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Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, parents have had to keep their kids occupied as schools and after-school programs shut down across the country. As a result, the U.S. toy industry has experienced a dollar sales increase by $256 million to $3.6 billion according to NPD sales data.
The arts and crafts category has driven that growth and small business owner Sondra Mansfield has seen an uptick in her prodcuts' online sales.
“What has happened during the pandemic is that our sales on Amazon and our website have gone up dramatically over the past two months,” said Mansfield. “They've been up over 200 percent versus last year.”
The mother-of-two founded Chalk of the Town with her sister in 2016. Her customizable t-shirt kits, patches and tote bags for adults and kids have clever “ChalkBoard” designs so customers can create unique drawings right onto the shirt. By 2020, Mansfield, a native New Yorker, was running a successful and profitable business.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., she immediately wanted to help her community. Mansfield saw people losing their jobs around her and understood the growing food insecurity in New York, so she partnered with City Harvest.
“I live in New York City, I'm raising my kids in New York City, and I love New York City,” said Mansfield. “When the pandemic hit, I knew I had to help the city that [I] loved and knew that people were going hungry. So I decided to partner with City Harvest and give 10-percent of our website sales to the organization.”
The "mompreneur" added that she hopes to inspire other small businesses to partner with their local food bank or charity. What has also been encouraging to Mansfield is how people have been using her products to send positive messages and maintain connections.
“This little girl wrote a note to her teacher saying that she missed her teacher on one of our shirts, and she wore it on a Zoom call for class,” explained Mansfield. “And her mom wrote me a note and said that her teacher cried because she was so moved.”
Mansfield recalled another story where a family placed an erasable Chalk of the Town chalkboard patch on their mailbox and writes notes to their mailman every day to thank him for delivering their mail to them.
“So many people are suffering right now, I’m so I’m fortunate to be in a position to help in a number of small ways,” said Mansfield. “Being a New Yorker, I can say from experience, we’re going to get through this and come out stronger. We always do.”
For more on Chalk of the Town and founder Sondra Mansfield, watch the full interview above.
Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.