Heart emojis and messages of support flooded the comments. It’s hard to imagine that any store, restaurant, or market isn’t suffering right now, regardless of its size. But it’s the small, independent shops that are being hit the hardest: They don’t have cushions of investor capital or massive global teams to keep the lights on without money coming in. Plus, things were already tough for retail before the virus set in. “No one was in amazing shape before this,” Beattie tells Vogue. “But we had a really great beginning of March. People were coming in to buy things for their spring break trips, and they just seemed really excited by new spring merchandise. It was helpful that the temperatures were warming up. Then on Thursday of last week, things slowed down a lot, and by Friday, [they] came to a screeching halt.” She continues: “It’s conflicting [to close] because the people who came in did so because they said we make them feel happy, and that we were a much-needed distraction from the news. Our customers have said we’re a store that feels like an escape from reality, even in good times, but even more so lately.”

Photo: Courtesy of Warm

Because Warm was conceived as that IRL, personal experience, it hasn’t had an e-commerce platform. Customers have been sending Beattie e-mails or Instagram DMs to place orders, or just to say hi, and her team is offering to consult with shoppers via e-mail or phone for home delivery. Beattie said she feels now isn’t the time to push sales too hard, but the prospect of closing the store for weeks, if not an entire month, has forced her to reconsider a website. “We always loved the idea of people having to experience things in the store—the smell, the touch, and making everything tactile,” she says. “But that sure doesn’t work in strange times like this. It has made us realize we need to have multiple channels to reach people in the future, and that while the in-store experience is romantic, there is a place for the practical as well.” (Right now, she and her team are working on putting together an edit of their favorite new arrivals to launch online, but in the meantime, you can snag her tie-dyed hoodies via Instagram. Warm’s in-house collection of printed dresses, which is a separate business, does have its own website you can shop now.)

Still, Beattie was refreshingly candid about the struggles of launching a new platform with minimal revenue coming in. She’s also had another challenge thrown into the mix: homeschooling her three sons, whose schools have all closed for the foreseeable future. “I’m not an educator, and it is legitimately challenging,” she says. “I’m trying to do that while I’m designing my spring 2021 collection [for Warm’s in-house line], and Rob is trying to put together as many jobs as he can for his photographers [editor’s note: Magnotta is also the president of a photography agency]. The homeschool really takes a lot of organization, and I’m not super tech savvy, so even all of this electronic learning and Zoom is an entire crash course for me, too.”

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