with 2021 finally being here, many of us are starting to understand that this new year might not be as easy as they predicted. I’m one of those who avoid New Year celebrations. I could never get all the excitement around it. all the expectations and optimism that fade away the day after. but I do love to wrap things up. closure gives me energy to focus on the things that matter.
as Sartre famously said “only the guy who doesn’t row has time to rock the boat”. and oh my god have we rowed this year. we embraced reality and dealt with it. and that is probably why we’re still here.
rowing, like life, is a team sport. if everyone isn’t in sync, and trying to go to the same destination, life in the boat will be very rough. the same goes for the real world. personally, I don’t know a worse feeling than walking without knowing the big picture of where I’m going.
here’s what you should expect from us in 2021:
- producing more products and improving existing ones: new products will be launched every last Sunday of the month and we’re committed to improving formulas (including shelf life while keeping it clean), and to delivering the most quality ingredients that actually work. glow the f*uck up has had a remake, and oh boy + not a one night stand are next. actually, every product will only get better.
- expanding our team and laying the foundations of a strong organisation: 2020 was hard. mainly because we were under staffed. in the startup world, and as a founder, you often find yourself handling too many hats. the issue starts to arise when you’re doing too many things, then the business has no chance of living without you. I struggled with my health big time this year and that translated into a double curse for our business. for one, we weren’t able to hire and expand our team as we needed because I simply couldn’t be there to oversee it and give them the attention they deserve. and second, when not there myself, many tasks were delayed. I felt incredibly guilty to be taming the growth of my own business. in 2021, we’re going to prioritise and expand our team, growing together as a unit to carry out our mission and hopefully have a great time while at it!
- building a strong business, driven by our social mission: delivering a strong experience to you will continue to be a priority for us. every month, we get better and better in this regard, and I expect 12 months of 2021 to be no exception! we are also led by our entrepreneurial spirit and are dedicated to supporting young people in achieving their dreams. in 2020 we supported them with capital to start their businesses or side hustles. we will continue to give back some of our profits to customers or people in our community but we we will also provide advice, mentorship and workshops. with covid, we weren’t able to organise the events we had in mind but have decided to translate this in 2021 into an online platform called ‘The Sunday School’ where you can find resources, classes, and workshops to help you get over those hurdles holding you back from getting started. our very own version of an accelerator.
- sharing more about how and why we do what we do: I think you’ve realised by now that we’re not a brand that is scared of oversharing. I feel it is important for us as a company to share who we are and how we do it because it is important for you, our customer, to get to know who you’re supporting and why! so expect to hear a lot more about how things work and are made behind-the-scenes.
on a more personal note, and more than a year apart from my family, I have been feeling very “homesick”. at least, technology and the pandemic have been great equalisers in this sense. we are all as far or close as each other. as I faced too many hurdles one can tell you about, the feeling of “I want to go home” has been undeniable.
everyone around me tells me this is my home. but my life in the UK feels tenuous sometimes. my right to remain here is conditional and citizenship isn’t even a possibility. I’m also too brown to be an expat, and too rich to be an immigrant. I’m also too white for brown & black people, and too brown for white people.
the reality is I’ve spent most of my life trying to leave home. I was taught in a French school in North Africa, my parents excited by the idea of giving me a better education than when they were my age, and myself, conditioned to leave when I turn 17. I then lived anywhere my studies or jobs took me, France, Switzerland, New York, even as far away as Malaysia, Brazil and India. I dipped in and out of countries and cultures, often looking and speaking like everyone else. a chameleon of sorts. but at some point this year, being an outsider stopped feeling good.
many events in the past year, in the US or here, have prompted debate and soul searching around racism and what it means to truly belong.
like many others, the past year, more than ever, has opened my eyes on my cultural identity. more than ever, I felt the need to defend it, to publicly define it as a morally acceptable identity by arguing “what we are not”. it was also the first year outside of London, outside of my bubble, where acceptance, knowledge and education drove every conversation.
of course there is a romance in missing home that would vaporise as soon as I set foot in my home. but the pandemic has added a terror to the separation, a feeling of permanence. and all this race stuff, a feeling of needing to be with my own people. not necessarily people from the same place as me, but people that get people like me.
just like you I’m facing this time with a lot of uncertainty, but perhaps if you take one thing from me today, it is to give yourself another shot. the truth is, you should plan for at least a year of it not being normal again. live with the fact that it may never be normal again.
therefore, if you’d known what was about to happen last March with all the covid stuff, what would you have done. take yourself back, brainstorm, and do it now. may it be a new business, a new career or even a new relationship. frame it like this: this is an exciting time to experiment with all the ways you could take your life to the next level.
thank you for continuing to support madebySUNDAY as we embark on another year; I’m so excited for what’s to come!!
- Chaymae, Founder & CEO