Who could have ever seen how the world was turned upside down by COVID? Lots of lessons to be learned, and if you are a businessman, you should take notes and make plans. Scratch that, if you are a human, you should take notes and make plans. Like: when it comes to toilet paper, buy more or use less.
The pandemic showed us a lot about what can happen and who wields the power when things get crazy. Before this, I would never have expected a governor to have the power they seem to have in several states. Many of the people I thought would never be scared of anything seemed the most frightened, and those that have to sleep with the light on were brazenly saying “bring it on, que sera, sera.” Businesses that many thought would fail have flourished, and vice versa. It has been a crazy time to say the least.
Here is what I learned as a farrier and a businessman, which I think has some value to the youngster that is looking into becoming a farrier. Animal welfare workers are considered essential. (Just a side note here. I believe that if you were bringing home a paycheck from any job, from barber to lawyer, you are an essential worker. Just ask those families that lost the earning power of their “essential worker”.) When it all shook out, horses feet continued to grow while COVID wreaked havoc on the world. Despite everything else that was going on, the demand for shoeing and trimming was still there and many farriers saw their businesses explode. All of a sudden, flying to Disney World was off the schedule, but riding those beautiful horses was back on.
First point, if people don’t spend money on the once in a while big-ticket recreational item (exotic vacation), they are more likely to spend money on the smaller things close to home that bring them joy, (horses). In pandemic times, those smaller things are likely to be safe to do and not crowded, and enjoying horses can be perfect. If your job is servicing those horses, all of a sudden you have more work than ever before.
The second point is that I would want to be working in a trade that the government looked at as essential. If you sold hotdogs at the ballpark, worked as a DJ in a club, owned a restaurant, tattoo artist, etc., 2020 was a very difficult year. The list of occupations that the government was able to shut down (I know, I am still amazed) was pretty astonishing. Thank the Lord, Missouri is a pretty conservative part of the US, so it was not as bad as some places. My folks and brother’s family live in New Mexico, and governmental policies have been devastating to many businesses there. Look at the history of this pandemic, and then see if there was a career you want that was also deemed essential through the pandemic in the state you want to live in. Farriery might just be your perfect fit.
Next point: Getting product became a bit of a problem for some folks as the pandemic wore on. My hoof knives were on backorder for a couple of months, and the problem persists as factories deal with getting the raw materials they need to make the products we want. There is always a trickle down effect with these sort of things, so if the government decides that woodcutters in the knife handle business are not essential, then pretty soon knives can’t be made by the knife making factory. Anyway, the next thing I learned was to keep a bigger inventory than I did before the pandemic. If you are able, I would suggest a 50% addition to your inventory. The nice thing about farriery products is that most of them have an indefinite shelf life. Not all of the stuff like the glues and acrylics, but shoes and nails that are kept dry will last for centuries.
Fourth on my list, almost all the stuff we use became more expensive. Simple supply and demand principle. Combine the increase in horse use with the difficulty in getting some supplies and it was a perfect storm for higher priced product. That only reinforces the last point of increasing inventory.
And my final suggestion is to pray and ignore the media. We have quit watching the news around here, and that has been great for our mental state. We also continue to pray for our country, our world and its leaders. I am sure God’s hand is in all of this, and someday we will look back on it and understand it better. Be blessed.