No sane person will say the coronavirus pandemic was a blessing in disguise.
However, one Solana Beach businesswoman will admit it forced her to rethink her business. She’ll also admit it paid off.
The DIY Headquarters sits inside a tiny blue house along the Cedros Avenue Design District.
“We sell DIY products,” said Debi Beard. “We take unlikely objects and turn them into art.”
Beard is the brains behind the DIY Headquarters and Debi’s Design Diary on YouTube. She started the storefront with her mother 21 years ago.
She never had to close until the State of California forced her to close in March because of the pandemic.
“My heart sank to my feet,” said Beard. “It was horrible. It was horrible and scary.”
Making matters worse, Debi Beard never DIYed a website to sell directly to DIYers at home even though she produced YouTube videos for years.
“I didn’t want to take that on,” admitted Beard. “It was overwhelming. I’m not the most tech-savvy person.”
“She wears probably a hundred hats every day,” said Elle Flores, Beard’s niece and employee.
It took a pandemic to get Beard to start selling online. She said she built a website and started selling just a few weeks after closing her doors.
“I didn’t expect it to work like it did,” exclaimed Beard. “For the brick-and-mortar that I’ve had for 21 years, it quadrupled our sales.”
She has sold four-times more merchandise and DIY material online than she ever did with her doors open.
“I’m super stoked,” said Flores. “I’m able to make a full income.”
Besides keeping her small staff intact, Beard hired more people.
“My mom’s working. I’m working,” laughed Flores. “So, she’s got her whole family on payroll.”
However, Beard doesn’t think she can reopen her store on Cedros Avenue even if it was allowed by the state.
“We can’t! It’s full of boxes and shipping supplies,” she said.
It’s a good problem to have when so many businesses are struggling.
“I think there’s the right time for everything in life,” said Flores.
“I think we’ve all been taken by surprise,” agreed Beard.
Debi Beard said she is now looking to expand her DIY Headquarters with a second location in Encinitas.