Okay, this has nothing to do with lemons, and no, I'm not making lemonade, but you know how the saying goes.
Of course, the hot topic of the moment is the New Year and how we are all so happy to close the door on the trauma of 2020. In reality, 2021 is not a magical unicorn sent to save us, and much of the trauma will likely carry over. However, I have made a conscious choice not to put too much pressure on 2021 and to look back on 2020 with a focus on the good things to come from it.
As you may have guessed, the "lemons" I am referring to that life gave us is, in fact, Covid-19.
2020 was a year of learning for myself as a business person, a parent, and just a human in general, and I can't be mad about that. Learning not to take things for granted in life is of enormous importance. Assuming that we will always have the right to keep our business doors open and trading, that overnight shipping, and international shipping will always be at our beck and call with no interruptions. That we will wake every weekday and send our kids safely off to school. The assumption that because we live in a world of technology and modern medicine, we are safe from a global pandemic.
Pre lockdown Magnolia Kitchen had moved to its new home at 8 Silverdale Street; being three times the size of our previous premises, it has been an upgrade in many ways. We opened our doors just six weeks before being forced to close them like the whole of New Zealand to act fast and keep ourselves safe.
The plan for our space was to sublease an area for a florist and create a beautiful open space where customers could come and enjoy the established vibe of Magnolia Kitchen and also enjoy all a florist has to offer, too, all under the same roof.
Welcome to my waking epiphany, and when I say "a waking epiphany," that is quite literally what I mean.
While in a tailspin wondering how I would make the newly opened larger, much more expensive Magnolia Kitchen Sweet Cafe work financially since all plans had gone to hell in a handbasket, I started to think more defensively and creatively in full survival mode.
Then came the epiphany that went a little like this - I'm already paying the overheads for the space, why don't I start a florist business of my own in the area, and then it's all in the Magnolia Kitchen family. I have a DEEP love of flowers, nature, and trees (evident since I named my business[s] after a tree). My first over reaching thought was that I would retrain as a florist, which has been my dream job for as long as I can remember (shocking, I know - cakes wasn't my dream job). In the same breath, I reminded myself I was working on my second book - Magnolia Kitchen Design, trying to survive a pandemic - personally and financially, and just generally running/growing a very busy brand and business.
Next thought - Abby
Abby has been with Magnolia Kitchen since the beginning of 2018, fondly referred to as Moon Child, she is at one with the earth, feelings, vibes, and all things nature. She left the Magnolia Kitchen team back in mid-2019 to pursue an international life, much to my heartbreak and well wishes.
Like a lot of traveling Kiwis, Abby found herself on a plane back to the land of the long white cloud. Of course, I didn't hesitate to bring her back into the Magnolia Kitchen fold and offered her casual work to help us out in the cafe and distribution of online orders.
Knowing Abby's love of nature and the earth, I quickly set about making her a florist. Together, we got to work collecting beautiful decor and inspiration for the area. Along the way, it was decided that it would not just be a florist but a beautiful space filled with Magnolia Kitchen retail products, gifts, florals, and plants.
For myself and Magnolia Kitchen, the new Magnolia Kitchen Boutique is something that breathed positivity and life into a year that for so many holds memories of fear, uncertainty, and trauma (ourselves included).
Magnolia Kitchen Boutique is just one of many highs that came from my year. By sharing this here, I hope that anyone reading it will feel inspired, be encouraged to see the year that was in a more positive light, and head into this new year with a balanced outlook—knowing that what was, has not come to an end but that we can find success and happiness despite the continued uncertainty.