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Life Lately

Well friends...2020 was a strange one.

I can remember back in February, attending the Kreativmarkt in Augsburg, riding a high from all of the excitement of starting my business the previous year. I had taken many opportunities to put myself out there, to try new things and progress my skills. The 2-day market was a success and I met some more lovely people. By the end of it, while driving back to Munich--with a lighter load than when I had arrived--I was feeling lit up inside. I had a few Spring markets lined up for April and was looking forward to continuing to prepare for them. Little did I know then, that this would be the last market experience for me for a long time.

Happy (and oblivious-of-what's-to-come) me at Kreativmarkt Augsburg...

Outside of work, life for Stephen (my husband, for those of you who might be new around here) and I was also fulfilling. That same month, we managed to make a few spontaneous weekend trips to Dublin and Copenhagen. Life in most of Europe at this time was still generally normal and the fear of the pandemic was not yet in full effect. Then, nearing the end of the month, we spent a fun cabin weekend with friends in the Bavarian Alps. We had our last adventure for a while, as we came home to go directly into a full lockdown.

 

Me and the silly husband (also oblivious of what's to come) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Back when this had begun, I found myself with endless energy and inspiration to spare. I started taking an online course, centering on the topic of morality, which I found fascinating. Without the ability to travel freely, I began to explore my immediate area more through biking and extra long walks with my dog. My creativity was soaring, building upon my product base with new ideas and designs. Every day I woke up excited to get back to my studio and focus in on the next project. As an introvert, having the excuse of the pandemic to stay home and not make plans was honestly kind of heaven for a little while! It allowed me a lot of time to nourish my inner world and let my ideas flow and come to life. It wasn't until probably a good 6 months in, that I began to feel something was amiss. Yes, I was missing travel and the inspiration it brings. But also, without the markets and events to prepare for and look forward to, I found my momentum tapering off and my routine slipping. Even as an introvert, I was discovering how much inspiration and comradery I was missing from my creative community.

I'm now looking at you--2021--and hoping to strike a better balance both personally and professionally. However, I have to admit, I have a good feeling we have a ways to go with this virus and there's a good chance this year may vaguely mirror the last. BUT this doesn't mean there is no hope. I'm a firm believer in creating your own happiness. I have many aspirations for this year and I hope that I will continue to take what I've learned this last year--which was honestly a really weird 2nd year of business for a newbie like myself--and bring it into this year, only better! I want to continue to commit to movement every day, to keep my mind and body nurtured. Outside of my long daily walks, I believe that at least 20 minutes of exercise will help give me those endorphins I need to keep positive during these difficult times. I want to be better about collaborating and making connections within my creative community. I want to continue to practice and learn how to better use the tech I have to create a more diverse array of content for you. But of course, I will always want to continue to create products which are useful and beautiful and which you love!

Last year was a tough one, but it was beneficial in many ways. Aside from the quieter times, in which I was able to really be a hermit and create...I also was forced to spend more time on some of the parts of business which are equally important--but not as fun. At least for me. I finally got into a schedule with my social media posting to better engage and connect with my audience. I launched my own domain, which includes more personality and customized features than my current shop on etsy. In the last quarter of 2020, I joined an art cooperative in downtown Munich. I began reading more small business materials and taking part in online courses and seminars to expand my knowledge. Also, despite participating in far fewer markets, I managed to make more revenue than my first year of business, due to an influx in online sales. *big smiley face*

I'm learning that every bit of progress is worth celebrating as a small business owner. I have learned to take every piece of information which comes my way as feedback--good or bad--and use it to improve what and how I do what I do to better serve my customers. This is incredibly satisfying and motivating for me and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with you in this next year!

Love to you all and thank you for following along with me in this journey! Stay happy and healthy!

XOXO Alison

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