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Monday, July 4, 2022

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Small studio…BIG pandemic: Little Me Studio pivots for children’s interactive arts experiences

 

COVID-19 has created many challenges for the people of Kankakee County. 

It has touched everyone, every business, and every industry in some way. We have all had to make changes to cope with the fact that we are in a global pandemic and things are not currently running the way they did previously. We all know what the major businesses are doing to address COVID-19 since we frequent these places every day. 

We know the large grocery stores are enforcing the use of masks, social distancing, and limited guests. Many restaurants are offering carryout meals and curbside pickup. But what about small businesses? What are they changing? How are they doing? What can we do to show our support? One of these locally owned businesses that have been making changes during this challenging time is Little Me Studio.

Little Me Studio is a premier children’s activity space located at 447 S Main Street in Bourbonnais, located across the street from Olivet Nazarene University. 

When you look at the space, you will immediately see a cute and colorful banner in the window, giving off a fun and whimsical feel. Inside, you will find a lovely children’s art studio, a gift shop full of locally sourced handmade goods, and a workspace in the back for workshops, classes, and other creative events. Little Me Studio truly is a gem for our community! I spoke with the studio owner Nikki Moore, and we discussed the many adjustments she has had to make to cope with COVID-19 and the challenges that have been arising because of it.

What did you do before the pandemic?

“Little Me Studio opened in 2015 offering parent & child enrichment programs for children age 6 months to 12 years in art, music, stem and sign language, arts & crafts summer camps and seasonal workshops, drop-in DIY activities for all ages, paint parties, birthday parties, and an amazing preschool transition program. We had even just completed an expansion into space next door with a locally sourced maker’s gift shop and dedicated art room when the pandemic hit.”

How has the pandemic affected you?

“Suddenly, all of our activities – and I mean all of them – came to a screeching halt because we couldn’t have anyone in the studio. And that was the entire premise of what we offered – a community of sorts where families could come together, bond over creating art or dancing to music, meet and socialize with other adults and children.”

What have you changed to cope with Covid-19 and what are you offering now?

“We quickly realized that we needed to either throw in the towel on 5 years of this business that we all love so much or pivot – so we created a virtual storefront and offered contact-free curbside pickup where we sell To-Go DIY Craft Kits, Process Art Activity Boxes, Sensory Bins, Home Decor, Bows, Earrings, Baby Gifts – all handmade by local artists and creatives. And just 2 weeks ago we launched our first virtual art class on Zoom. 

We had a couple of hiccoughs getting it up and running, but we have worked through the kinks and are looking forward to adding more virtual classes and we’ve even shifted all of our Summer Art Camps so families can do them on their own time in their own homes with “Camp in a Box” – we have 15 themes in the works with everything from Mermaids and Unicorns to Sports, Legos, and Dinosaurs. 

It’s sure to be a ton of fun for the kids and hopefully offer some relief to exhausted parents. We also super excited to announce we will have our amazing birthday parties available for families again very soon – but in an entirely new way with birthday party parade decor, birthday gift ideas for kids, wrapped and ready for giving, art boxes for families to host their own Zoom birthday parties with friends and we’re also in the process of photographing all of our carefully selected birthday party decor to begin renting these items to families who are having intimate birthday parties at home – Little Me Studio’s Birthday in a Box, if you will.”

How are things going with your new methods?

“We’re learning as we go. Some things have been a big hit right away while others we found just weren’t going to work in these changing times. But, we are so grateful to our community for continuing to support us and thankful for our amazing employees who have stuck with us throughout this pandemic and who are willing to continue to teach classes and offer art and music to our community in new and exciting ways.”

Want to show your support? Visit them online at littlemestudio.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to be kept up to date on virtual events and kits available for pickup. Also, be sure to join their new Facebook group called “Little Me Studio VIP Shopping” to see all the new merchandise that is filling up their new gift shop! We are all in this together, figuring it out one step at a time, so let’s make sure we are supporting our locally owned businesses! Be well!

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