WOOOOOOW - what a freaking year it has been my friends! I think we can all agree that 2020 was not what we expected it to be - however.... I've actually enjoyed it. Now - not all parts of course and I will touch on that - but I feel a sense of clarity and direction I haven't felt in awhile. All things business, and personal.
We were already on track to break record numbers in early 2020. Between the Chiefs winning the big game in the early part of the year, and finally being settled into our beautiful (and bigger) West Bottoms Shop - we were ready to service more customers than ever and reach more ladies than I could've ever dreamt of. Obviously that all changed when COVID hit.
I vividly remember having a conversation with Alli on a flight to one of our favorite buying trips - MAGIC - in Las Vegas when talk of COVID really started cycling. Although at the time it wasn't a "huge deal" in the states, a lot of our overseas vendors and designers were wearing masks at the show and telling us the delays they were already experiencing due to factory shut downs and layoffs happening in other parts of the world. Fast forward 2-3 weeks and thats when things started to get really serious in our little corner of the world.
I remember thinking to myself - no big deal, we will close our stores 2-3 weeks while everything settles down and we will keep our girls working from home, etc. Not an issue. Welllll... 2-3 weeks turned into over 2 months of closure for our storefronts and one of the most mentally draining times I have ever experienced.
Between MASSIVE supply chain issues (which we are STILL battling), having to re-invent ourselves literally over night, keeping employees paid and taken care of, all while trying to hold it together as I tried to decide how to navigate the next steps - I literally felt like each day was a miracle to continue to operate. I remember texting back and forth with Alli daily saying how thankful I was for our loyal customer base. How torn up I was about missing a First Friday Weekend for the first time ever, but how thankful I was that we were able to keep going. I saw right before my eyes, some of my favorite local and non-local businesses have to fold up and call it a day for good... my biggest fear.
By the Grace of God, lots of sleepless nights, hard work from my team, and OF COURSE my amazing tribe of sisters - it was never even a topic of discussion. To say that this year hurt would be an understatement - but I want to talk about some of the good that I found - and I hope you did too.
While I was cooped up at home for almost two months with my husband, I was able to learn how many of the small things I missed while building my business non-stop. I missed the Sunday morning sleeping-in and breakfast in bed while live streaming church service. I had missed late night driveway conversations with our neighbors. I missed all the nitty gritty of making a grocery list AND going to get it. (Thank God for Trader Joes curbside pickup!) I missed a lot while grinding out 12-14 hours days.
While I know that to build a big, successful business and to impact all the people I want - it will not come easy... but I think that God nudged me a bit through quarantine to slow down and enjoy all that I've done.
I have learned to be more efficient working from home so I can have lunch with my husband on a random Tuesday. I have learned that 8-10 hour days rather than 12-14 can be JUST as efficient, if you really set your mind to it. I have learned to rely on people and ask for help. I have been shown over and over that my team is quite frankly the best out there and capable of MANY amazing things. Although 2020 has by far been the roughest year I've lived through and owned a business in.... I am so thankful for all the lessons I've learned and things I've been reminded of.
2020 is not written off in my book - or going down as the worst in history like I've heard some say. I'm chalking it up to a year of growth, self reflection, strength and determination like I've never seen from myself.
My team and I would've not gotten through this year without you all. Every like, comment, page share, online order, text message and email were literally kept me going on some of the darkest days. It may just be a silly ol' clothing store, but it is so much more to me. There is so much behind the brand that I will continue to share, but just know my mission is a BIG ONE. Thank you for keeping my dream alive and encouraging us when we didn't know which direction to keep pushing in.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on 2020 in the comments below, or feel free to email me anytime, Sis. All my love,
XOXO, Kayla Taylor