How to support the wellness small businesses you love right now


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Photo: Getty Images/Thomas Barwick

As social distancing measures have required gyms, fitness studios, restaurants, and salons (among other brick and mortars across the country) to shut their doors for an undetermined amount of time, small businesses in the wellness industry and beyond have found themselves in challenging circumstances. On Thursday, [Solidcore] shared in an e-mail that it was forced to lay off 98 percent of its staff; Flywheel also temporarily laid off 98 percent of staff; and on the same day CAP Beauty announced that it had to cut a significant portion of its staff, as well.

It’s a scary, uncertain time for businesses and individuals alike, and none of us know when this is all going to end, which is especially trying for those who work in the wellness industry without income while shops are closed. So many wellness pros have been there for us in our time of need—through offering free digital fitness classes, Instagram meditations, or showing us how to properly do our own eyebrows on Instagram stories—we owe the same to them. In order to make sure the wellness businesses you love are still around when this is over, here are five ways you can support them—financially or for $0—right now.

Buy a gift card: Though you may not be able to workout at your favorite studio, eat at the pizza place you love, or visit your go-to salon for the next few weeks, eventually, you will be. Help keep them afloat by purchasing a class package (at studios) or a gift card now, which you’ll be able to use in the future.

Book a digital session: While a number of studios are offering digital workouts for free, individual trainers have taken things one step further by offering online personal training via FaceTime or Instagram. A number of beauty pros are offering similar services, like estheticians coaching people through at-home facials and stylists teaching you how to cut your own bangs, so chat with the pros you love and see if they can find a way to offer their expertise from a safe distance of six to 10 feet away for a fee.

Shop online: If a studio or retailer offers some sort of e-commerce (for example, 305 Fitness sells activewear online), now’s a great time to add those leggings you’ve been eyeing all year to your cart. And just think: When the studio does open back up, you’ll have the perfect outfit to wear to the inaugural class.

Venmo people directly: For trainers, stylists, and other wellness pros who rely on in-person classes and appointments for an income, a closed business could put them in a tough immediate financial position. If you’re comfortable, reach out to the people you know and love, and ask them if they need help. There’s also the option of setting up a GoFundMe, and asking other fans to contribute to trainers who have inspired them.

Share on social media: If you’re not in a financial position to support a business right now, there are still ways you can help. Re-post your favorite trainers on social media (so that your friends can now how great they are, too). “Clients are the best form of marketing for small businesses,” says Garrett Bryant, owner of Hawthorne in New York City. “To me, the biggest gift is to give us a shout out on social media—I don’t think people realize how much that means, but any shout out is huge.”

Write a review: “Even before this was happening, getting a five-star review from a client meant the world,” says Bryant. When you leave a Google or Yelp review for a service you love, it will help other people on the Internet realize just how great it is, making them more apt to book one for themselves in the future.

Tell them how much they mean to you: The smallest thing you can do right now for anyone who is struggling is to tell them how much they mean to you. If you’ve been loving the free workouts your favorite trainer has been hosting on Instagram, send them a direct message and let them know… then, for good measure, let everyone else know, too.

Digital fitness has come together to bring us the communities we need right now—here’s why that’s so important. Plus, the best workouts to stream online when going to the gym isn’t an option.

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