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Life's a peach, a mid-year check in.

Posted by Cheryl Yul-Behrenwaldt on
Life's a peach, a mid-year check in.
          It’s mid-year check in time! This milestone has been a long anticipated blog post for me and I am happy that I can have a fruitful check in in mid-July, which is pretty much the mid-point for the year, right? … side note, remember way back when, when we were all so excited for this new decade and then shit hit the fan in late February? Yeah, it didn’t take long for 2020 to take a turn.  Looking forward to 2021 (fingers crossed)! 
           Running a (small) business is not easy, it never was and I’m assuming it never will be.  My philosophy in this and in life is that I’m good as long as I’m learning and having fun in the process because life’s a journey and I’m a student with my bags packed and ready to go on an adventure.  I’m far from the epitome of success, but I try to be successful in my own right and for me, that means taking baby steps and accomplishing goals I have set for myself.  Right now, my priority is my young family and if I can make my business grow in the meantime, well that is just a super-duper bonus. 
              As with most brands/ businesses, my goal is to grow my brand in order to make more sales and that’s an interesting endeavor in the time of Corona.  I was lucky that I am a one woman e-commerce gig, so I don’t have to worry about payroll or paying rent. Yes, I’m a small but mighty growing business which also meant slightly less pressure during this pandemic.  I felt that I could step back when I  needed to focus on Zoom school for three kids, which I am very grateful for, and looking back I was actually quite industrious over the past several months.  That’s why we are here now, I feel good about my mid-year check in (aka, accountability check) because I actually have substantial actions that I can “check off my list”. 
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As a reminder, here are my goals for 2020 (from my first blog) : 
Notebooks & Honey: blog, add varied retail items to the website  and start selling wholesale
Personal: Be more present, be more sustainable and learn how to make pies
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Blog - CHECK. I wanted to add a blog as a way to give the website more content where I can share with you elements about the bag and brand as well as some snippets of life. I’m proud to say this is my 11th (woo hoo) blog.  I don’t consider myself a blogger per say, I’m not trying to churn out as much content as quickly as possible, but I have to admit I really enjoy when I do get to write and then post a blog.  To me, much of the challenge of the blog was the process of starting and committing to it.  I wanted to prove (to myself) that I have follow through game, some things just aren’t that difficult, you just have to get off your butt and do that thing you’ve been meaning to do. 
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Adding retail items - CHECK.  I officially launched the Curated Collection in March, which was pretty much the peak scariness of Covid-19.  The plans were in motion already so it felt silly not to go through with it just because a pandemic was going on … in your face Corona Virus!!! I love the addition of the curated shop to the website, it really compliments the brand as well as offers shoppers great add on items to purchase. The idea is that the curated items will change throughout time, much like in a seasonal retail store. 
Llama yearly planner at the Notebooks & Honey Curated Collection site
                          Recently added item in the Curated Collection shop
Wholesale -  ALMOST CHECK. This is a big one because it was a big commitment and investment, but I’m delighted to say that things are underway for Notebooks & Honey to be a wholesaler. This is a completely new territory for me and will be a great learning curve and a big focus in 2021.  The wholesale bag production is currently underway and to be honest, I’m figuring out the next steps as I go ( good ole’ fashion winging it! ). 
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In addition to all of the above, Notebooks & Honey is introducing a fifth color combo to the family … the new color will be navy wax canvas with a pop of pink lining.  I’m going to have fun naming the new bag color and figuring out it’s personality (that’s one of my fave creative parts of the brand). 
Navy wax canvas and pink lining
Newest color combo: Navy wax canvas with bright pink lining 
As for the personal goals, again, for the sake of accountability, I also want to do a check in . 
Be more present - CHECK-ISH. This is hard, but I am trying. In part I have been successful in this department because I am very conscious of needing to be more in the moment and smelling the roses.  Therefore, I have been.  I will literally stop and let myself have a moment to enjoy the scenery or implant the current best cuddle session ever in my head and heart.  However, as with most parents, I feel like I am being pulled in so many directions at once that it’s hard for me to focus on being present, especially with kids, for instance trying to pay the bills/check email/cook/ use the bathroom in private whilst having my kids screaming at me to look at this really cool thing that they made (that is not actually that cool, back me up folks).  Instead of waving them off, I now try to stop and actually at least acknowledge their awesome creations even if for a moment because they are now at the age where they will remember how their parents were the best /were so mean.  I don’t want to hear it from their future psychologist or be hit with a dose of bad karma; so here we are, looking at some stick figures and pretending that Van Gogh drew them.  Being more present is a work in progress and I really am trying. I have to admit with Covid, things slowed down and we had a lot more family time, so that was sincerely wonderful  … it’s a lovely shiny silver lining. 
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Sustainability - CHECK AND CONTINUOUSLY CHECKING. We have always been sustainable, but as visitors of this planet, we always have room to improve and evolve. As a family, we are embracing the idea of “spend more, buy less”, meaning buying more quality items that will last and not purchasing things that will need to be tossed away pretty much as soon as you open it.  Also, we have been doing small things like declining the plastic utensils when we order carry out and forgoing the plastic produce bags when shopping for fruits and vegetables. 
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Pies - CHECK.  This one has been on my list for a while now (since Jan 2019) and I was really intimidated by it mainly because as a non-baker, it seemed so complicated.  Yet, my love for pies prevailed.  After giving it a go, I am now obsessed with pie making.  In fact, to take it a step further, making dough is the thing I learned during Covid and yes, I am pleased to announce that my pies have been a great success (or so my kids say, they are so kind to me) … it’s creative, visually beautiful, delicious and of course, extremely dough intensive. 
Strawberry pie and navy wax canvas
My first attempt at pie: Strawberry pie ( with navy wax canvas sample on the side)
         That’s it, that was the mid-year check in. I felt like it was necessary because I had very specific goals I wanted to hit for this year and I am extremely proud to have hit them during the first half of the year and in such an incredibly crazy time. Looking forward to many more adventures. As for now, peach out. 

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