Our brand all started because of our community. Each and every product and formula has been created alongside our co-creators. They help guide us to figure out what is missing from the market and help outline what people actually use. That's why our relationship with our community is so important to us at Alleyoop, they helped build our company in more ways than they may realize.

When all of this craziness started, all of us had anxiety, uncertainty, and some level of fear. Many of us started to dive into content like Tiger King as a way to disassociate from this stressful news. However, after getting through three episodes, I realized this content was also deeply unsettling. That's when I came to a major realization, I can control what I take in, and I need to change it.

At that point, I started putting my effort into focusing on the good that was happening. Even just the little things — like the extra time I got to spend with my toddler. Because of all this chaos, I got to watch her say her first full sentences. Something I would have never experienced if I was working my 12 hour days away from home.

I also started to practice gratitude two times a day instead of just one. As I continued to consider the positive changes that have come about in this time of crisis, I continued to find things to be thankful for. I realized I was connecting to my parents, friends, and siblings deeper because when we video chat now a cell phone or social media couldn't distract us. Our conversations became deeper, our engagement was authentic, and our time was more well spent. We may not be able to see each other in person, but somehow we've been able to be just, if not more, close.

I started chatting with our co-creators Slack channel and our team and realized they also fell into the negative trap I had found myself stuck in. That's when I started sharing how I was taking control of what I was taking in.

As they began taking this advice, they also shared how much it resonated with them and helped them through their own struggles. We decided our larger community needed this same insight. We realized how deep our conversations were getting with each other — as far as talking about emotions instead of the products. So we decided to view this as a larger opportunity to connect with our community on a deeper level.

No, we didn't talk about the products. We just talked about things that brought us joy. We decided to focus on the beauty of this time, instead of on beauty alone. We decided to be a source of good news, positive energy, and good, old-fashioned fun.

We played bingo with our fans and did a team scavenger hunt. Yes, we played a virtual scavenger hunt. To play, one person picks a thing to hunt, for example, "Find sunscreen." Everyone runs about to find it in their hours, and the first person back gets three points, second person two points, and everyone else gets one point. The person with the most points at the end wins!

We even shared funny memes and videos because we had promised to share anything that made us feel good. We now end each week with "This week's wins!" so that we have something positive to hold in our heads and think about sharing at the end of the week. This week we even played So True Or So False! To play, we ask personal questions and everyone holds up a sign with one side reading true and the other false. You just flip your sign to answer each question and start getting to know your teammates!

This experience has taught us all that we can always come back to selling products, but the root of what we stand for is to sell you what you need and nothing more. And with what was going on, what we all need is (free) positive content, not things.

We also all took on journaling two times a day and discussed what a great impact it had on us. It had such a positive impact that we decided to make our gratitude journal digital and give it away for free to all our followers. Just another way to bring some free and open positivity out into the world.

The question we start our days with now is: "What can we do today to help our community?" In line with that question, we repurposed our marketing budget to give away $10,000 worth of free products to frontline workers to help bring them some joy with a fun package to look forward to when they get their time back. We also changed our whole marketing plan around Mother's Day. Instead of making a video about products perfect for mothers, we scrapped that entire plan and made a fun and funny video that had nothing to do with our products. (It was just released, so check it out for a good laugh!)

What we are doing is definitely risky, and it's without-a-doubt costing us money. But we are determined to focus on the beauty of this time instead of on beauty. But someone once told me, you can always work to make money, you won't always have an opportunity to make an impact. When the opportunity comes, take it,
. Now is the time to really stand behind our mission: "To help women thrive by making rule-breaking tools [both mental and physical] that move her forward, not just by bringing her closer to what she values, but by breaking down the social constructs that are holding her back." A big part of this, now and always, is building meaningful relationships with our customers since really they are the reason we exist.


Leila Kashani