I'm struggling to find a starting point, to be honest. With so much going on in the world today anything that I write about cakes and my little business just seems silly. Additionally, my family recently grew so I've been a little sidetracked at home. We had the amazing good luck to get in and out of the hospital pretty much right before things got scary with quarantine measures, masks, and social distancing. Our oldest daughter wasn't allowed in the hospital to meet her little sister but I will always be grateful that my husband was able to be right by my side for the whole process. It's been interesting because I was already planning to take some time away from outpast2 so that my attention wouldn't be split between my business and my baby but many small businesses took a massive and unexpected hit. Also due to having a newborn, I was pretty much already planning to be on a stay-at-home order with her. The big change was that my husband and toddler joined me. My vision of peacefully easing into the transition of having a second child quickly crumbled in the daily chaos that comes with having a toddler while working from home. Even my mother had an extended unplanned stay (8 weeks total) because her flight back to Texas had to be rescheduled multiple times due to the state of the world and the virus at large. She was more helpful than I think she realizes. *Shout out to my mom for quitting smoking during her satay with us though! So, basically everything got turned upside down in our household but I know we weren't alone. I also know it's not over yet.
Prior to welcoming our second daughter into the world, I had actually drafted several blog posts and newsletters in an effort to stay on top of my little business knowing that once I had a new baby attached to my hip working from home would be a little more challenging; but in light of how most American families are now balancing home/work/school/everything... my previous work seemed misplaced and small so I didn't end up posting anything that I had finished in preparation. In fact, I elongated my absence from baked goods and held off on launching any sort of nonperishable product due to COVID. The few social media sites that I maintained for outpast2 came to a screaming halt and I'm actually really surprised at the heightened number of requests I've continued to receive. Groceries are harder to come by so I'm about to have to completely revamp my menu offerings because it's simply unreasonable for me to spend a day or more "hunting" for specialty items while trying to nurse my newborn. Not to mention the fact that I have no desire to be out potentially bringing home germs in general to her. "Delivery?" you ask - That would require me to also redo my pricing and I just don't think it's worth it. Furthermore, while literally everyone is taking extra safety and cleaning precautions (rightfully so, myself included) it just didn't seem like a good time to expect any sort of up swing with potential shipments going out. Unlike many other small businesses (and some larger ones) outpast2 will be able to survive on minimal income because of my minimal overhead and upkeep. I don't have any employees relying on me for a paycheck and what money I make here goes directly back into my business for supplies. I don't even have a marketing budget to speak of so realistically I can't complain. The economy has enough to worry about without me adding to the ever-growing list of small businesses needing local help and attention. Having said that, I haven't attempted to request any sort of government support as I firmly believe it should be reserved for those who are truly struggling with the current impact of COVID. I am eternally thankful that I didn't attempt to open a physical storefront as a separate business space prior to 2020. I'm beyond touched by the number of clients who have reached out with order requests. I am overwhelmed daily by the love and support that I am receiving in these crazy times. I fully see that I am one of the lucky ones these days and I am, in short, humbled by it. In turn, it has made me rethink the structure and purpose behind my small business yet again.
So while my first instinct is to simply lay low and pray to all the gods that 2021 is a swift and painless do-over... I am planning to (again) start accepting orders and attempt a new plan on other merchandise. It's scary and seems pointless most days to be perfectly honest, but something deep down in my tum tum is telling me to give it a go. I've learned that the fear of failing isn't the part I have to get over but rather to learn the art of failing quickly and then getting further on the next attempt. So I'm attempting again. My next steps are to redo my website in an effort to have it accurately reflect my capabilities at this point in time. I will also be working on figuring out what new schedules I can hold myself to so as to maintain a manageable amount of incoming work. My current situation isn't what I had in mind when I was trying to plan out the months after our baby's arrival but I don't think anyone can say any differently at this point either. So let's all have some cake and keep that quarantine body strong, no? It's unbelievable that the year is already half gone and yet I feel like I'm starting over completely in some ways. I'm also planning to take the time to find some way to give back to the community with my business. If you know me and my past ventures, it's out of character that I haven't already done this. My passion falls to education because I truly believe that this world would be a better place if the people in it were smarter - to say it bluntly. I am not excluded from this statement and I continuously strive to find new learning paths. If nothing else I know enough to know that I don't know anything at all, really. Stay tuned and feel free to message me with suggestions regarding charitable causes that intend to help future generations build stronger foundations in learning. Bonus points if there's particular attention paid to teaching Americans how to wash their hands and not be racist.
