Small Business Resiliency: AR Workshop


As a local small business that works with other small businesses, Des Moines Mom knows first hand how hard the last year has been. Through a pandemic, reduced operating hours, restrictions, and more, we have all had to learn to be flexible and pivot in ways we never imagined.

We know that small businesses are the heart of our community. From local bakeries and restaurants to boutiques and handmade markets, these storefronts and the entrepreneurs who own them are what make our city great.

In this resiliency series, Des Moines Mom is highlighting several of our favorite locally owned businesses and sharing how they have survived and even thrived through the last year.

As moms, we know a thing or two about being resilient and we are committed to celebrating it in ourselves and others. Now more than ever it is vital that we spend our dollars locally and support these businesses. We are all stronger together! 

AR Workshop

How did you pivot your business once you realized covid-19 was not going to be a short-term problem?

When we were shut down due to Covid, we decided to short-term sell mini project kits that individuals could create at home instead of at the workshop and called it DIY To-Go. A few months into the closure, we updated designs for the project offerings and added a few additional project sizes to keep things fresh.

DIY To-Go was only supposed to last until we were able to open but since it was going so well for our location, we chose to continue offering it after we re-opened in June. DIY To-Go offerings and designs continue to evolve, including the creation of our very own branded non-toxic paints that allows you to get even more creative with your color combinations!

What changes did you make that have continued to be helpful or beneficial to your business?

The birth of DIY To-Go carved out an additional revenue stream for us that we previously didn’t have and frankly, didn’t want as it was always about the experience in the workshop. DIYing in your home is a much different experience than the workshop so it was important to us that we make it an easy fool-proof process. Because it was so successful and reached an audience we didn’t previously have, we decided to keep DIY To-Go long term.

Being able to adjust the size of our tables and increase the number of tables we had actually added 4 additional spots in the workshop and really allows us to hold more than we were previously able to due to social-distancing guidelines and COVID precautions.

What staffing changes have you made?

We are grateful to say we kept our full-time person employed over the closure (and beyond) and just simply didn’t have work for those when we were closed. Once we re-opened, we slowly added classes and continue to work our part-time staff as normal. My normal job duties were thrown out the window to be as hands-on as I could packing DIY kits, but with classes happening, I’ve been able to jump back into my old role.

How have you maintained a sense of gratitude or optimism during these difficult times?

If I’m being honest, I haven’t always! It was a very hard season for us when the reality hit that we had to shut down and not having a clear return date was difficult. Midway through, I started to count my blessings at home and focus on the things that I could truly control because it was challenging to be faced with all the circumstances I couldn’t. I was determined to find joy in the small victories and remind myself that these really are the days I will one day want to remember- how I persevered through this economic climate and raised toddlers at the same time- a major victory for sure! I know we’ve got battles upon us that we’ve not yet faced, but I feel better equipped to handle what lies ahead.

If you could go back a year tell yourself one thing, what would it be?

Oh Laura, your faith and perseverance will get you through.

ar workshop ankenyConnect with AR Workshop® Ankeny

Email: [email protected]




Phone: 515-207-3772


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