Posted on 29 April 2020
I hope you’ve been well. Like, I sincerely hope you’ve been okay these past few months. To say it’s been crazy is an understatement, and though I haven’t touched base in close to 3 months, you have been on my mind. I don’t know about you but it’s taken the past few months for me to develop some sort of normality about my days (and my life!). If you’ve journeyed with me in the past, you’ll know I like to keep you updated with my personal life because it’s so intertwined with Theo, and boy do I have things to update you on today!
Let’s begin with Christmas… The bushfire season really threw out the joy of the season and the New Year, and retail really took a hit during what would normally be the peak and lifeblood of many small businesses. With your help, we donated the profits from our January sales to the Red Cross Emergency Fund, and while the struggle continues for many affected families, businesses and communities, I think we can all agree that we saw the world come together in a beautiful way.
Personally, through January and February I focused all of my effort on preparing for Life Instyle Sydney - a big trade show with the purpose of presenting Theo to potential wholesalers around the country. The show itself, the marketing materials and travel expenses combined has made it the largest monetary investment I’ve made for Theo to date.
While I was quite pleased with a handful of orders and a new direction to take Theo for 2020, March brought about the heightened awareness of COVID19, and like many, I lost the plot! I went from thinking ‘wow, people are really overreacting…’ to ‘shit, we’re all f*cked’ in a matter of weeks.
My April trip to Bali was cancelled by an airline that is now in administration, I didn’t know whether the stores that had placed orders with me at Life Instyle would still go ahead since they were likely closed or undergoing financial strain themselves, and I suppose the shock of it all left me doing absolutely nothing for a good month. It's worth sharing that just prior to the show in February I finally saw my GP and was diagnosed with moderate depression. If you’re up to date with my rant-y blogs over the years, it wouldn’t surprise you that I’ve struggled with mental illness in the past. So having finally seen my GP and a therapist, it’s clear I’ve gone through seasons of depression before and this was just the year that dipped low enough that I had no choice but to see someone about it.
I don’t share this for sympathy but for transparency. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced ill mental health, loss or uncertainty (I mean, at this period in time basically everyone in the world has) but it’s important to acknowledge the reality and the associated feelings, while recognising that there are many others who are far worse off than myself, both as a result of covid and also circumstances that existed before the pandemic.
After spending a month bingeing YouTube I finally dragged myself back into physical activity because I was sick of my therapist telling me that I needed endorphins, but mostly because YouTube’s algorithms failed to come up with exciting, new, relevant content for me (that’s how much I had consumed). Reluctantly but also advised by my therapist, I developed a routine along the lines of ‘wake up, eat breakfast, watch videos, eat lunch, watch videos, work out at 3pm, shower, make dinner, sleep’ and what do you know, the endorphins did their thing and another month later I came out the other side.
I’m thankful that exercise is what it took, and that being self employed allowed me to take time off for myself, for better or for worse. I know many others have depression and environments that don’t allow them to heal as easily. But I’m not here to justify myself, because the worst thing about having mental illness is the fact that no one believes you have it.
If you take anything from this post, let it be this: never tell someone who has confided in you about their mental illness that you don’t think they have it, and that they’re just going through a low period in life. If that doesn’t make sense to you, think about whether you want your words to be the reason someone commits suicide. That’s how plainly I will put it to you.
Morbidity aside, here I am, a good two months since my last email to you but feeling hopeful, in a relatively stable mental state and ready to problem solve my way through this covid bs. As I type this it is pouring with rain outside and I have 3 layers on. In all my personal angst I had forgotten that winter was indeed coming.
Due to my wholesale plans for 2020, I haven’t designed an Autumn/Winter collection but I’m currently getting my ducks in a row for the wholesale orders that are scheduled to drop in June/July, so I am planning to release limited pre-order pieces for you, which I’ll explain more about next week! For now though, I realise that Tassie aside, Melbourne is likely experiencing the shit end of the weather stick, and that the rest of Australia is still getting sun and warmth, so our summer range is now on sale for those wanting to nab pieces at reduced prices.
Remember I stopped doing random sale periods and have gone back to only being on sale at the end of a season? Usually that’s around March for summer, and September for winter. Pieces will then usually stay on sale until they sell out, so you can still shop some of our past season items too. Have a squiz (hint: the skivvies are the most popular item right now) otherwise stay tuned for next week’s email about pre-ordering new styles.
Like I said, I genuinely hope you have found a way to cope with the current circumstances, and it's so cliché but if there is some way I could help you, please reach out. It has also helped my mental state to be ‘others-focussed’ so while I don’t bake, I do sew, and perhaps I could mend something, explain how to do something or just speak good vibes to you that could light up your day a bit. Take care of yourself. All my love,