On that note, I have recently taken the time to put some serious thought into the principles behind my business. Previously, I think I had been holding back using my own voice as a representation of my company for fear of excluding potential customers. I mean... any business basically wants as many possible clients in the pipeline as possible, right? But 2020 has helped me come to the realization that I'd much prefer to use my little endeavor as a platform for what I believe in. It has also given me some much needed reflection on refining how I present my business and what exactly my specialty is. It is not news that I was struggling finding a focus. Thankfully, I think I finally figured it out.
Celebration. I want outpast2 to be the place that first pops into your mind when you have something or someone to celebrate. Obviously, I've got the cake part down as that is the only revenue stream that's currently operating sufficiently. I've already known and talked about how I want to expand into home goods and fashion and I feel that I've finally found a guided path with "celebration" as my central theme. To dive a bit deeper, the feeling that we get when we celebrate - that's what I want to cultivate and spread largely due to the fact that people in general are better humans when we're in a good mood. My goal is to create the type of customer experience that inspires you to "pay it forward" by smiling at a stranger, being kind to the messenger of bad news, and finding the calm inside you to try and see a difficult situation from another' perspective. Given the current state of the world, it's really important to me to make it clear what outpast2 stands for and I unapologetically want to proclaim the following:
(In no particular order)
I support teachers and education. They have been wildly undervalued, underappreciated, and underpaid considering they take care of THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN OUR LIVES - our children. Every child who wants an education deserves an education because your potential should not have to be budgeted depending on the family you were born into.
Black Lives Matter. Yes, all lives matter but black lives need the support right now so please don't... just don't with any other argument.
Police need better training and psychological screening and aid. I have a great deal of respect for "good cops" and I want to support a system that creates more of them.
Gun control. Yes, keep your guns - but understand that you need to be psychologically prepared to use them and keep them away from anyone who isn't. I do think it should be much harder to get a gun in an effort to keep our heroes heroic and the mentally ill safe.
Families belong together. I can't understand how this even has to be said. I am so thankful that I've never been put in the position of having to fight to keep my children with me in any capacity.
Wear a mask (correctly) - even if it comes out that they didn't make a difference. Until we know I'd rather be inconvenienced by a mask than potentially pass on a deadly virus to someone who is susceptible to it. This goes hand-in-hand with my devotion to staying at home whenever possible. It's not about me, it's about those around me. And no, I don't think it's the government's way of controlling me. Taxes are. Laws in general are. But I do all that because I've agreed to be a part of this society in this nation and I want to be a good citizen and neighbor.
My body, my choice. Your body, your choice.
Men need to be held to higher standards in regards to controlling any sort of rape impulse some may have because "No means no". Let's teach men how to be respectful instead of teaching women to live in fear.
Feminism is for everyone. Women have every right to equality in the workplace as well as at home. Feminism is about choice. You can absolutely be a stay-at-home mom who is a feminist just as much as you can be a ball buster of a female working at a Fortune 500 company - you may choose, just as men may choose.
Love is love. I do not care who you love or how you identify. You do you. I wish you happiness, health, the respect you deserve, and human rights.
Our environment needs help. Recycle, reuse, and go green wherever you can.
This list will forever be added to, I have no doubt. For now, the point is that outpast2 will not be moving forward as a passive company while topics like the above continue to be debated. My goals will be to donate a portion of my proceeds to various organizations that focus on helping the causes that speak to me and I hope that if you order from me, you are excited to support them as well. I will make an effort to publicize where and how much I donate every quarter, rotating causes as I am able because it is not lost on me how lucky I am in this life. I will forever be thankful for the opportunities that have been afforded to me and for the fact that I found the love of my life early enough in life to celebrate it.