Starting your own business during a pandemic

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — The COVID-19 pandemic has made many rethink their careers and what truly makes them happy.

“Some of them, it’s because they’ve had their kids at home, or maybe their position got eliminated,” said Nikki Riojas, President of the Women’s Entrepreneur Society of Corpus Christi.

“Or, because they’re spending so much more time at home they’re able to focus on passion projects that they haven’t been able to do.”

Riojas said she has seen a surge in new women-owned businesses just this year.

As the founder and president of WES-CC, Riojas hopes to reach out to other female entrepreneurs. She recently started consulting through the Small Business Development Center at Del Mar College. Riojas works with small business owners to focus on areas of marketing, e-commerce, social media and creative services while struggling with the pandemic.

One local woman, Monica Briones, began a new business during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Just a few years ago, Briones worked in New York City in the high-profile fashion industry.

“I started out at Vera Wang working in PR, and then went around and started to produce fashion photoshoots for different companies,” she said.

Briones then found out she had ovarian cancer, and she came back to Texas.

“One of the biggest things that I’ve beaten is cancer, maybe even the biggest battle of my life.”

Now, just a couple years into remission, Briones found a new career in real estate. She said the freedom of real estate and staying home during a pandemic helped her become more creative.

With her sewing skills, she began making masks for the community.

“Having those finances roll in I became more confident in being more creative and I thought, why don’t I sew a bikini?”

Briones said it was a bit scary sewing fabric like nylon and spandex, but it was a fulfilling making her own swimsuit.

With experience having her own businesses in NYC and working in fashion, Briones decided to open her own swimsuit boutique.

“I found peace in the coastal bend, and I found recovery here, I love my hometown,” Briones said.

“It’s just awesome to be behind the machine, or if I’m not sewing them, to pick them and buy them from local designers to national designers and put it out there.”

Briones swimsuit boutique is Lynn Swim & Co. Currently, she creates and packages from her apartment in downtown Corpus Christi, but hopes to open a shop in the near future.

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