i was going to wait until a few days down time at the end of the month to sit down to write this post, but after the news came out today, i couldnt stop thinking of all of the so many things i wish i had time to say -- so im going to do that now.
when we were called about doing the interview... it really sent me through a time trip.... from where we began ... to where we are now, and all thats happened in those years.
so many thoughts, from the personal struggles i had to face -- things like losing my very closest loved ones, walking into work after holiday break to a massive flood from a burst pipe, losing my home years ago in order to keep the business alive, going without... etc etc. i was also faced with things i had no clue about, so green to business, landing huge contracts with businesses like wholefoods markets, being on the news for the first time ever...taxes, CPAs, website domains, lol.... i mean, i knew nothing about anything business but i knew a heck of a lot about making soap. lol... there have been so many ups and so many downs over the years.
i knew nothing about business when somehow i wound up in one... and i learned so much over these years.... and i thought by this point there wasnt much that i wouldnt be prepared to handle... and then covid happened.
nothing, nothing took a toll like covid did. yes, the above mentioned was hard, it was scary, exhausting, stressful, and painful. but nothing has ever been as hard as being a business in a year like this. from not being able to get ingredients in, to having to shut the retail doors, learning how to operate as online sales only, having to let employees go, not being able to take my own pay to pay my mortgage, not being able to pay bills... and now, having to face those financial penalties. but it never even crossed my mind to stop.... it only crossed my mind how to get through to the next month. and we did, and thats because of you. you guys were so flexible with all of the changes we had to make in order to survive, from packaging changes, to product shortages, to paying for shipping that we used to be able to offer free...you all not only understood, but kept full on with the most amazing support!! whether it was a little note to us on your order that you placed, a comment in one of our social media posts, a care package sent to us at the shop.... you name it, you guys did it, and it meant the world to us! you kept us going, emotionally and financially, and we know you sacrificed to do that too! covid had an impact on everyone, in one way or another ... and we know you did everything you could to help us stay here... and here we still are. we are so so very humbled, forever grateful.
its really cool to be a small business in a local community -- i was telling nadine today, its so neat to have been here for 12 years now... some of the kids who came into the shop as 5 year olds with eczema, now drive here on their own to get their own soap, or order online from their college dorms. what we do is so personal, and we see it that way. i care about all of you, and its so neat to be in a position that if we can ever help, we can. such as donating baskets to benefit dinners to those in need, whether its medical related, or perhaps a family has fallen on hard times due to things like the pandemic. we love helping, and i love being in a position to do so.
we have customers that come in once a year, every year, for all of their holiday gifts, we have customers who come in weekly, we have customers who come in a couple times a year ..... i can tell you that guy wants 20 bars, an assortment of anything but exfoliating soaps. i can tell you this woman wants anything everything lavender that we make ... i can tell you this woman is stocking up on enough crud to get her grandson in college through the year before he needs more. this is what i love about being a small business. its you. its your puppies that you bring in that i get to greet with treats, its your feedback you share with me on anything you feel like telling me about, its your new car that im excited to see you just got, its your hardships that im able to tell you im so sorry to hear about and let me know if there is anything at all i can possibly do to help, its your engagements, your pregnancies,your new job, your kids first baseball game, its the funny stories you share with me, who smelled you in the grocery store and knew you were wearing bodygoodies, or who asked you what exactly the " bodygoodies" on your shirt means ;) ha.. oh guys, i have had so much fun over all these years and it has been my total pleasure to get to know all of you, even if youre someone who never hangs around to chat or share much, it was nice to be able to tell you thank you -- and i hope you know i truly mean every single thank you that i speak.
thank you for allowing me to continue to make healthy personal care products for you, thank you for helping me pay for my daughters school clothes over the years, putting food on the table for her to eat, medical expenses, thank you for helping me afford my monthly medications that i need to survive. thank you for allowing me to find the means to find a new home to move into after losing my first one, thank you for allowing me the ability to make enough product that i can donate baskets to benefits and auctions, thankyou for allowing me to raise my daughter to see her mom rock this life and everything it throws at her, all on her own as a single mom with a business!! thank you for allowing me to afford to buy dinner from another local business tonight so i can be part of helping them survive this pandemic too, thank you for inspiration, thank you for the strength when sometimes i feel tired, when my body all but has broken down lol somehow i manage to find my self at work at 6am because i just HAVE to squeeze in one more special product for the holidays for you to be excited about!! thank you for making me feel worth it. thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of my local community, and part of your lives. thank you for keeping me here. thank you for the purpose i feel i have, because of you.
covid isnt over, and my heart goes out to every single small business there is because i know we've ALL been impacted in multiple ways. one thing that is going to be hard, is climbing out of the debts we've fallen into in order to stay here. we had half the income --- but we still had the same overhead expenses, we still had to pay for things like our fire extinguishers to be serviced, for our licenses, taxes, and the penalties on the things we had to let slide behind in order to keep the lights on and the doors open. we may be out of the worst of it.. but its left a path of destruction for a lot of us that isnt anything but added stress.
our day to day operations have changed, we've had to roll with changes in order to make anything work enough, to still be working. "if owning a business was easy, everyone would have one". i always say that to myself when i feel like im failing. to remind myself that its hard, and its not just me having trouble. but something i think every surviving business has in common, aside from stress lol is a fortitude, a drive inside that doesnt let up. there is no other way, there is no quit or stop. you find a way. you just do.
thanks for allowing me to share all of this with you guys. i know a lot of it is personal, but hey... thats what a small business is.
we love what we do, we love our supporters, we love our other local small businesses and we love our community.
best to you all, and thank you all again so very very much for your amazing, continued support. i wish i had the words to tell you how very much it means to us. i hope all of these words will do ;)