All Hands on Deck

Being a small business owner at the helm of a sustainable, ethical brand can sometimes feel lonely. The intense concentration and long hours often required can be isolating. Even so, we all know that we do not and cannot do it alone. We need each other.

I’ve had many powerful reminders of this recently. Fellow business owners sharing their struggles. An act of vulnerability reminding me that the struggle isn’t personal, it’s not because I’m doing something wrong. We’re all in the same boat as we work to build businesses that benefit more than our bank accounts. The innovators in my business community are focused on environmental stewardship, fair and equitable employment and the highest standards in design and quality. It’s an honor to be in this struggle together.

Then there are the angels who offer emergency funds to keep me going when said bank account is precipitously low. Keeping me afloat not only with a little cash infusion but with their faith in my ability to sail this ship.

Equally uplifting are the early morning texts that arrive unbidden from collaborators full of enthusiasm and support that keep me hopeful about the better world we’re building together. And the orders placed by someone recently met IRL at a networking event. I smile at the same names popping up again and again on my orders page because I know that they love my work.

This community helps me stay strong and focused on my goals as a business owner. In contrast to the traditional model of keeping profits high and costs low by any means, I strive to maintain a balance between cost and profit that benefits everyone I work with and our shared home, Earth. Small businesses, like kitchen garden textiles, need our communities of consumers to remain fiercely committed to shopping with us, regardless of the convenience factor and sometimes at a slightly higher cost. We need all hands on deck to remake our material culture to benefit all of us.

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