So… What Do We Do Now?

So… What Do We Do Now?

Posted by Amy Zhang on

Well, we’ve made it. Hopefully Galentine’s (is this still a thing?) and Valentine’s Day treated you well, and now we’ve hit the stretch of the year where there’s… well, there’s not a whole lot to do or look forward to.


If you’re like us, then this is the most anxiety-inducing time of year because you just don’t know what to do with yourself. It’s a time of maintenance, and some of us are really not good at existing in that space. What do you mean we just stick to the same routine over and over again for days on end and that at some point — very slowly and methodically — that might produce results?


Ok, anyways. It’s a time of year where there are no immediate holidays to design for. There are no events to occupy our planning and travel plans — unless we convince ourselves to fly out to San Francisco for this year’s Noted (but really it’s so we can eat at Palette Tea House and Nabe). There’s not a whole lot of fun, exciting things to do here in the Northeast as winter bleeds into “mud season.” (If you're lucky enough to have never experienced a mud season, it’s very self explanatory — and very muddy, obviously.)


So, what’s there to do?


No, seriously, what’s there to do? Where do we go from here? We’re genuinely asking these questions. 


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Neither of us are any good at “staying the course” and “waiting things out.” We’re too full of anxious energy and need to be constantly moving towards something or doing something that feels active.


This has been the first year in the business’ life that I’m not just treading water (a metaphor I used almost daily when Joe and I first met, trying to explain the pressures of the business to him). Even after bringing Joe into the business, there was all of the learning that came along with such a big change: how do I manage an employee? How do I teach Joe what he needs to do? How do I make Joe feel like this is also his business? How do I figure out what executive-level business tasks I should take on first? 


And then, we decided that the best thing to throw on top of that was a cross-country move, a handful of trade shows, and learning how to become shop owners.


2024 is the first year where I (and now, we) won’t be taking on all the things, all the time. It’s a year that we’ve reserved for focusing and learning, and doing so intentionally. A year where we’re consciously planning long term goals, and using those to influence what short term objectives and tasks we’re setting for ourselves. But that also means that, very early into the year, we’ve hit a stretch of time where there just isn’t much we can fill our time with. Things that we did last year, like scoping out potential new workspaces, or trying to get a potential landlord to give us the time of day, or finding out if there are any nursery rhymes that would indicate that we maybe shouldn’t move to a particular town… and so we feel like we’re just sitting on our hands.


Ok, that’s a bit extreme. We’re still doing plenty of things that are moving us forward with the business (look forward to some new product categories very soon!). But we’re having to rethink our idea of what “active” means, and understand that the things that we’re doing today might not have an effect until further down the road. We’re having to eschew the immediate feedback loop of planning a trade show booth one month and going to exhibit at said trade show the next. For us, this year is a lot more like planning for a trade show that won’t happen until 2025.


So naturally, instead of feeling grateful for this bit of “down time” (which, by the way, I’ve been whining about not having for the past five years of business ownership), I’m finding myself feeling antsy because it feels like things aren’t moving fast enough. Of course, all the new *exciting business things* will be here before we know it, and I’m sure I’ll wished we’d taken advantage of this quieter season.


Maybe next year.


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