Unless you've lived under a rock, you know that 2020 wasn't the greatest year either in the US or in the world. As is the custom at the end of every year, we'll take a look back to see how we survived, and a look ahead to decide what we'll be doing next. One thing we've all surely learned this year is that no plans should be set too firmly.
Year 2020 in Buckaroo Bling studio began with the designing of a new collection. The end of 2019 left us without our leather supplier, who suddenly decided no longer to produce the type of leather lace we needed for our Dream Catchers jewelry collection. So, the Boss Lady made the decision to start from scratch. The Dream Catchers 2 jewelry collection was born with a pledge to rely on the offerings of our local, Montana based, leather supplier.
Everything was going swimmingly till we arrived at Made In Montana Tradeshow in Helena, Montana on March 12th. We were expecting a great show with the first, wholesale day, much better than the previous year's (after all, we put more marketing work in this time around), and a blockbuster second, public showcase day. Alas, even before we started setting up our show booth, we were informed that powers-to-be had decided to cancel the public showcase day due to the panic about this new thing called COVID-19.
That was just the first of the string of cancellations. Throughout the year, it was followed by cancellations of 4 other large shows we signed up to participate in, a complete bust at the fifth, and withdrawal from the sixth due to unreasonable "safety precautions." We were left to rely on our humble website and mailing list of 130 at a time when prices of beef were falling, those employed in the city were losing jobs, and store shelves were stripped bare even of toilet paper. If this wasn't enough to get our customers to stop buying, having to shut ourselves in our homes for a whole month at the time when our neck of the Montana woods registered only less than 40 cases of the dreaded disease (in an area of over 100,000 inhabitants) surely did it. Sales were non-existent, bills were mounting, and we were forced to sit down and seriously think about whether to shut our business doors forever.
Thank goodness for Mr. Bling's "essential" job outside the home! It kept going as if nothing happened, and sustained us through most of the year. With lots of prayer throughout this time, we shifted our priorities, reallocated whatever funds we had previously set aside for business, did all the work on the website and other behind-the-scenes stuff we were too busy to finish before. Life wasn't easy, but our faith got us through, and we managed to recruit some Bling Deputies to showcase our products to their fans. We also got our proverbial foot in the doors of two online wholesale marketplaces and are hoping to get a go-ahead for the third soon. Buckaroo Bling was also approved for a small grant from Montana Arts Council at the end of November, and we did get a few orders here and there as well. We thank G-d for that, and are praying for a better 2021.
So, what's the plan for the new year? One thing we learned for sure this year is not to make any plans that are too firm. This may seem strange to say about a business, but we've been reminded over and over that it's G-d whose plans will prevail no matter how much we humans plan in advance.
That said, we do have some general ideas about where Buckaroo Bling will be going in 2021. First, we'll be shifting most of our sales efforts online. There may be a couple of live events we'll still attend if and when things get back to normal out there in the big, bad world, but we'll primarily be focusing on e-commerce in the months to come.
What does that mean for you? It means you'd want to be on our mailing list (scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up), or you'll miss out on sales, special events, giveaways, and a lot of other fun stuff. We promise not to "spam" you, and we promise not to share your email address with anyone ever. What you can expect to receive are two newsletter issues and two short emails per month, and some occasional extra emails when something out of the ordinary is happening, such as a sale or a special event. If you tell us you'd want us to email more often, we'll make sure to find time to do so, but for now, this is the plan.
Starting this year, we'll also be closed for ALL business on Saturdays. That includes responding to your emails, chat messages, and social media comments. Still, you'll be able to shop our website on Saturdays as usual. The only difference is that your orders placed between Friday and Sunday won't be shipped till the following Monday. As for the possibility of a new collection dropping sometime in 2021, stay tuned. We'll let you know as soon as that decision's been made.
What can you do to help? First, have yourself a good 2021, and keep us in your prayers as we will keep our fan and customer family in ours. Second, sign up for that mailing list so you don't miss anything, and follow us on Instagram for up-to-date news.
Happy New Year!