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Pandemic entrepreneurs look for success despite challenges

Three metro Atlanta entrepreneurs talk about their experiences creating businesses during the pandemic.

ATLANTA — The challenges of the pandemic have certainly created some trying times for many, but some people were able to turn their situations into life opportunities by becoming pandemic entrepreneurs.

Kalen Redmon and her 8-year-old daughter Sara Isabell are the faces behind Crayon Pendants.

Losing her job in the hospitality industry during the pandemic helped Kalen find her passion, along with a little reverse advice from her daughter.

"I'm always telling her she can do whatever she puts her mind to and her response was, 'why don't you sell the pendants?'" explained Redmon. "I said, 'I don't know if I can do that,' and she said. 'but you're always telling me I can do whatever I want, so why don't you do this?'"

So, Redmon borrowed her daughter's crayons, and turned the shavings into necklaces and bracelets their customers have loved.

"You just have to operate on hope and not fear," said Redmon, "Not be fearful that you might fail."

RELATED: Local entrepreneur beats the odds as pandemic hits female-owned businesses harder, study says

That same spirit pushed Joshua Wilson to key up his own business teaching piano lessons virtually.

"It's my way of giving back, being able to try and help others, give them something to do during the pandemic as well as be able to make a little bit of a living off of it as well," he said.

Wilson still has his day job, but with clients from as young as five to as old as in their 60s, he's hoping to expand and continue beyond the pandemic.

Georgia is no stranger to the entrepreneurial spirit. The Georgia Department of Economic Development analyzed increases in entrepreneurial activity rates over the past decade. Georgia ranked No. 2 out of all 50 sates, with Atlanta, Marietta and Sandy Springs leading the way.

That's of course taken a hit with the pandemic.

Tracktherecovery.org is a platform created to follow the impacts of COVID-19. When the site compared March of this year to January 2020 pre-pandemic, it found the number of small businesses opening in Georgia dropped by more than 32 percent.

RELATED: Businesses, Georgians torn on orders lifting most state COVID restrictions

Still, budding business owners Kim Brown and Dwan Kirtdoll didn't let the odds stop them.

They launched dog grooming business Canine Cuties in South Fulton. 

"This is our time to live our lives. We don't know if we're gonna have tomorrow. We don't know if we're gonna have next year," said Kirtdoll.

With clients who love their pets like family, the pair had a list of clients ready and waiting before they opened in January.

Brown, who recently lost her husband, said he pushed her to follow her dream and she's finally going for it.

"I promised him I wouldn't give up," said Brown. "I just want to say it's never too late to start your dream, even during a pandemic. Don't let a pandemic scare you into not following your dreams."

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