Wow. Just wow. March has been quite a month. In fact, 2020 so far has been a real kick in the pants / eyeopener / slap in the face / epic adventure / life changing. You get the idea. I'm wondering how the well-known proverb for the month fits in here... "in like a lion out like a lamb". We have yet to see anything lamb-like and the damn lion keeps getting hungrier and angrier. So, with this strange new world upon us, here is an update on what we've been up to.
First off, Kootz Collective is still operational. We are lucky to be a mainly online shop so orders will continue to be shipped so long as the postal service keeps on shipping. Both Kelsey and myself have been practicing social isolation since Friday, March 13. Our full time jobs are computer-based so it was fairly simple to become remote. Because we have kids, we felt that working remotely from our homes sooner than later was the best choice to protect our youngsters as well as distance ourselves from anyone more vulnerable. We can also assure you that all of our packages will be packed with our usual love and care and both of us and our families are in good health.
The week that we both packed up our office supplies and headed home was surreal. Some businesses were quick to close down, others continue to stay open. For us, in addition to wanting to protect our family and others, the wake up call came from 8,000km away, in Italy. We have family in Central and Northern Italy, very close to the COVID-19 epicentre in that country. We were able to reach our cousin and the brief but telling messages he sent were urged us to take action immediately. The country is in complete lockdown. Our cousin urged us to take the virus seriously and his hope was that the Canadian government would handle it better (and faster) than Italy's did. Many lives have been lost and we are seriously concerned for our relatives. So far, everyone in our family there is healthy but they are in our thoughts daily. This was literally the day, that in Canada, shit started to get real. We new we needed to socially isolate as soon as possible. We really hope that everyone is taking this seriously and respecting the fact that COVID-19 is not about you "living your life", it's about levelling the curve and making sure elderly and immune compromised citizens can stay safe. 2 weeks to a month of social distancing is a small price to pay to get our country (and the world!) back on its feet.
Our at home work spaces. Whatever works! Leah's on the left, and Kelsey's on the right.
Sales and support for us during this concerning period of time are important to keep our small business afloat. We want to take the time to give a shout out to all the other small businesses out there too. Many who have supported us throughout our journey in different ways. Businesses run by working Moms like us, single parents who hustle like nobody knows, and families who's small businesses are their only source of income. If you check out our socials throughout this week we will be tagging and mentioning lots of other Calgary and Kootenay-based business to check out! The Amazon's of the world will never go away, but there are many creative and valuable Canadian shops and artists who may not survive this abrupt change in landscape.
In the past 2 weeks we have had co-workers, friends and family lose their jobs so being frugal at this time is top of mind for us and clearly for others. There are ways you can support a small business aside from purchasing. Here are just a few ideas:
- Give the business a positive review on Facebook
- Purchase a gift card for future use (for anyone wondering, we do not offer gift cards at this time)
- Like and share their social media content
- Engage with them on social media and have meaningful conversations ('cuz you know we all on the internet right now!)
- Read their blog and leave a comment
- Fill out their surveys or questionnaires
- If you are in the position to buy, many brick and mortar shops have switched to delivery - have something sent your way or perhaps to an elderly neighbour or family in need
- Skip the refund and/or tip like a boss
- If you're in their area or know them - just ask. How can I help, or, how can we help each other?
A few of you have already inquired about markets. Summer is our main market season and we are really hoping to get to a few. We had plans for a pop-up in Creston as well as returning to MarketFest in Nelson. Right now, that is obviously on hold and we won't be booking anything until we know it's safe and that the markets are a go.
Right now there are a few things keeping us busy and staying positive. Our families are healthy and we are discovering new and fun ways to explore, learn and have fun at home or outside in our neighbourhoods. So far, we both continue to be employed at our full time jobs which is a blessing. Fingers-crossed this will continue for both of us as everything is up in the air and not a guarantee. New Kootz Collective apparel for Spring/Summer IS HAPPENING and we are very excited to keep you updated on that, including a new Kootenay stockist!
Our favourite Kootenay view and one you will likely recognize if you follow us.
Shot from our parents house on the East Shore, March 20, 2020.
The fluffy and famous Boo Grizzly emerged from his den on March 18th to herald in the new season. A caretaker at Kicking Horse even caught the moment on video as Boo breaks through the top layer of crusty snow and his giant Grizzly snout sniffs the cool, fresh air for the first time in months. I had the pleasure of meeting Boo two years ago on a trip to Golden (on his Birthday, no less) and I've been obsessed with the big guy and his amazing story ever since. I'm wondering now what the dedicated caretakers had to tell Boo when he woke up. Well, big bear, the world is a lot different now then when you went to sleep...
Both Kelsey and I (Leah) are wishing you and your families all the best in health. Take care of each other, reach out to someone in need and stay at home. We are all in this together!
SALE // We have a sale on right now. Everything in the online shop is marked down and we've eliminated our shipping rate!
If you have any questions about sizing, let us know. During this time we will not be accepting exchanges or refunds on our apparel because of the reduced sale pricing and to keep things in line with best COVID-19 practices. All of our product was printed months ago and has been in our homes - we are the only 2 people that ever handle it. We have been at home since March 13 and are in good health. All of our apparel is printed in Canada.
REVIEWS // A business review goes a long way, especially now. If you'd like to leave us a positive review on our Facebook, go here. Thank you!
SHOUT-OUTS // There are so many good deeds going on throughout our country right now. People helping people is the best. We wanted to give a special shout-out to all the distilleries who have started producing hand sanitizer for first-responders and other at-risk people and groups. What an amazing use of resources!