Rebirth in the ‘Year of Pause’

Rebirth in the Year of Pause,
by Mushmina Co-Founder, Heather O’Neill

You might say we are in a moment of pause. I don’t know about you, but we are really feeling this Chinese ‘Year of the Earth Pig.’ Stop and roll in the mud. That is sort of what it feels like.

As we approach Small Business Saturday and this holiday season, I wanted to share some thoughts on small business with you. This year we promised to speak our truth, so here it is.

1. The reality. Retail is having a tough moment in the US and globally and so are we. Malls are closing or becoming multi-use spaces instead of shopping hubs. Barneys, the designer retailer, who has been in business for 96 years, is going out of business. Eeek! Competition online is fierce and we find ourselves asking, ‘Where do we go from here?’

2. With every death there is a rebirth. ‘Pop Up Shops’ and new ways of doing things are emerging. “Barney’s Madison Avenue NYC store will be turned into a “pop-up retail experience, which will feature four floors of boutiques, art and cultural installations and entertainment that fosters creativity and community,” says the New York Times. We suspect you will see more of this model, from Mushmina and from other brands you love.

3. Small businesses need to stay nimble. Mushmina started in the recession of 2009 and since then our model has evolved multiple times to keep up with the changing landscape of retail. We are also aware of the changing nature of us as owners and where we want to take the business. Thankfully, we are very good at change.

4. Don’t be afraid of failure. This year, our TENTH, has been a tough one. It has forced us to look at what is working and what is not. Where can we be more efficient and more impactful. Areas we need to let go and those we want to grow. This chapter in our story might be called, The year we almost failed. But instead, we are deciding to rewrite the ending. ‘Failing’ is never in fact that. It is a fresh start and a new way to look at things.

5. COLLABORATION! This is our moving forward motto. We all have so much to contribute and we cannot do this alone. You will see the private sector collaborating more with the public. Where do businesses contribute and where do governments and NGOs assist to provide services? We are looking for partners, collaborators, and change-makers. Message us!

6. Creation + change.  You can expect to see new things from us. You are loving our custom textiles for your homes and we are really excited about this. Poufs, pillows, and Mushmina textiles by the meter. For me personally, I’m looking forward to more creation, getting ‘messy,’ in my studio, and making some one of a kind specialty artisan pieces that embody who we are as a brand: Handmade, Moroccan, Artisan, and Made by Women.

7. Bring it back to the source. With the topic of cultural appropriation at the forefront, we recognize the need to ‘bring what we do back home.’ You will see more of Mushmina’s operations moving back to Morocco. With increased shipping options and new opportunities in Africa, we see energy and excitement in empowering more people at the source of Mushmina, in magical Morocco.

Time for Africa

8. Moving on. This year we have given ourselves permission to pursue new interests, even if it means letting go of some of the aspects of the business that have been so very intertwined in our lives. Humanity is evolving and so are human interests and desires. We are happy about the death of ‘fast fashion’ and re-emergence of vintage, up cycling, and of consuming less. We started our business to bring meaning, connection, and purpose to women and hope to continue to do that, even if it means ‘making less,’ albeit, more meaningful pieces.

9. Know that we have power and are creative manifestors. As a creative person, I have observed that we as humans are powerful manifestors. Let’s not be afraid to envision new realities and fresh solutions to the issues we currently face as humans: environment + climate change, safety + security, inequality, gender development, education, healthcare, etc. Let’s use our skills to come up with new and creative solutions.

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” -Rumi.

10. Gratitude. Lastly, we are so very grateful for all of you…friends, family, artisans, customers, ambassadors, and supporters! Thank you for being on this journey with us and for allowing us the space to speak our truth today and always. As we enter this holiday season we are choosing not to contribute to the advertising that bombards us all and instead we hope to encourage wellness and creating experiences of meaningful connection.

Wishing you Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours. Also join us in celebrating Small Business Saturday this week in support of all the small business owners who show up to face new realities with creative solutions every day with bravery and trust.

With love, Heather

Mushmina Co-Founder

Find Mushmina this weekend at Asbury Park NJ’s Holiday Bazaar. Small Business Saturday Nov 24th 11am-10 pm with a tree lighting at 6:45pm. Sunday Nov 25th 11am-10pm.

Made with love in Morocco www.mushmina.com

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