I Have a Lot On My Mind; Blogging During the Chaos
It’s been an unprecedented few weeks and I just have to ask: how are you doing? Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m doing. I miss my mom, my in-laws, my siblings (who live mere miles away!) and I can’t wait to see and hug them again. My kids are doing alright but it’s confusing for them. My oldest really misses school; it’s been tough on him not seeing friends and going to Kindergarten every day. Maybe you’re like me and sometimes you can put on a happy face and think, “we got this–it won’t be that long!” Other times, I’m terrified for the health of my loved ones. And sometimes, I’m depressed thinking about all the economic implications that are coming (and already happening). It makes me feel stuck. I’m frozen and I know I’m not always putting my best foot forward with my work, creativity, homeschooling (yeah, that’s a new one), or even interacting with my family at home.
I’m grateful to be in a place where I can work from home but like so many, work is slowing down in a big way. My inbox used to be bumping with offers from partners new and old to work together–and since mid March, it’s been eerily quiet. I know enough to understand that when companies aren’t profitable, the first thing to go is the marketing budgets–and what I do for sponsored content falls under that category. I’m scared for my business. I’m nervous at the loss of income. I was reading an article on WWD where James Fohr said people in our industry said they should expect a 30% decrease in income; that’s a mighty big chunk, especially when you always hope to grow year over year. 2/3 of my income comes from partnerships, so basically anytime I work with a brand you see that disclosure that it’s an #ad or sponsored. The other 1/3 comes from affiliate links–when you click on a link and decide to purchase (clicks don’t equate to revenue). While I’m grateful to have a couple longer term partnerships still playing out at the moment, this is the time of year when it’s supposed to pick up after the crazy Q4 holiday season and so far, it’s been crickets. I treat affiliate income as more of an extra revenue stream rather than a main source of income–you probably notice that while I will provide “swipe-ups” from time to time on instagram, it’s something I try not to overdo. But given the state of everything, all this unknown, I will most likely have to reassess my business in a huge way if I want to stay afloat.
Unfortunately, I have felt the trickledown effect of the coronavirus early on; our small, family-owned factory that produces our jackets for One/Third is outside Hong Kong and they *just* re-opened a week ago after being closed all of 2020. (I couldn’t have even imagined that this would’ve impacted us in such a huge way across the world mere months later.). We were supposed to have new inventory to sell in March and now we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll have SOMETHING in May. But even if we have something–what about our customers? Will people have disposable income to be buying clothes? Will we even be able to leave our houses by then?
So, yeah, I own two small businesses and realize that this is the time to pull myself up my the bootstraps and make this work. But whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I thank my lucky stars that I work alone and that One/Third is just my partner and me–thank goodness we don’t have employees yet. I feel sick about all the restaurants, nail salons, boutiques, retailers, that are going to shutter–businesses I love and support. My husband works in the retail sector of banking (it gives us a LOT to talk about) and things are bleak. It’s truly upsetting thinking about a lot of household companies that you and I both love that might not make it to the other side of this. I think about the employees who are getting laid-off or furloughed (you might be hearing that word a lot and it basically means you’re not working but you’re also not getting paid, but you have a job to come back to) and when I see the current unemployment numbers, it makes my head spin. I also pray for everyone in the medical field that is quite literally risking their life to go to work all while running out of the necessary PPE.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been a pretty heavy year for me (not 2020, but the past 12 months). I’ve dealt with a lot of loss which has caused an inordinate amount of stress. With the world in crisis right now, I think about what has been happening and can’t believe this is life right now. I feel like my mourning period just keeps getting extended. What has been the most overwhelming for me has been the fact that we all know deep down that life as we know it probably won’t be the same after the dust settles–and that’s really overwhelming to think about. I do think that some good can and will emerge from this but when you’re in the eye of the storm, you’re just trying to survive.
I’m really going to try and toe the line over the next couple weeks–there will be a little business as usual but I hope you know that it’s coming from a place of me trying to keep everything afloat but also knowing that these are not normal times. I really, really, truly do not want to be tone deaf right now. But I also know this is the nature of my industry (that I love working in!) and I am going to give it my all to keep chugging along. I hope you feel like you can still visit me here and on instagram for moments of levity amidst the chaos. I want to be fun and helpful for you, still! Also, I want you to know that I’m in the trenches with you. I’ve seen a lot of my fellow bloggers ask their audiences what they want to see and while I’m always open to suggestions (seriously! I love when you leave comments or DMs with suggestions!), I always try to read the room first. I want to make sure I’m staying true to myself while being fun and also sensitive to the world’s happenings. It’s a lot to think about but I’m here for the challenge. Thanks for sticking with me. Your support means more than ever right now. Please take care of yourselves (and your loved ones!).