Boaz Chan and Eddison Ng, owner of Coastal Reign in Vancouver
With 50% of sales declining overnight, business owners Boaz Chan and Eddison Ng moved fast to save Coastal Reign, their t-shirt printing business. To survive the pandemic, they pivoted to making face masks. It helped save their community and the livelihoods of their employees.
“I hope we all learn that things like pandemics are beyond our control, but what we can control is how fast we can get back up. The more we help those around us, the faster we can all get back up together.” – Boaz Chan, co-owner of Coastal Reign.
Identifying a gap in the market can launch a new business. And that’s how Boaz Chan and Eddison Ng came to found Coastal Reign Printing. Seeking custom printed clothing for their high school grad, most shops required them to physically visit for a quote. So Chan and Ng launched an online shopping alternative. It featured an online designer, an instant pricing calculator, and exceptional customer service all in one platform. But when the pandemic hit, they knew they had to pivot in order to survive.
Chan says, “Our business decreased by 50%, orders were getting cancelled, and work was drying up for our employees. So we came up with the #VancouverStrong movement.” They created a line of merchandise with the slogan as a way to keep their presses running and fundraise for the frontline. All proceeds from their #VancouverStrong merch benefitted the BC Centre for Disease Control Foundation.
When businesses started reopening, they noticed masks were becoming a necessity to keep both employees and customers safe. So they spent two straight weeks researching and testing the best ways to make them. “After that, we were able to create several styles of masks that were suitable for non-medical industries. We also wanted to help small companies get started up again, so we started a campaign #CoastalReignCares providing free custom printed face masks to businesses around us.”
It’s inspiring to see how swiftly they were able to turn a negative situation into something positive. Not only did they manage to find a way to minimize layoffs, but they found an opportunity to help their community get back on its feet. Chan remains hopeful as he looks to the future. “There is always light at the end of the tunnel. While we're going through this time, keep thinking on your feet and be flexible. Continue to pivot until you find what works for you.”
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