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Transcript: Reinventing Small Businesswith Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Kim Pham & Vanessa Pham

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MS. SINGLETARY: Hello and welcome to Washington Post Live. I’m Michelle Singletary, the Personal Finance columnist here at The Post. Thanks for joining us today about this important conversation. It’s a two-part series looking at small businesses and the path forward after the pandemic.

I am honored to be joined by Representative Sharice Davids, Chair of the House Small Business Committee for Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. Thank you so much for joining us, Representative.

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah, I'm so glad to be joining you. Yeah, this is definitely an important topic, so I'm really glad we're getting to talk about it, today.

MS. SINGLETARY: Oh, great, great. So, listen, let's just jump off by this recent survey that found that small business confidence is at a near-time low. Can you talk about why that is? You know, I understand that there is a concern about inflation and supply chains. What do you think about this finding?

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah, I guess--I think the first thing I would say is that it's unfortunately--it's not surprising because we know our small businesses have been hit so hard by the economic crisis that has emerged from the public health crisis that we've been facing with the coronavirus pandemic.

And you know, right now, we know that small business owners and folks who are depending on our small businesses are seeing elevated prices for things, that, yeah, those supply chain issues are really impacting folks who are also--you know, I'm not going to gloss over the fact that I have had a lot of conversations with small business owners who have had a hard time finding folks to fill the job vacancies that they have. You know, and so much of this is--it's the--I would call it--it's the--that tough part as we start to come out of an economic crisis. You know, we're seeing some of the job recovery. We're seeing that unemployment is starting to go down, but we know that this is--it's not--it hasn't been an easy transition to get back into that.

MS. SINGLETARY: So, you know, President Biden's approval rating is slipping especially among, you know, entrepreneurs. What do you think the message he should give to them to, you know, boost their confidence in what the government is doing for them?

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah, I think that there's a couple of things that we're seeing and hearing from the president that I hope will help our small businesses and small business owners see that we really are on this road to recovery, to building back better. And some of that is the gas prices that we know we've been hearing a lot about. You know, the president has--in response, I think, to the calls by myself and other of my colleagues to do something about gas prices and how much higher they're getting.

They have--you know, we saw him release oil from our reserves. We've also seen the--you know, the child tax credit is really starting to help people. And I think those are some of the things that we're seeing in policy that we're legislating and in policy that the administration is responsible for.

MS. SINGLETARY: Yeah, so, I know--you're looking over because I know you've got a vote. So, we're trying to, you know, keep you as long as we can.

REP. DAVIDS: I want to make sure--I'm really excited about us talking about this stuff, but I am--I'm just kind of like monitoring to make sure I'm not--

MS. SINGLETARY: That's all right. This is live and this is real. So, we're good.

REP. DAVIDS: And you should know, I am absolutely prepared to full-on sprint back to the House floor so that I can get as much time in with you as possible.

MS. SINGLETARY: Okay, that's so great. I'm glad you got the energy. I wouldn't.

So, you know, we also know that about 37 percent of businesses have closed or, you know, are having trouble staying alive. You know, what is it that we can do to keep them, you know, open and get their footing as we continue to fight, you know, this back-and-forth of the economy with the pandemic. We're doing okay; we're not doing so okay.

What do you think can be done?

REP. DAVIDS: Well, I think there's a couple of things that we need to be focused on and thinking about, at least from the perspective of--at least from the perspective of how we as Congress address these issues.

One is--we always have to be listening to our small business owners, because if we're not, then we're not really going to actually be able to--we're not really going to actually be able to address the issues that they're facing. And so, I think, you know, knowing that we've already had--and this is not just in the Small Business Committee, which is--you've already mentioned. I'm also on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. We're having hearings right now about the supply chain issues and the way that that is leading to increased costs for folks, the way that it's, you know, just making it harder for people--not just the small business owners but their customers and clients as well to be able to function in the way that we need to.

So, we're--you know, we're--go ahead.

MS. SINGLETARY: No, I'm sorry. How long do you think it's going to go on? Because you know, there's lots of talk about, oh, it's going to be over soon enough. You've probably got more insight than many of us. What are you hearing in your Committee meetings, the reports that you're getting? Are we talking six months? I mean, some people talk it might go into 2023. Hope not, but what are you hearing from your report?

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah, there's a couple of things that I--I really, like, picked up on.

