by Maria Cordova
Businesses in Fredericton have shown resilience in many different ways. Some business show resilience by thinking differently and adapting, others have shown resilience simply by not closing. Then there’s the ones that have shown resilience by giving back to the community, even if they have lost almost all of their business. This is the case of Nobility Clothing, a wedding dress design business owned by Natalie Noble.
The restrictions imposed during the pandemic meant that big events—such as weddings—had to be cancelled or postponed. Noble felt like she was at the whim of COVID, as her business is hyper focused on the wedding industry. “If there are no weddings I am not doing much.” Nobility Clothing had to shut down for the first two months of the pandemic. When things started to open back up, the business could only operate at a 40-45% capacity, as most weddings have been moved to next year. Nobility Clothing relied on the people who were content with having smaller weddings. “For people like my myself that have their own businesses, it’s a struggle because we are literally one shut down away of not being necessarily able to sustain the business.”
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Noble cannot run her business remotely, clients have to come into her house for the fittings. Therefore, she started making masks for her clients as a precaution. Soon after, more businesses had to close, but she decided to keep making the masks and give them out to the community. When she advertised her masks on Facebook, they became really popular, at one point she had 250 messages from people asking for masks. She gave away around a thousand masks to the community. “There was a point where I became addicted, I wanted to do more, I want to support the community that has supported me for the last 26 years, I want to give back to the people that have given so much to me.”
Noble accumulated a $900 fabric bill from her donations, so she started selling masks to businesses. From a business perspective, Noble mentioned her business model is flawed because it is 5 to 1, she has given 5 masks away and got payed for 1. Nonetheless, she still wants to give masks away to the people that need them. She has asked her friends to donate to their favorite charities instead of paying for the masks. “I just want to help out, this is what I can do, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a frontline person, I don’t stock shells at the grocery stores, I sell.” She does even more than that though, as she also cooks and bakes for her local community. Noble prepared hot meals for the seniors in her community, as well as some pastries. Furthermore, she started supporting the community by making isolation gowns, an initiative that started as a request from her dentist. Selling isolation gowns is one of the things she expects to do during the fall.
Now that her business is slowly starting to pick up, Noble’s main priority is to keep her clients as safe as possible, in order to get her brides back. “Oddly enough, when I started back