Two weeks ago Disney announced that 28,000 park cast members would be losing their jobs. Countless CMs had their worlds turn upside down that day or back in March when they were indefinitely furloughed. Since then, CMs joined the millions of other unemployed folks in the U.S. Some of those who lost their jobs dove headfirst into creating in existing online shops or launched their own.
Online sales have kept many CMs afloat in this unprecedented time and social media has been a gamechanger for getting the word out about supporting them. Carlye Wisel started a Twitter thread to drum up support at the beginning of October, @CodyT started a similar thread and Ear for Each Other is a Facebook group dedicated to the same support.
One such cast member is Sara (@Sarafears on Twitter), who owns Sara’s Grotto, has seen remarkable support from the community as well as Disney influencers.
“Things have been going really well!” She wrote via Twitter DM. “The community has been supportive overall — a lot of Disney influencers or accounts with large followings have reached out to get my shop information to promote me along with several other small CM businesses!”
Without a doubt, one of the best ways the community can support these small businesses is word of mouth. Posting on social media doesn’t cost anything, but getting the word out about the shops can do wonders for their success.
Another cast member, Kayleigh (@RayKayM on Twitter) who was unemployed starting with a furlough in April, launched her Etsy business in August who was looking for a creative outlet.
“I have really low pierced ears so I wanted something that was lightweight but still stylish,” she wrote via Twitter DM. “So I just started making earrings myself. It was fun to make things for friends and give me something to do during the pandemic. I got good enough at it that I was able to open an Etsy business. Everyone has been very supportive and especially when I got the call I was laid off, people really reached out. My shop almost sold out! I just reopened yesterday [October 12] with my Halloween stuff.”
What is clear in the myriad of CM threads online is that the community has been nothing but supportive for those who just lost their jobs or have been in limbo since the spring. That support is clear from the amount of sharing, purchasing or praise taking place on all social media platforms. CMs, both former and current, as well as people who have never worked at Disney, are coming together to help one another through these difficult times.
Shelby (@becauseimshelby on Twitter), a cast member who returned to work but whose husband was among the layoffs, created her Etsy shop to help support her family through the uncertainty. The shop began as a way to get some goodies out to the folks she knew but has since blossomed into another bustling CM shop.
“I started Main Street Resin Co. right after we were called back to work to help supplement our household income because my partner hadn’t gotten called back (he is now laid off),” she wrote via Twitter DM. “It really started out as something I could make for my friends and family but I found that I really like making things with resin! Everyone has been very kind and supportive [of] me! The last kick of supporting cast members has been super amazing and I am so thankful for such a supportive community.”
What changes should you expect at this year’s Oogie Boogie Bash?