One is that, because we're talking about something that--because we're talking about an economic crisis that has been spurred on by this public health crisis, you know, we're seeing progress in terms of more people getting vaccinated. We're seeing reports about the impact of boosters and how those are helping to protect people. And so, we know that these are ways that we're going to be able to get to what--something that feels like normal. So sorry if it's kind of loud where I'm at.

MS. SINGLETARY: No, that's all right. I actually love this. This is--this sort of talks about how we have to multitask, you know?

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah.

MS. SINGLETARY: It's fine. I'm actually loving it, because this is like real time.

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah. And--

MS. SINGLETARY: So, real quickly, can I go--oh, go ahead. Go ahead and finish. I'm sorry.

REP. DAVIDS: Oh, no, well, so there's that piece of, like, the faster we get on the other side of this pandemic--you know, when we have healthy people, we can have a healthy economy. And so, there's that piece that we're continuing to focus on and then there's the piece of--you know, I think that in a lot of ways, the sooner we can get--the sooner we can get on the other side of the pandemic, the sooner we can really start to truly focus on a thriving economy. And right now, we're focused on both and addressing things like the learnings that we're taking. I don't know how else to describe it except for we want to make sure that what we saw was--some stuff was exacerbated, right? The supply chain issues that we're having have, in some ways, demonstrated that we have small- and medium-sized manufacturers right here at home who can make some of the goods that are sitting in ports. And particularly in our medical and personal protective equipment, the testing supplies. And I'm not just saying that because we happen to have a number of small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the Kansas 3rd. But you know, conversations with folks in--that wanted to step up but really had a hard time accessing capital is how I decided to introduce the Supplies Act, which would help those small- and medium-sized manufacturers.

MS. SINGLETARY: Right. It's interesting you talk about that, but connecting it to the health crisis. Because all those people who are complaining--I won't call who they are, but you know who they are better than me, you know, say--you know, the president has to do something about this. But if they encourage their citizens to get vaccinated and move on that front, that could help free up this whole issue, would you not say?

REP. DAVIDS: Well, I definitely think that--you know, like, I encourage folks to go to get the vaccine and now to get a booster and, you know, we know now that children five and up can get vaccinated, as well. And you know, we know that the vaccine is protecting people and it's safe, it's effective. We also know that wearing our masks when we're in public settings and, you know, or in closer proximity to other people also reduces and mitigates the risk of getting sick.

And I do think that if we're going to get on the other side of this we should be, you know, listening to our public health experts and doing the things that we know are going to bring down the risks of more people getting sick. That being said, I also think that--you know, like, this has been such a devastating time and people are scared and having a lot of anxiety about a lot of different things. and so, I know at home--and even with, you know, some folks in my own family that I've tried to make sure to get them the information that they might need to encourage them to get comfortable with the safety and the efficacy of these vaccines.

MS. SINGLETARY: Right. Do you mind, I want to go to an audience question. We have a question from Brenda, who asked, "The Paycheck Protection Program was enormously popular and helped many micro and small business owners. Are there lessons learned from that process that are likely to inform your future policy, particularly given the emerging omicron variant and its impact on the economy and supply chain?" Great question from Brenda Smith in Washington.

REP. DAVIDS: That is a great question. Yeah, I'm also really glad that we're talking about the Paycheck Protection Program, because we--I'm really glad that we were able to get that--to get the Paycheck Protection Program implemented, passed in a bipartisan way and then implemented. And then, we were also able to iterate.

And so, when it comes to the piece about, you know, what did we learn from that, I actually led a bipartisan, bicameral group of folks to make sure that the SBA, the Small Business Administration, and the Treasury Department were granting those relief funds to tribally owned businesses, because they were unclear about whether or not tribally owned businesses should be included in that, and absolutely it was the intent of Congress that they were. And so, we were able to clarify that and push for that.

And then, we also saw that the Paycheck Protection Program, a lot of people needed the relief really, really quickly. And so, we were able to replenish those funds. And so, when I think about what the learning that we can do from that, it's about listening to our small business owners, recognizing that folks who were supposed to be included didn't get included. And then, when we replenished the fund, we also made sure to specifically put money into the community development financial institutions and then smaller community banks. Because those were the folks who were able to get the funds out really quickly to often marginalized, underbanked, unbanked small businesses, because there's a lot of people out there who are sole proprietors who would have been considered--

MS. SINGLETARY: That's such a great point. That is such a great point. I know that you have to run off. So, I want to just thank you again for joining us in the midst of trying to get your job done for the American people. So, I appreciate it. I hope you can come back.

