Lessons Learned in Troubling Times

Fall is here in New England, and as much as we loved the long, hot days of summer, we are excited for chilly mornings and changing leaves.

Fall is a time of transition. It is a time to reflect on the past, set new intentions, sage your home, and set your self up for a positive and thoughtful end to 2020. Now is a perfect time to let go of any bad habits or negative thoughts and welcome in positive energy and change.

Transitioning from 2019 into 2020 was an exciting time for me and for janegee. In 2019, sales were through the roof, we hired more staff, and we were developing exciting new products which were being received with open arms. In January of 2020, business was hopping along like never before and we reached a milestone moment when we signed the lease on our store. It really was the icing on the cake! We were anxiously awaiting what the rest of the new year would bring, and to say the least, we were excited and buoyant. I was proud of my partner and proud of my team, and I felt like I could finally sit back and feel good about the hard work I had put in.

February, though, rolled around and turned into not such a good month. I found myself grieving at the funeral of a very special boy, the son I never had. Sadness enveloped me and I slipped into a place of stillness as I tried to make sense of it all. Then, March came along, and COVID-19 reared its ugly head and hit us like a ton of bricks. Doors closed and numbness set in. Disbelief, anxiety, and fear permeated the air. I began to feel that the world was suffering from a low-grade depression you could feel everywhere. The political environment and civil unrest coupled with the pandemic was just too much for people to grasp. Too much all at once.

I personally realized that I could no longer stitch the future to the present, because the future no longer existed. We were staring into a void. Challenges were at every turn. We knew that to bring back some sense of normalcy and gain some control of our destiny, we just had to step up. We had no choice. It was time to be resourceful.

With survival uppermost on our minds, we learnt to pivot very quickly. The next few months were the busiest we had experienced in a long time. Sophie and I stripped the store with the help of loyal staff members, and I learnt to go live on Facebook (who would had ever thought that?!). My chief chemist walked out on us amidst the panic and, once again, I was back on the factory floor making products. Sophie’s days were spent picking, sorting, and shipping orders, and in the evening, hand-delivering orders to our customers. Our days were long, but neither of us complained. We just did what we had to do. We painted furniture, made products, presented live shopping sessions, and built a comradery with staff that got us through the anxiety we were all feeling. Yes, it was challenging, but it was also so much fun.

Do I still worry a bit about my business? Sure, I do, but COVID-19 has taught me to lower my expectations, and with it, my daily stress. I know I can use my resourcefulness to get us through whatever comes our way next, and by practicing mindfulness, I can accomplish anything.