A Scary Tiny Business
I always marvel when the SBA labels small business as '500 employees or less' since I have spent most of my career as a fixture-curmudgeon who works for free; especially when I have to go through the same gateway of certification as the ongoing entities. Often, I find out I am "too small" to get help during a disaster or inclusion in any program.
Meander is truly a bootstrapped operation. Jodie and I recently went to a jewelry show for inventory components, and we both had that dazed look on our faces (you all know it) when we didn't know if each painstakingly decided-upon $20 charge would go through on our Visa cards. It was an exercise in terror and we knew that we might never sell one item on our launch site, even though we've spent 6 months creating our best wearable works of art in our quiet home studios.
By the time a business like ours builds a website, populates the inventory, and purchases collaterals such as shipping components and business cards, it's almost certainly behind the 8-ball without adequate funding. COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders have added a curious twist to our already risky business plan. But somehow, in the quiet, the time allowed us to get just a little more ready and be a little more thorough.
We are purpose-driven people, and being drawn to creating artisan works is something authentically common for each of us. Now, I struggle to balance my own sense of responsibility to what is going on in our country and world with "Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and where does this fit in my world?" One of my closest friends, Kimberly, said to me the other day, about our own personal experiences with the COVID crisis, "God just hit the reset button." Strangely, there are some of us who had other issues which desperately needed to be addressed in ways only our sequestering and home isolation could provide.
I have always had a soft spot for small, authentic businesses in which a person's lifeblood and soul have been poured into an artistic canvas which literally IS their story: a local diner, a donut shop, a hardware store, a pet groomer, a pizza restaurant. Habitually reused and wiped menus, kitschy little bargain-store salt shakers and condiment holders, signs on the wall that date back to the '80s. These are artworks that scream Americana to me, and they are to be treasured and revered as the veritable patchwork of unmatched parts that all our lives are made of.
Such is the theme behind Meander. The bundle of sticks in our logo represents found things that we have gathered along the way that have meaning to us. None of the sticks are ever straight or perfect, and their beauty is in their ruggedness and imperfection. Our "people" are the same -- cherished and imperfect, yet thoroughly loved. We express that inner and outer love in our carefully made pieces which we hope bring meaning and joy.
We don't know the outcome of our own Meandering journey with our store. We only hope that you will journey with us in spirit. We wish all of you improved health and safety, love among family and friends, and above all, purpose and meaning. Journey On.