburger has a new home at The Cole Hotel in Palm Springs.
CVRep and Cathedral City Amphitheatre
CVRep will produce socially distanced outdoor events at the amphitheater, including jazz concerts, Latinx programs, a Shakespeare production and other exciting programming.
The ground will be marked out in “pods”, a circled area on the grass, which will include a table and chairs for two or four persons. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. for Saturday performances, with shows beginning at 6 p.m. During the 90-minute performances, enjoy a self-provided or concession-food option, as well as the option to purchase wine, beer, and Pepsi products.
If tiers stay the same or better, they premiere with a holiday show in December.
Desert Rose Playhouse
The Rancho Mirage Playhouse, featuring LGBT productions, has moved into the old Zelda’s space in Palm Springs. Currently being redesigned by producing artistic director, Robbie Wayne, the space will nearly double the number of seats even with social distancing. Their 2020-21 season has not been announced. desertroseplayhouse.org
Musical Theatre University (MTU)
It’s a Broadway TV show featuring a cast of local teen talent at 6:30 p.m. Sundays on KESQ News Channel 3. The show is a partnership between the Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation, Gulf Broadcasting (KESQ – News Channel 3), and David Green’s MTU. The show will run through December, culminating with a two-hour Christmas show.