I know it's been quite some time since you might have heard from us. This entire years has been one twist and turn after another. People say this is the, "New normal", but truly... there is no normal right now for many businesses, and families. And when you have a little small home-based business, plus a family you play the primary caretaker in, the 2020 rollercoaster has been dragging me by my feet.
Looking back at my notes and plans for the CRush Shop at the end of 2020, crash and burn wasn't anywhere on that list. We had so much planned and were on target to make those goals happen this year and launch some amazing new tees and tumblers. One thing after another and then you add a pandemic... that goal list that was starting to get checked off, turned into, "Just breathe!".
At the end of December all through January I was sick with an unknown respiratory virus. A couple rounds of steroids and a month on antibiotics, and I still didn't feel 100%. I had a fever for about 2 weeks and spiraticaly over the next week or so, I would run warm. A trip to urgent care, 2-3 trips to my primary, and then trips to a specialist to see if something was going on. Chest x-rays, CT scans... and the only thing that showed was an extreme deviated septum. So, surgery was scheduled.
From onset sickness to surgery, it was 3 months, surgery being in March. In January, I also lost one of the most amazing people I've ever known; one of my dearest friends. In the same week I found out Alisha died, my position at the job I had outside the shop for 6 months was eliminated with a merger. I liked my job and loved the people I worked with, so it was hard. I had found out in October I would be let go. I sucked it up and embraced the opportunity to dive back into the shop full-time and accomplish amazing things. I felt like God was telling me to go a different path or that I was needed elsewhere.
I was approached with the opportunity to have the CRush Shop's items put into a store with other local artisans. I was ecstatic. The price was great and I loved the idea for the store because it felt like it blended with my brand so well. As things got closer to stock date, some of the agreement changed and I had a very uneasy feeling. I prayed about it and decided to back out of the deal. I had also committed to a big vendor event for May and was in the planning stage for that event. Within 2-3 weeks of the decision to back out and committing to the other event, I had my surgery and the world started to slow down.
My surgery was in mid-March. I had surgery on a Tuesday and that Friday was the children in my county's last day of school, we didn't know it would be the last day, but they didn't go back to complete the 2019-2020 school year. I went from losing my job, to backing out on a huge opportunity, to surgery, and then homeschooling- not only little CRush, but my nephew as well. Everything was shutting down and locking up. People were getting laid off, Mr CRush's drill weekends were cancelled, and I was starting to get overwhelmed.
The May event was approaching and I was getting worried. I wasn't able to get a lot of my supplies due to stay at home orders where some of the amazing people I network with reside. I was starting to panic because I had committed and invested in the event and couldn't show up empty handed. I needed materials I use in making my tumbers, I needed to place an order for tees, etc., but I wasn't able to because of the stay at home orders and my suppliers were considered inessential. We were also seeing severely delayed shipping with USPS where things showing a 2-day priority delivery taking 2 weeks. Thankfully, The event was cancelled and we were able to move our investment to another event in August.
I had planned to go back to school for the summer. Due to Covid-19, the schools were on Phase 1 and noone was in the offices. I couldn't get through to someone in admissions nor the school's VA coordinator. I had paperwork that needed to be given for admissions and when I called, all it would say is, "Please contact your advisor if you have questions" or to email. I emailed multiple times and never received contact back. Then, it was too late. After weeks of trying, I was now past the cutoff and my chance at going back to college for the summer was out of reach. I kept pushing forward and planning and planting.
I dove into gardening. I put my entire head into growing food for our table and learning something I wasn't completely familiar with. For the first time in months, I was at peace. I was able to breathe, able to use it as a way to bond with my son, and teach him about how God gives us these amazing abilities to help make his creations grow and nourish our bodies. As long as we were in the garden, all the other stressors I was facing didn't matter; they were nonexistent.
If only I were able to maintain the peace gardening brings me, outside the garden. I start prepping for the August event, but I'm still facing the issue of my suppliers being closed down. I start looking into alternatives, but going those routes would require me to increase pricing. In a pandemic, or whatever these worldly events are, the last thing I want to do is a price increase. I patiently wait for suppliers to open back up and for others to be able to restock. My most popular tumbler styles were sold out, the resins I used were on backorder or sold out, my tee supplier, ink supplier, and vinyl suppliers were all on stay at home orders. I was running out of options.
Just over a month before the event, all my suppliers were operational and items were stocked, finally! I quickly placed orders and start panicking about getting everything in time to complete for the event. Shipping speeds were severely delayed. I didn't get my resins until 2 weeks before. So, 2 weeks to complete enough tumblers to showcase at event that was expecting thousands. I had completed some, but not near enough. My shirts and tumbler restocks were still not here. I had to make the decision to pull out of the event and my heart broke for it. I wouldn't have had but 5 of my most popular size tumbler, the 20oz Skinny that I had already completed. So, just 2 weeks before the event, I had to make the decision to back out as one of the agreements for the event were to be well-stocked and have enough merchandise to maintain appearance with all the shoppers coming through. The event hit max capacity within 2 hours, I wouldn't have had enough inventor to last half the day with those numbers. Our tees came in 2 days before the event. I would have lost my hair designing all of these tees in that short amount of time. Our tumblers stopped tracking with usps and we had to put in a lost package ticket. We have another order on it's way to us, but we aren't expecting to see it for about 2 weeks as that's how things have been going. But, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Things seem to be slowly coming together. We're so close to having the office fully stocked to where we can work again. We know there's still going to be things that come up or slow us down- restocks and shipping to us and from us. We are looking into changing to UPS for shipping our shop orders; it's not definitive, we are weighing costs at the moment. Little CRush is going back to school next week, and I finally got through the admissions process and am about to register for college classes for the fall. We're looking to clean up the website and add some amazing new tees. We're also adding a couple new tumbler styles we are going to release, 1 being a very limited quantity (ONLY 4! We may not be able to get more!) and the other is a fun new wine cup.
As of right now, we have 3 vendor events in the works- 1 confirmed and 2 are pending.
Confirmed event- The Fall Barn Sale at Red River Farms November 7
Pending- The Fairview Missions Market September 25th-26th, we will know more soon on this one as it is Pending Mr CRush's Navy schedule
Pending- An online vendor event I am awaiting more details on to see if it'll be a good fit for the CRush Shop.
If you've read this far, we appreciate you and thank you for caring. This whole Pandemic thing has been a challenge for me, both mentally and in the shop. This weeked, I'm hoping to have the website cleaned up by the end of this weekend and I'll run a sale <3