Shortly before Thanksgiving, Amanda Stokes was told she had something unexpected for which to give thanks: $10,000 for her small business.
Stokes is a Provo resident and founder of My Leather Legacy, a provider of handmade leather journals and classes for customers to make their own. Her business, like so many that relied on festivals and events, was hit hard by COVID-19 closings.
My Leather Legacy was incorporated in 2018, when Stokes moved to Utah. After the pandemic, this year, she adapted by offering online journal-making workshops, making new non-leather journals to accommodate for lower incomes, and kept networking to make others aware of what she offered.
It was through an online public relations company, called Press for Success with Sabina Hitchen, that Stokes heard “Good Morning America” was looking for small businesses that used shipping products for a story about shipping with Scotch’s new flex and seal products.
The questionnaire Stokes answered about her business caught “Good Morning America’s” attention, and she was invited on the show.
“I was just happy to have a segment and talk to anybody, especially a place like ‘Good Morning America,’” she said.
Even when the producer talked to her about the next day’s broadcast, she didn’t know she would receive anything for her participation but was told “there’s a surprise coming,” Stokes said.
During the broadcast, ABC and Scotch gave her $10,000 to fortify her business.
Though PR Press for Success does have paid services, she had found out about the opportunity through free membership to their Facebook group, Press for Success: PR Prep School. She is now paying for their services and is still brainstorming all of the ways she will invest the gift money.
She said the first 5 years of a new business are “tricky,” and she has bills to pay, but she wants to “give back a little” early next year with scholarships for virtual workshops or deep discounts and sales on her site.
She also intends to get a new die-cutting press that will make production “better and faster.” She said it will probably take her until January to catch up on holiday orders and focus on expansion.
“I hope other business owners and artists — I consider myself both — will hear the story and be encouraged, too,” she said. “Sometimes, they feel like they’re hanging on by a thread. It’s nice for me, but hopefully something good can be around the corner for lots of people.”
Currently, Stokes’ journals, other products and online classes can be found on myleatherlegacy.com. She said fewer people have opted for live workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she does still offer that educational opportunity with social distancing and masks.
She will teach community classes in “Stitch Bound Leather” journal-making classes in March and April at Utah Valley University in Orem under the name Amanda Parramoure.