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!).

  • thank you for your honesty! it’s refreshing and much appreciated. i think I’ve cycled through every single one of the emotions you’ve described in a single day. I’ll continue to read + support through this pandemic and on the other side, too, whatever that looks like.

  • I am not a blogger or YouTuber or anything but for me, personally, I like to have these slivers of “normal.” I can’t watch the news 24/7 because I don’t think its mentally healthy, so I need distractions. I need to feel like the world will go on and continue and so I want to still see and read blogs about beauty and fashion. You are providing a mental health service for us. So I agree with you. Be aware and empathetic but also keep doing you to help us, your readers, feel like there are some slivers of normal life still left.

  • You are truly one of my favorites on Instagram! As a long time follower I’ll be sending you all the vibes, prayers and love that your businesses continue on. I feel all the same emotions. I have days where I think we can do this, let’s kick corona to the curb and others where it is all just too much and I feel as if I’m living in a nightmare. But as the sun continues to come up everyday, the moon also knows its time, and flowers begin to bloom I’m reminded that our earth continues on always, and so has mankind. Much love and peace ????

  • Thanks for this honest, heartfelt post. I’ve seen other bloggers “address” the virus in ways that don’t always seem grounded in reality. This was really hard to read, but at the same time – you’ve vocalized a lot of what most of us are feeling: uncertainty and anxiety mixed with gratitude and grace. And it’s all just HARD. Keep your head up and take care of yourself.

  • Anna, you are always transparent and honest. I appreciate this post and hope for the best for you. Even though I’m still working, it’s challenging to be at home with my 11 month old. The future is so unknown and scary. Thinking of you, your family and your businesses. I will continue to follow you because I enjoy the content you create.

  • Thank you so much for your honesty Anna. Every day I tell myself that “this too shall pass” and I try to stay focused on the positives, but some days it’s really hard. I do know that my perspective has shifted and that when this is over I will never take some things for granted again – like fully-stocked shelves at the grocery store (toilet paper whenever you need it!), or last-minute happy hours with my girlfriends. We WILL get through this and we’ll be stronger and more resilient for it. Xoxo

  • You are one of the few influencers I’m still following. I wish you luck with your business and appreciate you sharing you feelings and being sensitive throughout this…I imagine it’s a really hard balance to find. Best of luck and thank you!

  • Wow, you describe exactly how I feel. We are all in this together, and even though we haven’t met, I feel a kinship with you. It is funny how common events can tie people together who have never met. I am sorry about your year; a time of peace and healing would have been better for you. Thank you for being real, and I do hope your business comes out ok after this. I just said a prayer for you and your family and your finances.

  • Thanks so much for your honesty. We’re all figuring it all out as we go. Sending you good vibes! Also I appreciate you explaining furloughed, I had heard it and didn’t know what it meant.

  • I loved this piece, I am not a blogger but have been reading blogs for years. I have really narrowed down the list of blogs that I follow in the last 2 weeks.. In times like this, I think it is important to ‘read the room’ as you said and to be mindful of the world we are living in. Too many bloggers, in my opinion, are acting like this is business as usual while it is not. One blogger this week, even posted a ‘ how to buy a luxury handbag on ebay” I could not believe how tone deaf that was. While I understand that we all have to make money and that we are all looking for distraction from the onslaught of scary news, I also think that we all have a social responsibility as well. I think blogs like yours will come out stronger the other end. Hugs to you

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