What’s new, friend? Spring blooms, warmer weather, vaccines, perhaps kids in “actual” school more days than they’ve been for over a year (enter happy dance… or not… is it bad that I’m happy dancin’?)… Nothing like the past year to help us appreciate to an even greater degree spring and all the newness it brings with it.
Hard to believe at this time last year we were in the initial stages of the pandemic and all that it brought with it - cases increasing by the day, quarantines, business closures, distance learning, zoom meetings, online grocery shopping, awkwardly donning our masks for essential errands, and let’s not forget, the crazy TP shortage. I remember the uncertainty and angst of those initial weeks… and months; wrestling with fear, discouragement, and an overwhelming sense of weariness (moral fatigue, anyone? - look it up, it’s a thing). None of us could have known what the year would bring.
Many business owners, myself included, wondered how, and if, our businesses would pull through. Perhaps more than ever before, many of us were put in the uncomfortable position of need - needing the support of our customers, communities, and even government to survive the impact of those hard-hit months when we were forced to close our doors.
I often mention that our shop’s mission is about supporting and cheering on our artisan partners in at-risk communities, but it wasn’t until this past year that I realized how much I was in need of support and a cheering section of my own to keep my business, and my morale, afloat.
When we find ourselves in a place of need, it’s humbling. And when people show up in those low points, it means more than mere words can describe.
We did indeed make it through 2020 and as I look back now, it’s with awe and amazement at God’s provision & how we were able to continue supporting our artisan groups. And YOU were a huge part of that provision; I’m forever grateful.
These are just a few of the ways Clean Slate Goods was buoyed through the storm of 2020:
- Nearly everyday during our closure, online orders came in for local delivery, curbside pickup, and shipping; this is what sustained us, kept our bills paid & allowed us to donate to non-profits serving our community (to put it in perspective, pre-closure we had 1-3 online orders per month; during our closure we usually had 1-3 per day!).
- Because of generous grants from our community and state, we were able to increase our employee hours, complete our storefront renovation which was put on hold during our closure, and place more orders with our artisan partners than we ever had before.
- Even with restrictions on the number of shoppers allowed in our shop, we had our biggest Small Business Saturday to date (so many of you chose to forgo the big box stores in lieu of supporting local, and we felt that in a big way!).
- We ended 2020 with our total sales surpassing 2019, and this in spite of our revenue dropping by over 50% during our 3 months of closure (the support of you, our customers, during the holiday season absolutely blew us away!).
And I share all this not to negate the painful moments of 2020, but to emphasize my appreciation for your part in this: for standing by us when we needed it most, cheering us on along the way, and being part of an amazing community of support.
As you look back on the past twelve months in your own life, are there unexpected surprises in the midst of the hard? Things you’ve learned to appreciate more, not in spite of the hard, but perhaps because the low places helped sharpen your vision to notice the good? A slower pace, more time outdoors, growth through perseverance, valuable time spent with those nearest and dearest,… newfound bread baking skills? Even if you’re still struggling to unearth the good, know this -
You’re still standing.
You can do HARD THINGS.
And we’re better off when we do hard things TOGETHER.
One year later, this is something worth celebrating.
I'm cheering for you, friend, right where you're at today and in all that 2021 brings our way.
With a grateful heart,