There Is Hope (and happy 1st birthday to RA!)
Just like many, our world had turned upside down this month (there's a light at the end of the tunnel, promise - keep reading). I hate to admit that COVID-19 and the turmoil it's caused on our lives shut me down for about one week.
I couldn't believe that I had just announced (around end of February) that our company was going national mid this year. Between March through June, we put $10k on the line so we could do so and serve more people throughout the nation while creating and improving our products to better serve people and the planet. I watched all those plans crumble one by one, dreading to read email after email. For a few days, I couldn't help but think - is this going to be the end of Roses and Azalea?
For around a week while I was down, I witnessed people in my life contributing and assisting medical facilities and providing a helping hand to those who need it, while showing strength and courage despite all the chaos in their own lives. There's different groups of people coming together to make face masks for healthcare professional - our true heroes right now. Distilleries started providing medical facilities their alcohol since sanitizing supplies are limited. Many marketing professionals offered free, short consultations to small businesses owners to help them get back on their feet quickly. Groups of people came together to aid folks laid off by restaurants and bars. Places provided meals to kids and families who would otherwise struggle putting food on their tables. Little by little, that strength and courage started pouring into me until I was ready to stand up again.
My mindset shifted last Friday, right in time for our virtual celebration of RA's 1st birthday this past Monday (Thank you everyone for celebrating it with us virtually!). Since last Wednesday, I was called into many virtual meetings with small business owners from all over the national who also needed to pivot during these times. It solidified that so much good going on despite all the bad. I was determined then to lead by example - strength, courage, the ability to adapt quickly, continue to give a helping hand where it's needed the most.
I can only get more and more Depressed if I focused on everything I've lost so far - professionally and personally - and all the negative chatter and the arguments and divisions over the pandemic and politics. Instead, I choose to focus on the very present and the future - all the good that's come out of this experience and the impact I can make with our company.
My vision (and God's) for RA has never changed. I founded Roses and Azalea to impact as many lives as possible, to bridge the gap between beauty industry and health and wellness industries, and to formulate and put out products that truly nourish and heal bodies. While it is important to make sure I can put food on my own family's table, I did not build this company out of greed. I am a visionary who believes in balancing profit with good - good for people, good for our planet. And during this time, more than ever, I would like to push our company to grow rapidly online so we can expand and create more job for the local economy and provide income subsidies to people nationally.
We rely on you. Our company has always asked for guidance in which products to focus on. Our customers have been delighted to give us feedback on both positives and constructive criticism so we can improve quickly. I am so grateful of this. So here it is again - our company obviously has to pivot. There are some action items that you can help us with:
- Currently there is a slight shift in products. We would normally not consider making things like sanitizers but there's an obvious need with shortages. Given my background in analytical chemistry and through much research, I am working hard to supply medical facilities and the general public with our 100% organic hand sanitizer sprays. It looks like we may sell out just within pre-orders so I am looking to supply our raw ingredients as fast as possible.
In the meantime, please let me know if you know of distilleries on the East Coast that are able to supply RA 95% (190 proof - or 200 proof is fine too) ethanol. If you know of any medical facilities that are looking for manufacturers to fulfill orders of hand sanitizers or foaming liquid soap (bulk), we are happy to do so!
- To keep RA doors open, we would love our existing customers to help review us and get our name out! You can review us on Google and our Facebook page. Once we open up website reviews, please also review the individual products that you like or love!
- Those of you who are tech savvy and aren't shy to be in front of the camera, record a video review of our RA product(s) that you love! Videos should be a maximum of 30 seconds. You can send those videos directly to us or better yet, post them on your InstaStories and tag us @rosesandazalea on every frame so we can feature you as a RA Babe =D Bonus - you know we always take care of our customers, so you'll receive something special back!
- Invite your family and friends to like our Instagram and Facebook page. For those who love your Tweets, we do have a Twitter account that was finally unsuspended (the Bots got to us last year and they never fixed it) this year, so the page is still bare bones!
- To all of our customers, thank you for supporting us so far. Because all of our time and efforts have been spent at in-person markets in 2019 (we went to over 50!!!!), we obviously can't do so for the next few months. Please keep supporting us through our online store. Don't forget to sign up for our email list and follow us on social media to keep up with the lates and greatest!
- If you feel like we should start providing foaming soap or some other products, please let us know. We always appreciate your feedback.
These efforts are vital to our small business. We really need your help at this time, so here's your time to shine! And stay tuned, because there is a lot more to come. Very exciting things.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your support and keeping our doors open for the last year. I hope we will come out of this time stronger on the other side and keep our doors open for many more years.
Many states and cities have issued shelter in place at this time. And it may seem like life is bleak this very moment. COVID-19 has dominated social media and news, which then dominate our thoughts and minds. Let's all shift our mindsets instead to all the good that this situation has caused. In times like this, it is okay to cry out loud. There is no shame in doing so, no need to hide. Reach out and ask for help. And for those of us who are in the position to lend a helping hand, reach out to those who need help.
I am here with a helping hand, ready to lift up as many people and families as possible. RA will keep being a good resource and guide for those of you who need it (like our recent post 10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System + Reduce Risk of Infection). Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get our most recent updates. There will be a few blog posts on different topics - navigating through life with autoimmune disease, the do's and don'ts to look for in sanitizers, good financial tips - written by me and some field experts. You won't want to miss those!
Our social impact efforts have not stopped even during the times we were struggling ourselves. As I rapidly build RA back up, I am a firm believer in never missing a beat to provide aid and fulfilling our promises. Both partners (Foster Village Charlotte and The Relatives) have enough RA products from our recent donations. Obviously the medical facilities are really needing help with PPE and sanitizing/cleaning products. I am looking to pull together resources, so if you are willing to contribute some $ so we can donate these supplies soon, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (I currently have some supplies to make face masks for medical professionals who desperately need them.) If you would rather donate the supplies yourselves, you can either send them directly to the facilities or send them to us so we can make a collective drop-off. We are also looking for sponsors who are willing to pitch in so we can produce and donate larger quantities of sanitizers to hospitals and medical facilities who are desperately needing these supplies.
Our products are ready to ship out right to you (oh and some positive vibes too) so you can keep nourishing and healing your bodies and skin during this time. Cleansing and avoiding infections is important at this time, but did you know moisturizing is actually also part of practicing good hand hygiene? Be sure to moisturize your hands after sanitizing and washing them to keep your skin protected against dryness, which can actually damage your protective layer and be susceptible to germs entering the body. Do not use lotions, which are too thin and not protective enough. You'll want to use a thicker cream or balm like our dry cracked skin balm.
If you are needing something to occupy your time and wanting to help, there are many medical facilities and professionals who need washable face masks to prolong their N95 masks. Here's a great video with instructions. If you don't have all the supplies to make masks but can help, Joann's Fabric is donating resources to anyone who can help. Spend some quality time outdoors - go for a walk or run, create some driveway chalk masterpieces for others to enjoy on their walks, plant a garden that help pollinators this spring or fresh food source for yourself. My husband and I just planted 8 fruit trees in our food forest (aka our backyard) along with purple asparagus, grape vines, goji berries, and other plants. Our planter boxes should be ready in a week or two for some different varieties of lettuce. We have four blueberry bushes planted about two years ago that are flowering. Signs of spring - absolutely beautiful.
Feel free to reach out if you need it. We are all in this together. Stay well, be safe!