If you look at our past blog posts, you will read that last January, I intended to share one blog post a month during 2018. Well, I only managed that one January post all year! I also really let our social media slide, sometimes not even opening up Instagram for over a month. These probably weren't the wisest moves for my business and I definitely felt and feel self-conscious about those choices, but I think they were necessary to not feel totally overwhelmed this past year.
Something I didn't mention in my January 2018 blog post, A Millennial Mom's Mantra: Pretty Doesn't Have to be Perfect, is that in August of 2017, my little brother was murdered. While I type this and try to find the right words to share, my twenty month old son is causing a fuss trying to get a paper to draw on off of my desk - a paper that happens to be something my five year old daughter drew, so I'm trying to entice him to use another piece of paper instead. That kind of epitomizes last year - trying to wrap my head around what happened - and deal with its consequences - while also dealing with every day life (which for me includes being what I've been calling a 'full-time mom and part-time business owner'). It's been tough. And the fallout from such an sad and unnecessary event has been pretty awful. Lots of consequences. Some of which were unwritten blog posts and un-shared product posts. You can see how these were pretty easy to let go, considering.
You can see a bit more about what happened here.
After the 2016 election, I, like many others, became more politically involved, including launching our kick ass Pussyhat Washi Tape that donates 25% of proceeds to Ignite National, helping get more young women into political office so we can have equal representation in our government. Since my brother's murder, I've also gotten involved with my local Moms Demand Action group, advocating for gun sense in America. This is a really great, non-partisan group for "mothers and others" and I highly recommend you checking your local area for a group. If not for the guns allowed in his home, my brother would be alive. He may have been injured, but he'd still be here. I believe that the opportunity for violence - deadly violence - that guns provide is simply too high. They do not need to proliferate our society the way they currently do. I've found it helpful to do something to try to prevent unnecessary tragedies like my family's. I'll likely share more on this important issue and now you'll have a better understanding as to why.
Something that made 2018 extra fun (sarcasm) was being asked how beve was doing. Well, considering that I had a baby in April, lost my brother in August and was still dealing with the many practical ramifications from that in addition to the emotional ones well into the next year, 2017 was a bust for beve. Sometimes I feel like I'm using what happened as an excuse.. but I try to remind myself of what my grief therapist said about 'excuses' versus 'explanations.' In explanation, 2018 was about surviving - keeping beve going at least till my youngest is in pre-school... or school - we aren't sure yet. Hopefully beve will continue long after that too, but that time frame is my primary objective. That has been what kept me shipping orders, if not reaching out to all of the great independent shops we've worked with over the last nearly seven years.
With the New Year comes articles about increasing productivity. Apparently, I need to get more sleep, drink more water, and to try not to multi-task. Well, I'll work on the first two. As for the latter, I have to chalk 2019 up to another year of accepting that while most small business speakers advocate uninterrupted focus and strict business hours where you're not available to call your sister or do laundry, that having the flexibility to do those things and take care of my kids while bringing in some income is why I chose to do beve in the first place. Yes, it's messy and stressful to multitask momming and running a business and makes for 'being a Jill of all trades and master of none,' and I'm sure that increased focus would - and will - help beve grow. But for now, I'm going to be okay with still surviving and doing what I can to help beve grow when I can*. I'll take the fact that 2018 was the first year beve's sales have grown instead of declined since 2014 as encouragement that surviving is possible and that I can do this.
It's 2019. I'm going to keep shipping your orders. Going to keep teaching my daughter how to read and my son how to speak. It's going to be a summer full of potty training for me - fun (sarcasm). I'm going to keep doing laundry while checking my e-mails and keep visiting my family members during 'business hours' when that's when works. I'm going to keep talking about my brother, trying to ingrain the few memories my daughter has of him in her forever, to attend Moms Demand Action events endeavoring to keep what happened to him from happening to others; I'm going to keep him close. I'm going to try to go to bed earlier and drink more water and take more dance breaks with my kids. I've also got some projects in the works to make life a bit easier and more efficient, and, hopefully, more creative. I'm planning on keeping you posted on those - wish me better luck with that this year!
*I do feel compelled to say here that I get orders out the door quickly - I'm speaking to the outreach component of my business - I'll do that when I can.