We had the good fortune of connecting with Toni Covington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Toni, How did you find time as a mother with a full-time corporate career to start your own business?
In an honest moment I can truly say finding time was second nature to produce this balancing act. But taking on a business was next level “balance”. I realized that something was going to suffer, and it was not going to be my children nor my corporate career. So, I retired my competition suite( bodybuilding) and focused on building my company.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a Facility Project Manager/CFM and the Owner and Founder of Just A Sip Shop. I’ve been in the facility management field for over 10yrs. I started out as a facility admin for GE Capital. I ran my first corporate relocation move and was soon promoted to facility technician. Over the next few years I found it necessary to polish my skill set as an FT. After working with government contractors and DoD I would get my chance. I got the call from Microsoft to lead a field office as the Facility Manager. In the midst of taking this opportunity I was also developing my hair and skin care company Just A Sip Shop. 2018 Just A Sip Shop launched in 2019 and I soon realized I needed more funding for production and taking out a loan or going into debt was not an option. I landed a new position with a higher title as well as higher salary. It was an over all win. As Just A Sip started to take off, I realized my skill of balancing would have to be just as strong. It was not an easy feat. I stopped competing in the NPC and my time management shifted for my household. There are so many proud moments, but the ones that stick out the most would be my role as the Lead Facility Manager for the Alternative Care Site for HSEMA ( Covid-19) in Washington DC. And Just A Sip Shop receiving its Leaping Bunny Certification.
What is an ACS?
An ACS is the abbreviation for Alternative Care Site. Alternative care sites provide essential capacity to cope with the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. Toni Covington of JDC, facilitated the DC-based ACS located at the Walter E Convention center. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2020, activating emergency protocols under the Department of Health (DOH) and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA).
How did you scale your business in a Pandemic?
During the current pandemic, it was essential to pivot in a way to keep us growing and without being heavily impacted financially with the Covid-19 crisis. We temporarily shut down product production to focus on providing PPE to those in need. None of those efforts would be possible without our Shopify platform. Because of those efforts, we saw an 80% growth in revenue and more customer engagement. We enabled direct communication with our customers, provided cash giveaways and donations to charitable organizations.
We are now available on Walmart.com, Amazon.com, expanded into Beauty Supply Stores and we have participated in our first ECRM Buyer meeting with Target, Walgreens, Giant Foods and more.
What advice can you give other women who want to start their own business, but also have a full plate?
My advice for women that want to start a business that also have a full plate, do not be afraid to start small & build your business affectively for the long haul. Be realistic in your goals and capital. Know your target audience like that the back of your hand. Lastly and most importantly take your time and have fun.