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Two years into the COVID-19 crisis, why are some businesses thriving while others still struggle?

阅读中文版本 | Dalam Bahasa Indonesia

They say there is opportunity in every crisis, and Juhee Jolapara knows it firsthand.

“I had absolutely no idea that we would be able to grow so quickly,” said the owner of Jolampara, which designs South Asian couture for weddings and cultural events.

Started as a passion project alongside her banking job at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the 26-year-old entrepreneur didn’t see it coming at all.

Juhee Jolapara moved consultations online during lockdowns.(ABC News: John Gunn)

“I’ve always been so passionate about fashion, especially South Asian fashion. It’s a big part of my culture; being Indian is part of my identity.”

Her initial plan to open a shop in Parramatta was disrupted by the subsequent lockdowns.

Instead, she converted a spare room at her Western Sydney home into a boutique, selling and renting hundreds of clothing items a year.

Two women stand in a room with a clothes rack in between.
Juhee Jolapara says the “erratic” pandemic forced her to change her business model, but that has paid off. (ABC News: John Gunn)

She said social media strategy was behind the surprising success.

“Don’t underestimate the impact of social media and word of mouth,” she said.

“And on the back of that, we have some influencers and some local celebrities in other countries, who would be quite well-known in our South Asian community.”

‘Thinking outside the square’ and capitalizing online

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen more than half of the world’s population in lockdowns, with more people than ever stuck at home and shopping online.