January brings about the feeling of clean slate. A new year, filled with new opportunities; an empty planner waiting to be filled with plans and goals and to-dos; a fresh start and a chance to press our imaginary reset button. I'm a lover of planners and journaling in my daily life as a way track and release my thoughts and ideas, to process through events and feelings, and to set and make actionable progress toward my goals. The added bonus to a planning and journaling practice is the opportunity to look back and reflect on your growth and progress in the last year.
I find the occasional period of reflection to be SUCH a valuable opportunity to recap lessons I've learned and celebrate my successes - no matter how small. These things add up to big change & big wins and serve as a helpful reminder when the going gets tough, to just keep going! Better things are always on the horizon if you're willing to work for them.
In the spirit of reflection at the transition to a new year, I'd like to share our year in review. We dreamed BIG for Gathered & Grown last year, and 2017 saw some huge leaps of faith, exciting changes, new opportunities, and humbling lessons learned. Here's a look back at a few favorite highlights:
G&G Gets A Workshop!
Gathered & Grown came from humble beginnings in our tiny trailer kitchen. A small cabinet that also doubled as our coffee bar housed jars of dried herbs, & any available shelf space was stacked high with curing bars of soap. For obvious reasons, this was not an ideal place to grow a business & live comfortably with another human. And so at the start of 2017 a new goal was apparent: find a working space to make all the things.
I teamed up with a friend & fellow burgeoning business woman who was steadily building our town's only floral service from her living room and we set out to find a shared home to make our messes and hone our crafts. What we found was an adorable empty storefront on Wrangell's main downtown street. We saw this as an unexpected opportunity to build something incredible together - and so Shop Groundswell was born!
You can read the full story on our shop here, but the short version is that Groundswell now serves as a working space for both our businesses, while also offering a storefront for our goods and the art & wares of other makers in our community and region. We host classes, workshops, and events that foster and celebrate our creative community - and we love what we get to do!
G&G Goes Organic! (And recyclable, compostable, reusable...)
A core value of our business has always been to create the best possible product for your body while having the least possible impact on our environment. We've steadily made changes over the last year to be sure all of our ingredients are responsibly sourced when we can't hand-harvest them ourselves.
All of the carrier oils & butters in our products are now certified organic, and fair trade whenever possible. The herbs we do not harvest ourselves are sourced from certified organic farms. Our packaging materials have been chosen to be recyclable and reusable to cut down on waste traveling to landfills. We also save and reuse packing and shipping materials, and encourage our customers to pay it forward by extending the life of materials in the shipping chain however they can - or sending them to the compost pile.
Implementing these changes isn't always easy - but we feel its important to be an active part of creating a shift toward a more mindful way of living, considering what we put onto our bodies, where it came from, and what will become of the product once we're through with it.
G&G Hits the Road
The best part of this work is the opportunity to connect with YOU! To hear your stories, interests, and needs, and to take all of that back to the workshop and create goods that are going to help enhance your life a little bit more. I made it a goal this year to get out and meet more of our lovely customers face to face.
If you live in Alaska you know, the journey is often an experience in it's own right. We hopped on the AK state ferry and cruised to Haines for the Southeast Alaska State Fair. We flew south to Seattle for the Renegade Craft Fair, and we flew north to Anchorage to vend alongside some incredible Alaska makers at the Salmon Sisters & Friends Holiday Pop up. I saw beautiful places & met beautiful faces along the way.
THANK YOU to all who came out to visit with us and shop these events. Its these interactions that inspire and energize me to dream bigger and push forward.
G&G Gives Back
Thanks to YOU Gathered & Grown was able to support a range of organizations working on issues near and dear to our hearts. Each year we support our local Wrangell community by donating gift sets and products for local fundraising efforts. This year, with your help, we were also able to support Salmon Beyond Borders & The Food Bank of Alaska! Salmon Beyond Borders works to defend and protect Alaska's transboundary rivers (like our beloved neighborhood Stikine River) and the salmon that call them home. The Food Bank of Alaska works to eliminate hunger in our state by obtaining and providing food to those that need it, and operating anti-hunger programming.
We look forward to finding more ways to give back to our community and support issues that matter in the coming year. Thank you for helping us contribute to building a better world!
We've had a wild & wonderful 2017, and we've set big goals for the year ahead. I would love to hear from you, what was your biggest success in 2017? What would you like to see from G&G in 2018?
Thanks for coming along for the ride, and wishing you all the best in this new year!