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At Home: Tina Burgos, Owner of Covet + Lou

Tina Burgos | At Home

At Home is about self-care. We're asking some of our favorite people what's keeping them well.

Where is home for you right now?

I'm vacillating between our modest old colonial home and Covet + Lou, which are located less than one mile apart from each other. I've been able to create a nice balance for myself in that I am able to spend quality time with my husband, Dave, and twins, but am able to also access a space of tranquility and relative quiet in the store (that is when I don't have the Sonos system on full blast).

What are you doing to keep yourself calm?

At first I was in extreme panic mode. I have a tendency toward anxiety so having to grapple with the shelter-in-place order seemed really daunting. How will this affect my girls and their academic and social development? How will Dave and I manage our close quarters without murderous actions taking place? How am I going to take care of my employees? Do we have enough damn toilet paper? But now that we are living in this new normal, I have a better handle on expectations, which has calmed me down significantly.

I also find that working on the business has centered me. I have a pretty high level of self-motivation, and that drives me to be proactive to tackle challenging situations. So I am constantly strategizing to not only ensure Covet + Lou survives the pandemic, but is in a healthy position to move forward when we transition past this difficult time.

Finally, I'm trying to stay active. I'm a gym rat so not having access to treadmills, dumb bells, and the bench press has forced me to find alternative forms of exercise. I've been spending a lot of time on my bike cruising the neighborhood with the girls. And I take a few online streaming classes to combat the copious amounts of wine I've been consuming.

What are you watching / reading / listening to?

Watching: I've had the pleasure of introducing the Gilmore Girls to the twins, so we watch a couple of episodes each night after dinner. In my mind, I'm a Lorelai. But if you ask the twins, I'm more of an Emily.

Reading: Dave instituted literature hour every day. For 60 minutes all electronics are confiscated and we read. I've been able to catch up on the New York Times (Sunday issues and T Magazines), and am working through a collection of short stories, The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. And for much needed levity I read Theft By Finding by David Sedaris.

Listening: I'm in the shop a few hours a day. To break up the monotony of silence, I've been revisiting old musical favorites. My current go-to albums have been Little Creatures by the Talking Heads, Upstairs At Eric's by Yaz, It's-It by the Sugarcubes, and Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain. I crank the system, dance around the shop, and sing at the top of my lungs. I'm sure it's a hilarious scene for anyone who observes me through the shop windows.

Your At Home look- what are you wearing these days?

Honestly, I have been rotating through the same sweatsuit type outfits for weeks. Shipping orders, unpacking boxes, and multiple daily trips to the post office, UPS, or client drop-off locations require comfort. I try to throw a little fashion into the mix (yesterday I wore my Supreme tie dye beanie and a Kapital bandana), but the effort is minimal. I have, however, been very diligent with my skincare routine. I've been loving my oil cleanser and moisturizer from Monastery. The Magic Mushroom Hydrating Serum from Heart of Gold has given me an extra boost, particularly since our New England temperatures haven't moved out of the 40-50 degree range. And I always finish off with the Deep Serum from Noto. It gives me a slightly dewy finish and helps to lock in all of the moisturizing goodness.

Your advice to other small business owners during this time?

I've been doling out a lot of advice to fellow small retailers over the past few weeks. While we are all coping with the effects of the shut down differently, I think it's important that everyone try to stay the course and visualize the bigger picture. A lot of careful thought should go into any decision making right now. Think about the longer term consequences of how resources are being spent. The fashion industry has been completely upended because closures have affected the entire supply chain, from textile production to apparel manufacturing to shipping deliveries. This means that inventory levels will be extremely limited for the foreseeable future. So clothing boutique owners need to develop a plan that will sustain the business for several months and satisfy client needs and wants.

Spring arrivals that you're excited about?

This is our first season with Henrik Vibskov. His vision is playful yet sophisticated. And I love the fact that he doesn't take himself too seriously. He injects color and humor into his pieces, which is exactly what we need right now. I'm also looking forward to our first delivery of Ichi Antiquities, which is expected to launch in July. This entire collection was made for sheltering-in-place: comfortable, easy, and accessible. The fabrics and silhouettes have an air of Japanese sensibility that will work on all body shapes and sizes.