Let's be honest... everything is different. (It's going to get deep) Here's what's been going on for FTA.
Since the announcement of yet another lockdown for many of us it has meant turning our routines upside down and yet again trying to navigate a totally "new normal" for the next few weeks. The re-occurring pattern of the last year.
Firstly I hope everyone is ok. Most importantly that you are all keeping healthy not just physically but also emotionally/mentally. I'm sending out a lot of love to you all as I write this.
Much like many of you it's been incredibly hard to navigate work during this lockdown. To be honest I've found myself this time round entirely prioritising our boy and our new home and life that goes with it. FTA has been on the back burner and I thought i'd just give you all a little insight as to why...
The BIG MOVE and with it a shift of direction...
During the last lockdown we were in the midst of a hot summer, my boy was playing in the garden all day every day with his neighbour friends over the garden fence. FTA kicked off and I was able to find so much time to direct all my lockdown worries and woes into creating ridiculous amounts of products for the shop. Things for FTA were amazing and a dream was coming true.
This time around, it's a little different. This lockdown feels hardcore. In the middle of a bleak winter and right after christmas too (no elf on the shelf to keep the exciting buzz of christmas on the horizon). I'm finding all my energy and inspiration is going into my little boy and keeping him as happy as can be while he can't see friends and family and he can't have endless hours playing in the garden. Priorities seem a little different this time round. Also for him it's been a big year. A global pandemic and the first big home move of his life. With every part of my being it only feels right that for now my focus is entirely on making this new to us home beautiful for all of us and keeping my boy in a bubble of love, safety, inspiration and comfort. Turns out during a winter lockdown... that's more than a full time job.
I've also found myself really thinking about a lot of things since we moved. You see this move was a bit of a big deal for us. The location and property means we are able to fulfil so many of our lifestyle dreams. To start our own veggie patch, prepare for rescuing chickens and generally create our own mini utopia with endless home projects and work on become a little more self sufficient.
Stepping into this new life of ours has made room for me to reevaluate a lot of things especially surrounding FTA and how to do things moving forward.
I realised a lot of things that were not great for my mental health. Social media being one of them. There are so many incredible makers and small bizz owners out there and the community is strong. It's beautiful. But to be a part of social media and your business relying on it heavily requires also a certain kind of strength I found myself lacking after the move. The burnout, the daily grind, the "everywhere you look product and self promotion". It became exhausting, mostly because I had been completely sucked into it and was contributing to it every day. The copycats of my products were getting to me more than they should. I started to feel overwhelmed trying to navigate and juggle a suddenly growing business during a global pandemic, home schooling and moving house. Towards the end I started to feel pretty emptied out and the burnout was real. I was more goal focussed and less working from passion.
The good thing however is it's put me on a journey of really re-connecting to myself and my business. What is really important? What do I want to create? What inspires me? What do I want to put out in the world?
These are all questions i'm still processing and don't entirely have the answers to yet. Once I do have all the clear answers is when FTA will re-open fully.
Here are some things I do already know:
- Stepping away from social media and looking after your mental health while staying truly connected to your own path is more important than clicks and likes.
- I don't want to put more "things" into this world that harm our precious and endangered planet
- Ethical and eco minded is the ONLY way forward
- Whatever I create needs to be made with pure passion and love and NOT to fulfil numbers.
- Stock quantity needs to be less so we don't start heading into the "fast fashion" sector of this business
- Our planet and mental health needs to remain top priority moving forward
While these are all great things to realise the fact is we are still in lockdown, priorities right now are on the health of my family and home and i'm still trying to work out what I want to bring to FTA product wise.
Two things I do know that will be coming is:
1: Hair accessories made from 100% ethical, recycled, vintage or organic fabrics
2: Ethical Wears upcycled or made from organic materials with our embroidery designs
But (yes there is a but) I still feel there is some thing else. What that is I haven't quite worked out yet which is why I haven't completely re-opened FTA for business yet. I'm at that place where I can feel a burning desire in me for some thing and I haven't quite worked out what that is just yet. It could be a new product, it could be a slightly different or new added direction for FTA, It could be a want to bring FTA back down to basics and making what ever I feel and just putting it out there rather than sticking to rigid product collections, it could just be that some more time out is required. I'm not quite sure. But one thing I do know is that when that feeling arises inside us it's a good thing to allow yourself to follow it and see where it takes you, what you might discover. It could be some thing new and exciting or it could be that you just come right back around to where you were to begin with and all you needed was a hybernation period to reset. Who knows, but i'll keep you all posted where I land with it all.
So in short, sorry for the radio silence on my social, website and newsletter front. I hope this newsletter explains a little bit where we're at at the moment (even if it is still all a little unclear currently). Right now the priority is on health on every level and staying true to my path for FTA. After all it's what my whole business stands for (Free the Authentic) stay true to yourself, your journey and who you are.
On another note I really have been missing interacting with so many incredible people on instagram. Upon reflection it's lovely to realise the beauty of social media and during my time away from it to learn how to use it in a healthy way when I do return that doesn't sacrifice ones mental health. Social media, especially for business - is designed in a way that can easily completely take over your life i've come to learn and it's some thing to be aware of and work very carefully with moving forward. If anyone else is going through this or similar you can reach out to me any time. I know the struggle!
In the mean time i'll still occasionally pop on to social and will update you all as and when things progress for FTA. I hope everyone is keeping cosy and well through these pretty crazy times and keep the focus on all the little things that bring you joy.