January 11, 2021
Happy New Year!
I know many of us were glad to see that calendar flip over from 2020 to 2021. We all know it's not a magic wand that makes everything better, but it's an opportunity to try to make things better- at least, the things we can control.
There's a lot of things that are beyond our control right now, and I know that's an unsettling feeling. It's ok to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, just like it's ok to not be as productive as you've usually been, just like it's ok to accept our new reality and try not to think about how long it's truly going to last.
2020: The Biggest Troll
It's still January, so I'm declaring it still ok to say Happy New Year to folks and to write tl;dr blog posts about the previous year. :) So without further BS, 2020:
2020 was a YEAR, wasn't it? I'm nicknaming it the Biggest Troll. It's a nod to a Childish Gambino song titled iii. life, the biggest troll. I know many folks that experienced their worst year ever. I can relate. 2020 was NOT my worst year.
A cancer diagnosis can do that.
But my cancer treatment continued into 2020, so both years were shite.
There was a LOT of shite in the past few years, so instead of writing a bummer post like I started to (then it bummed me out in a major way), I'm going to look at the good things that happened in 2020:
1- Orders shipped to 19 states
I know that might not seem like a lot of places, but when you're a tiny, one-woman handmade business, it's a wonderful thing in my book.
2- HUNDREDS of masks donated
Many business owners pivoted in the spring to making masks, and I was one of them. I am happy to say that I've managed to donate hundreds of masks to folks in need. Part of me longs for the day when masks are no longer a thing, but another part of me is thankful for not getting a cold, flu, or covid-19.
3- Donated to many charities
One of the things I've always wanted to do since starting my business is share the love and have the ability to donate funds to folks in need. While it wasn't much this year, I hope to grow the amount I donate each year. I tend to opt for organizations where it's easy to see the true impact of my donation. Here's the organizations I've donated to this year: Planned Parenthood, Sustenance Project (this is a project my friend Michelle began when she realized Hispanic families were going without food because they don't want to impact immigration applications by applying or receiving any sort of government-funded assistance), Black Femme Fund, Doctors without Borders, Astoria Arts and Movement Center, Consejo Hispano, and The Harbor of Astoria. If you'd like to see receipts, please send an email my way and I'm happy to send along receipts.
4- Sourced certified food-safe PUL
I was bummed at the beginning of the year to find my food-safe PUL company had gone out of business! It took me some time, but I eventually found a new source for the lining of my Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags and Wet Bags. Even better: while my previous supplier deemed their PUL food-safe, this new company has a certification that states it's food safe, which makes me feel even better when stitching up new bags. :)
5- Restocks! Holy restocks, Batman!
I was blessed with everyone's generosity last fall when you nearly bought out my ENTIRE inventory of handmade goods. It took me a while, but I did manage to get restocked on nearly everything.
I was so excited to launch my sticker line last year- I've been getting back into illustration for some time and, honestly, I was terrified about putting my art out into the world. The favorite of the year? The Dumpster Fire sticker(no surprise there, right?). I am brimming with ideas for new stickers this year, so if you want to have the first look, be sure to sign up for my mailing list or pledge on Patreon.
7- Launched services
Last year was finally the year I got better about overcoming my major Impostor Syndrome and began offering consulting services. I started back up at the agency where I was full-time, but this time as a freelancer, and I'm so grateful for them and to be able to have this flexible situation.
I also launched services of my own- I've been offering consulting for small business owners for a few years at Craftcation, and now I'm offering it on my site. You can read more here about this service.
Shopify Theme Setups are a brand new service I unofficially launched in the Fall last year. I only take on a very small amount of clients at a time, but I've been helping fellow creative, product-based business owners set up their Shopify site from trial to launch.
So while 2020 was DEFINITELY a Dumpster Fire, there were some silver linings in these dark clouds. One weird thing about going through cancer treatment was that I found myself oddly resilient and even more weird: looking on the bright side of things. I never thought of myself as an optimist, but maybe that's a silver lining in and of itself.
Thanks for reading, friends. May our 2021 have many, many silver linings. Hugs, and stay safe!!
Hey there, I'm Holly Marsh (Maker/Illustrator/Mama/Nerd), the force behind MarshMueller. I started the company in 2011 after getting frustrated with the ho-hum options in big box stores when creating my first son's woodland-animal-themed nursery. I hand-pick every fabric, thread color, and zipper, design my own sewing patterns, and moosh them all together to create rad products for parents and gift-givers in my Astoria, Oregon studio (aka MarshMueller Secret Labs).