Happy November, everyone!
I can't believe it's November. This year has been the blurriest blur of my entire adulthood. I'm sure you all feel the same way. Here in Oklahoma City, we had a heck of a week last week. Historic ice storms left hundreds of thousands of people without power, many still don't have it restored yet, and there's an incredible amount of property damage and broken trees to be cleaned up. Our kids can't even go to school tomorrow because there's still no electricity!
Worse, we (at least I'm assuming I'm not the only one?) woke up to an inbox full of "holiday gift guides" from other shops and brands this morning.
As someone who's worked in retail since I was 16 and have been running my own business for 5 years, I know the drill, but still...
I think I'm just tired. Not tired of this work. It's not about burnout. I LOVE creating and sharing my products with you. I'm just tired of the constant consuming we're expected to do in this life. I'm tired of being sold things every second of the day. I'm tired of having to sell things every second of the day. (Ok maybe it has a little bit to do with burnout?)
I guess in the beginning, I was so desperate to make this my living that I didn't think about what it meant to be "on" 24/7 and constantly working, trying to figure out how to grab people's attention and keep it, and then once I had it getting you to actually buy my products (fyi - usually this conversion from lurker to shopper involves both discounting my hard work by offering coupons and going above and beyond to offer you personalized service in the form of lengthy and time consuming emails and messages because social media has made everyone expect instant, personalized customer service from small businesses at all hours of the day and night.) Don't get me wrong, I love connecting with my customers, I just don't love the expectation that I should always be on call. And, the thing I didn't realize in the beginning was that my worth wasn't tied up in my ability to have a successful business, and that once I got there, it would actually start to feel like a bit of a hollow way to live...
Now, this year, things are different. I've changed. Life has changed. And once things change, they don't go back. One of my personal challenges this year has been about learning to/trying to find some kind of balance between my need to share as a maker and a creative human, with my need to actually make a living, which means I need to provide my customers with products and services and messages that are both enticing and actually make sense, and the juxtaposition of those needs with my awareness of the systems and tools that we use to share and shop and wondering why the two (sharing and shopping) have to be so intertwined?
The answer is, they don't need to be so intertwined. They're intertwined because it makes Facebook a whole lot of money to keep them intertwined. And they'll do just about anything (including messing with our mental health) to keep us scrolling and shopping. It's never going to be enough. It's never going to feel like I'm doing enough, selling enough, buying enough.
And I'm still struggling with finding the balance there. If there's one lesson I think I/we were meant to learn this year, it's that we need to slow down. I need to figure out how to feel like I am enough, when all of the media I'm exposed to on a near constant basis is designed to tell me that I can't be enough because there's never going to be enough.
Well, this morning I woke up and said, NO. Eff it.
I'm not playing this game anymore.
What does that mean?
Well, I don't know exactly.
Don't worry, I'm not taking another Instagram break... although I did remove my products from Facebook and Instagram recently, and I'm not running paid promotions on their platforms anymore either. (By the way, did you know they charge businesses a fee when you shop in-app? No thanks, I'll pass. You can easily click on the link and go to my website to shop!)
I guess what I'm saying is don't expect a big to-do from me this holiday season. In the past, I've offered special holiday discounts and free gifts with purchase, and I try to keep it simple, but it always ends up feeling like a madhouse anyway, and it's honestly the worst. (In case you were wondering, yes, 37 is way too old to be pulling all-nighters.)
I know what you might be thinking, but I don't think I'm being a Scrooge. Quite the opposite, actually! I want to keep it simple so I can find some joy this season. This year has been so crazy, I've decided that I'd rather sell a little less over the next 6 weeks if it means I can hang onto some level of sanity. I also have this new venture I'm working on that's going to take up some extra mental space until I get it going so I need some room for that this month...
I do (very much) want you to share my products with your friends and family this year, but I don't want you to do it because it's convenient or cheap. I want you to do it because my products are good and worth sharing, and because you want to support my small business and give your loved ones something special that's crafted with love at the same time.
I'm choosing to trust that what I'm doing here is enough. That my products are worth sharing at full price. That I don't need to be in your face with flashy promotions and coupons and slick graphics 24/7 because the way that I share about my products is just right for the right customers. I'm not going to share less. (I often hold myself back because I'm worried I'm not doing it the "right" way. Like, "Why bother posting a blog, I know people would rather see a video... sigh") I'm going to share more, but I'm going to do it in my own way. (Why not both - blogs for the people who like to read and videos for the people who don't?!) I'm going to use social media as a tool for sharing, not as a tool for commerce.