REP. DAVIDS: Yeah.

MS. SINGLETARY: We can talk about this some more.

REP. DAVIDS: Me, too. And I really appreciate you all covering this topic, and I know you've got some great guests coming up who a number of my friends are big fans of. So, I just wanted to thank you all for covering this. It's super important.

MS. SINGLETARY: It is very important. Small businesses are the soul of our community.

REP. DAVIDS: That's right. That's right.

MS. SINGLETARY: So, thank you again for joining us.

REP. DAVIDS: Talk to you all soon.

MS. SINGLETARY: All right. So, I'll be back in a moment with our next guests, sisters and cofounders, Vanessa and Kim Pham. Stay with us.

[Video plays]

MS. SINGLETARY: Hello, and welcome back. For those of you who are just joining us, I’m Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for The Washington Post. So glad you have joined us for this Washington Post Live session about small business and how they’re handling the effects of the pandemic. I am delighted to bring my next guest, sisters. I have a sister, so I’m like loving these two women--who co-founded Omsom, a collection of pantry necessities for Asian food. Vanessa and Kim Pham, welcome for joining us today. And I’m just going to start out saying I’m ordering your stuff.

MS. KIM PHAM: Yay!

MS. SINGLETARY: I’ve done some research on you, and I was thinking this looks fabulous. So thank you for joining us.

MS. KIM PHAM: Thanks so much for having us, Michelle.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Thank you so much for having us.

MS. SINGLETARY: Oh, great. So let’s talk--tell me about your company. What does it do? You know, I did some research. It’s about food and these great little packets of things. And I’m trying not to eat out so much, so I’m really excited. Tell all the folks what you do and how you started the company.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we’re Vanessa and Kim Pham. We are the sisters and co-founders behind Omsom, a proud and loud Asian food brand. We exist to reclaim Asian flavors that have been diluted in the grocery store for so long. And what we do is we partner with different iconic Asian chefs to craft pantry shortcuts that allow you to get restaurant-quality Asian dishes on your table in 20 minutes. And Kim has some, so she can kind of show you what they look like. But that’s really what we focused on. And Kim and I built Omsom together as sisters, and we launched about a year and a half ago in May of 2020, which was right at the beginning of the pandemic.

MS. SINGLETARY: Right at the beginning.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Yeah.

MS. SINGLETARY: Did your heart stop? I mean, you’ve got this great idea for a business, and this thing happens that just crashes--right?--a lot of businesses. What was it like for you when the pandemic hit just as you started?

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Yeah, well, you know, as we were preparing to launch, that was when the pandemic hit, right around March of 2020. And you know, I remember Kim and I got on the phone and we really asked ourselves should we even do this. Should we just pause everything? We had mentors telling us that maybe we should just go into turtle mode and kind of close up shop until this kind of passed and we could weather the storm and kind of come back when things stabilized. But ultimately, Kim and I got together and thought, you know, one, people are going to be cooking during a pandemic. Whether or not they’re able to get food or go to restaurants, they ultimately will need to be cooking at home. And so we felt like we had to launch Omsom. And then beyond that, we know that during a difficult time people are looking for a sense of home and connection, and we really feel like that’s what Omsom is all about.

MS. SINGLETARY: So, Kim, the name of the company kind of really defines you starting in the pandemic, right? Doesn't it?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yes, so Omsom comes from the Vietnamese phrase "om sòm," which roughly translates to like rowdy or rambunctious. And as we were thinking about kind of launching the business, we really wanted to bring that kind of proud and loud energy to the universe with our products and also, frankly, like, showcase what a unapologetic Asian brand can look like.

And, you know, of course, like around the--you know, the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of kind of anti-Asian sentiment, and frankly, like, part of our identities as children of refugees, and first-generation Vietnamese Americans, have been clouded in a lot of shame. And so for us, it just felt like a really authentic way to kind of showcase our personality and what we're trying to show the world through our products.

MS. SINGLETARY: Yeah. You know, I'm asking you a lot of questions about the company and you guys, because I think it helps for people to understand the background of how small businesses start, what your passion for it, because for some people it’s like, well, why don't you just get a job. But this is something more than just the income, right? This is you're doing something for yourselves and your community. And I wonder if you could just talk about that, and then also, Vanessa and Kim, if you could talk about the supply chain issues, how that has impacted your business?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah, absolutely. Well, to answer your first question, the core of Omsom and everything we do is all about doing right by the Asian American community, educating on the multitudes with Asian culture. And so the challenges of the pandemic, I would say, have forced us to lean--and you know, rightfully so and proudly so--we've leaned more into that.

