Woah. The last 12 months threw A LOT at us; and though the calendar page has flipped we’re still absorbing, processing, rebuilding, and finding our way through many of the challenges that the last year brought into our lives.
On a global scale we’ve experienced a world wide public health crisis, massive and tragic losses of life, a long overdue time of reckoning with racial and social injustice, political unrest, breakdowns in leadership, and devastating losses from natural disasters.
And while we’re still very much in the thick of these challenges and upheavals (pandemics and systemic breakdowns don’t disappear when the clock strikes 12), the symbolic entry into a new year offers a poignant opportunity to reflect back on the many, many lessons this year has taught us, as we look forward to integrating them into our thoughts and actions in the coming days ahead.
The start of a new year also gives us the opportunity to look back on our last chapter and see the GOOD that was able to penetrate through the stormcloud of 2020 like radiant shining sunbeams breaking through a rambunctious stormy day. The last year brought the reminder that there is so much to be grateful for.
As it has become a yearly tradition, here’s my annual look back on the big moments, milestones, and warm sunbeams of goodness that shone down on Waterbody in the last year:
Our customers showed up in a BIG way
YOU my friends, have been Waterbody’s biggest sunbeams of the last year! When the world came to a screeching halt in March and everything was uncertain, unknown, and downright terrifying, you bought soaps to continue washing your hands without shredding them raw. You ordered bath salts to help relax as you hunkered down at home. You sent care packages to each other and to health care workers on the front lines.
YOU helped our business stay afloat through our most challenging period to date, and I can’t thank you enough for your support this year, and always.
We got a new name! And a major glow-up ✨
After nearly two years of dreaming, planning, and working behind the scenes, this year I finally, proudly launched our rebrand into the world. In August, Gathered and Grown Botanicals officially became Waterbody – and our entire brand received a beautiful new look and feel that’s been thoughtfully designed to share the natural beauty and magic of Southeast Alaska’s wild landscape with you.
We said goodbye to using Devil’s Club
With the launch of the new brand, I stepped into the opportunity to make some important changes to Waterbody’s product line and use of ingredients. The most significant of these was the decision to no longer including Devil’s Club in our herbal formulations. Because this plant is so highly powerful, culturally relevant, and sacred to the indigenous peoples of our region, it was culturally appropriative for my business to profit from its use in our products.
Our new Fisherman’s Balm formula features plantain in place of Devil’s Club, and I’m so thrilled that it has received rave reviews from our die-hard fans since it’s launch in August.
We welcomed over 25 NEW retail partners!
When the world shut down for several weeks this spring, so many of our retail partners were forced to close their doors and change their business models overnight. It was a scary prospect for both shop owners, and businesses like ours who work with these shops to sell our products.
But the resiliency and persistence our stockists displayed this past year have been incredible; and I am SO grateful and proud to partner with the unique independent shops that carry Waterbody goods on their shelves. I’m beyond thrilled to work with so many new shops in states and communities across the US this year.
Take a peek at our list of stockists here to see where you can find Waterbody in your neighborhood!
We gave 2% to organizations working to make the world a better place
Thanks to your support, Waterbody donated 2% of sales in 2020 to a variety of organizations working to build a more safe, healthy, and equitable society for all people. Here’s a list of the groups we supported in 2020 through our Community Giveback Program:
- Native Movement
- The Loveland Foundation
- Black Women Speak
- Wrangell Parks and Recreation Department – Helping Our Parks Program
- Food Bank of Alaska
- Haines disaster relief
Waterbody got a new HQ!
With the growth of the business this year came the need for a larger dedicated workshop space. Last fall, Waterbody moved out of our shared workspace inside of Shop Groundswell and into our very own workshop in downtown Wrangell. The new Waterbody HQ offers plenty of space to grow, stretch, pack, produce, and dream up new luxurious goods for your body from Alaska’s wild nature.
Peppered in among all the milestones and big moments were some of the highest highs and lowest lows, every range of emotion: grief, sadness, frustration, hope, determination, joy, giant leaps of faith, and the continued lifelong practice of sitting with that which makes us uncomfortable. 2020 has been a year we won’t soon forget; nor should we. Give yourself ample time, space, and grace to sit with, process, and reflect on all that this year has brought to the surface. Feel it all. Sit with the lessons. Commit to integrating them into your daily thoughts and actions. Find your sunbeams, and feel gratitude for the radiant warmth they brought into your life.
Here’s wishing you good health, a heart full of empathy, open ears to listen and minds to receive, and an abundance of love and what truly matters in the coming year.