The COVID economy put thousands of small businesses under this year. But a Loveland couple, Eric and Tara Calderaro, didn’t let the COVID crisis stop them.
And the timing couldn’t have been better.
In late 2019, Eric left the corporate 9-5. He and Tara, a freelance graphic designer for 25 years, began pursuing a new business idea – to create their own brand of snarky, sassy, funny, inspirational, motivational and patriotic apparel, drinkware, home accents and accessories.
The Wise Jester was set to launch in March. At the same time, COVID made its debut.
“COVID lockdowns in Ohio and across the country, stopped all that because it shut down our suppliers and printers, some of which are located in Ohio,” said Eric. “So, we were forced to delay our launch.”
But it all worked out for the best for the two entrepeneaurs.
During the downtime, like many Ohioans, Eric and Tara began to notice that some things about COVID-19 just didn’t add up.
“We were witnessing how the COVID cure was, in fact, worse than the disease for 99% of people, including for our family and our 2 children with autism,” said Tara.
As it turned out, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s overreaction to the new coronavirus was the basis for some of their most popular products. It served as inspiration for a host of COVID-related creations that the couple added to the store.
“The more we witnessed the needless suffering caused by DeWine’s arbitrary and unconstitutional mandates, the more compelled we felt to fight back and enable fellow Ohioans to stand up and speak up in a personal way by creating snarky designs focused on DeWine,” said Eric.
In addition, The Wise Jester has an entire shop dedicated to the Ohio Stands Up! movement. Ohio Stands Up! filed the first federal lawsuit challenging DeWine’s entire Emergency Order. Eric and Tara are among multiple plaintiffs and are on the Board of Directors for Ohio Stands Up!
The lawsuit will set a national precedent.
“When you purchase any of our Ohio Stands Up! products, you are directly supporting this grassroots organization, made up of courageous and concerned freedom-loving Ohioans,” said Tara.
“One hundred percent of the profits go directly to the organization to continue funding the legal action as well as educating the public.”
One of the numerous items in Ohio Stands Up! shop is this drawstring bag.
The couple continues to fight to return the state and their family to the “Old Normal” and restore Constitutional rights.
“We want to empower Ohioans and all Americans during this unprecedented time, to boldly express their patriotism, their beliefs in our God-given Constitutional rights and their love for freedom by designing products with those themes, while simultaneously incorporating our innate humor and sarcasm in many designs,” said Eric.
“As we tell our customers, we can’t solve your problems, but we can help you laugh about them while empowering you to live your life authentically.”