And part of the challenges that we've seen are a lot of rising costs in our supply chain that have forced us to be really diligent about having a really sustainable and efficient business model from day one. That's always been core to Omsom, because we want to be able to control our destiny so that we can make the right decisions and do right by that Asian American community. But I would say the challenges that have come from the pandemic, as it relates to increased costs, have just like accelerated the level of diligence that we've had to take to that.

In terms of supply chain, oh, my goodness, being a small business during this time has been incredibly challenging. We have seen ingredient delays and shortages. Especially because we source so many of our ingredients from purveyors directly from Asia, a lot of our ingredients are getting stuck in ports, and we don't even know when they'll be released. We found that labor shortages are really affecting our manufacturing capabilities, our abilities to ship products to our customers. And so all in all, we've seen our business not really be able to be nimble and respond to changes in environment or demand.

And then on the other side, and perhaps most importantly, the increase in costs have been really hard for small businesses to weather. For small business, increasing prices means basically putting at stake your ability to drive trial of your food product and to acquire new customers. And so we've had to absorb a lot of those increasing costs in service of continuing to make our product accessible to new customers. So, yeah, it's been it's been a challenging time. But we're learning a lot. And it's definitely forcing us to be creative and diligent really early on.

MS. SINGLETARY: So, Kim, what personally with finances--how has that impacted your ability to grow your own wealth? I mean, if you're taking all these hits, is it coming out of your pocket?

I know, Vanessa, you talked a little bit about, you know, the reluctance to pass that on to customers as you try to grow. How do you handle that, you know, personally?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah.

MS. SINGLETARY: So I’m basically trying to get into your personal business.

MS. KIM PHAM: Yes. I mean, we're an open book. I mean, it's really interesting because as entrepreneurs, Vanessa and I are perhaps a little bit unique. We are first-generation Vietnamese Americans and daughters of refugees. So, there's not necessarily, you know, a ton of generational wealth that we have access to where, you know, we can weather some of these storms a little bit longer. So, I think it's just been a lot of kind of returning to our very kind of like scrappy bootstrapped roots--right?-- like when we first started this business, like it was all on my life savings. I had worked for a handful of years after university, and that was really kind of the egg that started Omsom.

But, you know, thankfully we, you know, have--I don't know if this thankfully or not, but you know, have had a childhood where we're kind of used to, you know, pinching pennies and making the dollar stretch, and I think we're taking some of that mentality now to the business. And thankfully it doesn't feel too far from our, you know, our nature. But I really, you know, obviously wish this wasn't the case for all business owners across the nation.

MS. SINGLETARY: Yeah. So how do you make that work, Vanessa? Do you--are you guys living together? Are you back with your parents? Did you never leave your parents house? I mean, how do you do that?

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Oh, my gosh, well, now we don't live together because sisters and co-founders is already--it's already a lot.

MS. KIM PHAM: We’ve got to draw a line somewhere.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Roommates would be a whole other layer. But, you know, I think at this point we just--we've been really thoughtful about how we spend all the capital that we do have, how we deploy it. And one of the biggest things that we've done from day one is find creative ways to continue to support our own lives, which, early on Kim and I were doing things on the side. We were tutoring. Kim was doing consulting gigs on the side so that we could pay our rent. And nowadays, we've done things like just different partnerships and things like that, so that we can have additional revenue streams for the business, just again, getting creative. That's what we've done. Ever since we were kids, we were we've always been kind of scrappy.

But at the same time, I think one of the biggest things is how do we be scrappy and thoughtful about how we spend, but at the same time play to win, come from a place of abundance and be able to take important and meaningful risks within the business. That's always a dance that Kim and I are trying to figure out as co-founders and simultaneously daughters of refugees.