I'm not going along with the trends or doing what I see other brands doing, or worse, feeling the pressure to keep up when I know I can't compete. Instead of feeling like it's never enough, I'm going to cultivate a culture of mutual support and sharing between myself and the people who find me here. I'm going to double down on what makes my business special - me, and the fact that what I've created is truly unique. No one makes what I make or does what I do, therefore whatever I do is exactly enough. How could it not be?!
So that's my mood going into this month. Hopefully some of that resonates with you too and I'm not just ranting like a crazy person? (I hereby give you permission to also feel that you are unique and special and enough!)
Anyway, here are the newsletter-y things you need to know!
📆 1. Holiday shop closings 📆
I'll be closed on Tuesday, November 3rd (election day,) and November 26th - 27th (Thanksgiving weekend.) Basically, I didn't vote early because I'm still traumatized from the early voting line in 2016 and my usual polling place is always super chill and was also super safe when I voted in the primary election, so I'm doing it on the big day and want to make sure nothing gets in my way. Also, even though it's just me now, I like the idea of giving my future employees time off to vote for big elections. This is also why I'll be closed over Thanksgiving weekend. (So my future employees and I can spend time with our families and eat pie and put up the tree.) I'm not doing a special promotion anyway, although ginger snap makeup will be back Thanksgiving weekend, yay!
Also, I'll go ahead and give you the heads up that my cutoff to ship holiday orders in time for Christmas will be Sunday, December 13th this year. That gives me a few days to make and ship and hopefully plenty of transit time for the post office!
📦 2. 13 days left to sign up for the November box! 📦
This is a simple box, but I thought it was something we could all use about now. (I don't have a tub at my house either but I've found that a good foot soak is just as warming and relaxing, plus you can do it while you watch Netflix on the couch, fully clothed in your coziest sweats.) This is the second to last ever beauty box, (!!) but I do recommend signing up for the monthly subscription because I have some extra fun things planned for December. Sign up before November 14th at noon to get the November box!
🎄 3. Don't forget to sign up for the December Perfume Junkie scent! 🎄
Speaking of subscriptions, you have until the end of the month to sign up for the last-ever Perfume Junkie Club scent. It's a sweet and spicy amber fragrance with Christmas tree inspired forrest notes. (A spray!) If you love Cardigan or Amber Spice, I think this one will knock your socks off! (I hope!)
🎁 4. Look out for new bundles and box sets! 🎁
I may not be doing crazy promotions this holiday season, but I do plan to add some gift-able body care bundles and gift sets for you. Stay tuned for more info as I add them to the "bundles and box sets" section of my online shop this month. (PS I think this perfume discovery box ($50) would make an EXCELLENT holiday gift for the clean beauty lover!) ;)
📵 5. A friendly reminder 📵
I don't run the "customer service" portion of my business through Instagram and Facebook. I know it seems like a quick and easy way to get in touch with me, but it's actually not if everyone is messaging me all the time, and it's definitely not the easiest way for me to answer your questions. (Tech neck.) It makes me feel terribly pressured to get messages coming at me during my off hours, and if I'm not already following you I can't guarantee that I'll see your DMs, much less find the time respond to all of them. Also, it's hard to answer questions about your orders when I don't know who I'm speaking with, unless you're one of the rare ones who's name or email is the same as your instagram handle!
This is a boundary I've had in place for a long time, but lots of people ignore it and I'm not sure why. (Are other small businesses chatting with you all day and night and I'm just the one looser who can't keep up?) If you have questions for me, I'm always happy to respond via email when I'm back at my desk. I get a lot of emails and it's not easy to sort though them all, but I promise you that customer questions are always my first priority. I realize I'm preaching to the choir if you've read this far, but maybe someone will see it?
PS - I don't mind the occasional friendly message, I just don't want to run my business over social media. I know it's kind of a weird request in this day and age, but I really appreciate you meeting me where I can be at my best for you.
6. The November Discount
My big sale of the year is always in October, but if you missed that, hopefully this will get you stocked up this month. Again, this is my only special - there won't be anything added for Black Friday weekend - but please feel free to use it as often as you like! I don't promote these discounts much because they're to reward my loyal followers (like you, reading this now!) only, but you are welcome to use it in the shop. Just mention that you'd like to use this month's app-discount at checkout! 15% off orders $55+ with the code THANKS15
🇺🇸 7. Please vote. For Biden/Harris ONLY. 🇺🇸
I think that's it for this month, but I would very much appreciate you checking back here on the blog occasionally and opening my emails when you them in your inbox. I'm not trying to spam you, I've just got lots of good things to share and I don't want you to miss anything!
Thank you for reading this, and I hope you have a great month (with electricity!)
- Stefanie -