ShopHERE Brings New Life to MaRiTama HOME
As an Industrial Engineer, Lina Awad was typically exposed to long working hours in a high-stress environment. Luckily, she was always able to turn to art as a way to cope. However, Lina’s world changed when she was blessed with three children in the span of two years. Although it is the most rewarding job in the world, being a mom to young children is extremely challenging as many of us can understand, so Lina decided to leave her career behind to become a stay-at-home mom.
As her children got older, Lina was able to find more time to create and explore new forms of expression. When Lina discovered furniture refinishing and restoration, she fell in love with art all over again. After attending a number of workshops and watching countless tutorials on restoration techniques, Lina realized that she had real potential of doing this professionally. She decided to start her own business called MaRiTama HOME, that offers a wide range of hand-painted products and custom painting services. Lina has started selling her furniture in local stores and she was beginning to see significant growth as people started learning about her brand. However, ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, people have been unable to go out and shop. As a result, Lina found herself and her business at a standstill.
With big ticket items like furniture, there is a large emphasis on in-person sales and marketing strategies. For this reason, business became very difficult for MaRiTama HOME under the new and online-focused business environment. The nation-wide closures really highlighted the importance of building a strong online presence. Lina knew that developing an eCommerce store was critical to the success of her business. However, she did not have the knowledge nor the skills to begin.
“I always wanted a professional online site for my work and never had the time nor means to do that. I am not very bright when it comes to technology and my ShopHERE Helper was so patient with me. She spent hours upon hours guiding and helping me. If it wasn't for her, I would have not been able to do this.”
After stumbling upon the ShopHERE Program, Lina was able to escape from this period of stagnant growth. “COVID-19 has impacted everyone in the market including myself. The ShopHERE Program was a great initiative that was established and came at the perfect time. Personally, it is something that helped me tremendously.” The Digital Main Street team provided her with the tools and resources to continue growing her business during an economic downturn. Now that MaRiTama is set up with a professional website, Lina has the ability to advertise on a larger scale and reach a wider audience. With the new skills that she has gained, Lina hopes to achieve national and international brand recognition someday.
In the same way ShopHERE brought new life to this business, MaRiTama HOME continues to bring new life to furniture and homes everyday. Explore Lina’s unique products and services to move one step closer to your furniture and home décor goals! Click here to sign up for yourself.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.