MS. SINGLETARY: Right? So, Kim, how do you handle a delay in your orders? I understand from, you know, some of your background that you were having trouble fulfilling orders. And when you're a small business, that's sort of the key—right?--to keep the customers happy, because if you're ordering from a big box or you're going in and you don't have--they don't have what you want at that moment, you get something else from the--you know, the shelf, but they can't do that. Your customers can't do that, and you don't want them to, obviously. So how do you handle when you can't deliver to orders through no fault of your own?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah, I think it's kind of twofold, right? So, I think the first piece, which is Vanessa’s side of the business--and we have an amazing director of operations and operations team that she works with--we're really just trying to get ahead of the demand, as you know, like, kind of holiday shopping is unprecedented this year, right? And so I think they're working really hard to just as much as possible plan for these delays, make sure, you know, we can kind of lower some of that risk.

But I think on the marketing and kind of more consumer facing side, what's really been an interesting lesson for us to learn is that once this pandemic hit, and you know, we launched, it was really important to us that we're incredibly open and vulnerable with our community about these very real challenges that small businesses face. So that's being quite open about being like, hey, we're sold out, like things are gonna need to be on pre-order or like, hey, we're having a really tough time. You know, earlier this year, we had kind of like a small manufacturing snafu that literally like our dad offered to fly in and help. And we showed that kind of text message to our community. And it was really like, hey, look, it's not about being perfect. Like no one wants that anymore from brands. If anything, you know, folks have really--what seems to resonate more with folks is this very open, very like, hey, look, we're real people just like you, and we're facing real things. And thus far, our community has been incredibly open and very patient and generous when there have been small snafus. So, I'd say it's kind of like twofold. On the logistic side, it's trying to plan ahead. But then also being open and honest with your customers I think is always the way to go.

MS. SINGLETARY: And in general, have people been really good to respond? I mean, okay, no, tell the truth. What do people say--because some people are not happy, right? What are they saying when they’re not buying that like kumbaya moment?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah, I mean, honestly, of course, there's always going to be, you know, the folks, the small, you know but very vocal minority who are definitely in our inboxes being like where’s my stuff, you know? But I think--for the most part, I think we're not the only brand that see--you know, that’s seeing these sorts of supply chain issues and delays. And so I think folks are just kind of becoming calibrated to this, you know, new normal as we call it and really extending a lot of understanding to small businesses who are, you know, also facing very real challenges. So, yeah, it's been good so far, but we obviously have an amazing customer service team that we love and who are handling some of these complaints.

MS. SINGLETARY: Oh, that's good. That's good. I'll handle some for you, too. I'm good at that.

I have a question from an audience member reader, Monica. And she asks what are creative ways employers are using to attract candidates and retain employees in this employee job market? And you talked a little bit about your struggles to keep people, hire people. What are you doing, and how do you handle that to Monica's question?

MS. VANESSA PHAM: That's a really great question. And you know, our team is small but mighty, and I think the biggest investment that Kim and I have made from day one has been around building a really deep, deeply intentional, mission aligned, and heart-forward company culture. Increasingly, we're finding the talent that we're trying to attract our folks that are looking to work for mission-driven companies and want the day-to-day experience of building that company to actually map to the external, like what could be seen as marketing language, and want that to be an aligned experience. And at Omsom, when we talk about being buy in for the Asian American community, we also mean internally within the team, every team member to feel included in that type of--I guess that ethos. So, what that means for us is allowing people to bring their full selves to work, fostering a community where people can build true friendships amongst the company, creating environments for psychological safety where people can take risks, calculated risk, and be thoughtful and sometimes fail, and you know, and still feel like, you know, they're comfortable in their job, as long as they're, you know, trying their best and working hard.

And so at Omsom, it's something that we try to live every day. It's definitely challenging when the business is under pressure, or when there's, you know, a spike in the workload that we all have. But it's something that I think Kim and I every day make choices to try to protect. And that's one of the biggest things that we communicate to candidates that are applying at Omsom.

MS. SINGLETARY: So, if you don't mind, I just want to pick back at Kim. Maybe you can address this. You talked about a mission-driven company, and people are just like loving working for you guys. People need healthcare. You know, they need a living wage. So, what are you--are you able to offer the kind of benefits, competitive benefits that people, first of all, you know, are expecting now, especially since, you know, you got a good person going for a job, they have a lot of demand?

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah, absolutely. I think obviously, you know, within the realities of being a small, you know, startup, we really try and make sure that our offers are competitive to the market, and that on top of, you know, kind of the core salary, that we're also offering things that I think a lot of candidates care about nowadays, obviously, that's really great health insurance, dental insurance. But we also have built in smaller I'd say like cultural things that I think really set us apart perhaps. So we have like a monthly wellness stipend that can go towards whatever our employees view as wellness--that could be gym membership, that could be therapy--and then, you know, various team activities to make sure our culture is, you know, reflective of what we share the world externally of being a proud and loud brand. I think we bring some of that energy internally as well.

