Going with the Flow
Like most of you, I am sitting at my computer with a to-do list propped up beneath my screen. Among a variety of mundane tasks that I've managed to ignore for a good few weeks (clean bathroom, do taxes), there are a few I just can't put off any longer. Staring me in the face is "write blog post".
You would think spending so much time at home these days means that this would be easy. But I'm realising the bane of any action is being motivated to do it. How do I stay motivated to talk about decorating your home, when it's so difficult to leave the house, feel inspired by what's around you, and generally have so little energy after taking care of your family?
At this time, I'd like to introduce a practice called "surrendering". Simply put, it's the concept of going with the flow of life, rather than fighting it, in times of crisis. Easier said than done of course. But in times of feeling out of control, this practice allows you to switch gears mentally. By letting go of what you think should be, you can then embrace what might be. Instead of struggling to swim upstream as you've always done, you can surrender to the open sea and see what the ocean has to offer. Scary.
Running a business in times like these, automatically puts me out of control. So many moving pieces are now laying by the wayside and I'm scrambling to replace them so I can cobble together what I think will carry me through. I'm swimming upstream with a few too many missing fins. What to do..? Think about discounts, social media outreach, current trends. Think about new fabrics, website traffic, reducing manufacturing costs, design flaws...everything I can improve to keep things going the way it should. But while all these things would be relevant in a normal world, we are not in one right now.
It was at this point that I just had to stop. Business as usual seemed pointless. None of these things seem practical and relevant right now. It may be a good distraction, but people are dying. People are risking their lives for people who are dying. A beautiful Poang cover isn't going to ward off the COVID-19 virus, or even fears of catching it. It was then that I decided to give up the fight. It was time to surrender. Sitting quietly in front of my sewing machine, I closed my eyes. I took a breath. I thought "go with the flow". And if you believe in signs or miracles, this was a moment. Within a minute I Googled "face mask pattern". And in one hour I had made my first sample.
Sitting on my studio floor are literally bags and bags of scrap fabric. I donate alot of it to charity such as Days For Girls, who make menstrual kits for girls in developing countries. I'm not short of materials. Before the workplace shutdown hit, I managed to secure a few rolls of stretchy cording, perfect for ear loops. So now I have time, I have materials - everything I need to churn out as many face masks as possible.
I made the announcement to my friend Claire, who happens to be an amazing sportswear designer. Together, we modified the online pattern and made a few changes to accommodate the fabrics I would be using. She mentioned her colleagues in China have offered to send over some medical grade masks. She would be donating them to a nearby hospital. I didn't think my simple homemade masks would be good enough, but after talking with my neighbor Liz, a nurse at UCLA hospital, anything is helping right now. So I set up a fundraiser to produce as many masks as possible for healthcare workers. And with Claire's help, we will be making them not only look good, but be appropriately functional as well.
Below are the first batch of masks I donated to UCLA hospital. It is widely understood that simple fabric masks offer little protection against viruses and disease, but supplies are so short right now, anything works. Please make a small donation to help keep this project going and stay in the loop with updates! DONATE-A-MASK now.
At this time I'd like to thank all of you who are supporting small business during this difficult period. It means so much to know that we are all in this together. By tuning into each other's needs right now and taking a little initiative, we will learn to go with the flow, ride the wave and emerge stronger than before.
Wishing you a safe and happy quarantine.