But it's hard, you know, because we're also balancing the very real realities of this pandemic that is now on nearly year two and of being a small business. It's this really tricky kind of balance, and at some point, you're going to have to have really kind of real conversations around like what do you prioritize? And for us, we've really tried to protect employee well-being as part of that.

MS. SINGLETARY: Do you think--I think it was the Gallup looked at retaining employees, and they talked about the fact that--and I think this is what you're talking about--but by being a mission-driven company, that it takes, like no pay raise to get someone from a company where they are completely unhappy. So, are you finding that you can retain people even perhaps--and we didn't talk about what you pay people, but, you know, maybe not being as competitive as, say, a corporate job? That--are you--are you seeing yourself that people are buying into, you know, entrepreneurship is a good thing and I'm willing to take less or maybe not the kind of raise that we get somewhere else to be with a company that’s got a mission that I believe in?

MS. VANESSA PHAM: That's a great question. You know, for us, we always are looking to pay-- have our salaries be equitable, and I guess, like market rate amongst startups and other businesses of our stage and in our industry. That's, you know, absolutely our number one goal. But I guess, you know, if you were to compare us to like certain corporations, or maybe some opportunities they might have in let’s say like industries like banking or consulting, like, you know, obviously, it's really hard for a small business to compete just in terms of, you know, base against base salary against a corporation.

But I would say we really encourage our employees to look at comp packages holistically, so including equity in there. And then, of course, to your point, having culture and mission be core to the experience of building Omsom. That--we have found that to be something that really is incentivizing for folks. They find it fulfilling. They find joy in working on something that's aligned with their core values. And so, we've had actually really strong retention with our full-time team. We actually haven't had anybody in our full-time team leave Omsom since we launched about a year and a half ago. So, we're really grateful for that and really proud of that.

MS. SINGLETARY: Yeah. I can see why. You guys are so much fun. I love it. So last question before we let you go and do your business, what do you think the government can do to help you as entrepreneurs? There's lots of talk about small business confidence being at the lowest. What do you think the Biden administration or any administration coming after him can do to help you get through this pandemic and then beyond?

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Yeah, so one of the first things and I know Brenda asked a question about the PPP in your last talk with Representative Davids, and Omsom actually did get a PPP loan, which was really helpful for us in a time where we absolutely needed it. And I would say, I would definitely encourage more programs like that, specifically geared towards small businesses. I think there needs to be kind of clear qualifiers that allow you to apply for things like that and having special resources at--for different companies’ stages and different, like, levels of revenue I think would be--continuing to offer things like that would be very helpful. And I know, Kim, you have some ideas, too, probably.

MS. KIM PHAM: Yeah. And I think, you know, at the heart of a lot of the kind of supply chain issues that we keep hearing about—right?--are labor shortages. And so just like continued protection and resources for essential workers I think is really key, because it's the folks who are unloading cargo ships, it’s the folks who are, you know, transporting goods across state lines, like, those are the folks that really need support, and that, frankly, keep the rest of us going. So, yeah, continuing to support and offer resources to them, I think is key.

MS. SINGLETARY: That's great. Well, it's been just a pleasure to talk to both of you. I'm going to hope to be one of your future customers, even if I have to wait on my package. We're trying to eat more at home anyway. So, thank you so much for joining us, Kim and Vanessa.

MS. KIM PHAM: We got you.

MS. SINGLETARY: And I wish you the best in your business as you go forward.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: Thank you so much for having us.

MS. KIM PHAM: Thanks, Michelle.

MS. VANESSA PHAM: It was wonderful to meet you, Michelle.

MS. SINGLETARY: Yeah, same here.

So listen, we have to leave it there. This has been such a great conversation about small businesses and how they’re handling all the issues that have come with the pandemic. So, thank you for joining us today. I’m Michelle Singletary. And to check out more interviews, I’d love for you to go to WashingtonPostLive.com. We’ve got great interviews, great interviewers, and just follow the conversations. And the more informed you are, the better you will be financially and our economy. So thank you for joining us again. And don’t forget to register for future programs. As always, thanks for joining us.

[End recorded session]

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