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My Year in Review 2020

Written by Mallory Coats

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Posted on January 01 2021

I can’t believe I almost didn’t want to look back on 2020! There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there for this past year, so much so I almost totally scrapped our family Christmas card year review I do every year. I thought we wouldn’t have any updates worthwhile to share so maybe it was a good year to take a break. 2020 has felt so long I couldn’t even remember a few months prior so once I sat down and actually took a close look at each month I realized so much has happened! And so much of it is good. Just because we couldn’t travel like usual and our plans all the way down to our day to day looked very different (and far too often worry and dread would overtake us) doesn’t mean we didn’t power through each day and work extra hard. I must have had blinders on, only looking ahead at the next thing coming my way.

Here is my month by month review, which has become a tradition for MALWEST design. I love this breakdown I started doing a couple years ago as a way to hold myself accountable each month for something worthwhile so I wouldn’t get complacent during my maternities. It turns out, it works for every year and really pushes my business and creativity (and of course procrastination!) It helps me appreciate something every month and pay attention to the big wins that often get overlooked or forgotten.

 

January-  My goal setting month that was off with a bang! Since my word of the year 2020 was ‘connect’ I started with attending (after an on and off again monthly attendance) Rising Tide Society’s speaker meetup with the founder Natalie Franke! I was able to meet her in person for a quick chat as well as catch up with other local business owners in several different creative fields. Very inspirational and motivating start to 2020.

 

February- I launched my Island Glam collection for MALWEST design. It was my first spring collection that let me experiment with different types of products. I had so much fun putting this together for spring/summer and thinking of new items. I loved the cohesiveness of doing a collection and learning the process and trial and error of a launch.

Check out a bestseller from Island Glam and one of my personal favorites.

 

March- Attended as a vendor a local spring market to debut my Island Glam launch. It was at the start of COVID-19 when everything was beginning to change but it was great to try a different market and an outdoor venue. One last in person gathering before quarantine hit and changed everything is nice to look back on.

 

April- In the midst of quarantine we still had my son's first birthday party. We couldn’t have all the people there we wanted but that didn’t stop us from having a fantastic crawfish boil that was fully branded with crawfish t-shirts for the whole family.

Also, I had my new MALWEST design brand reveal! This was something that had been in the works (and weighing on me) for years. It was never fully organized or flushed out until I devoted some time and finally something just clicked (PS as all you other designers know it’s soooo hard to brand yourself!) Now I’m so happy with the look and feel of my brand. I never had the feeling of completeness before and I’m so relieved to have everything I need in a brand to steer all my marketing and communication efforts.

 

May- New MALWEST design website launch on Shopify! This was huge! I was only selling on Etsy so my shop on my website kicked you to that page and it just felt unprofessional and disorganized. Learning Shopify was a challenge at first but so worth it. I don’t even pay more on Shopify than I did previously with a ShowIt site. Working on a website simultaneously as the brand elements of MALWEST design helped so much too. It was a lot to bite off but it really helped develop the brand and vice versa. 

 

June- I expanded my greeting card line and started thinking about my future wholesale line. Something I’ve taken small (slow and steady) steps to develop and plan to continue in 2021.   

Black Lives Matter movement hit and true reflection began. This definitely shifted my way of thinking and has affected ways I communicate to my children, ways I shop and how I support my communities. It was not the beginning of the conversations and, fortunately, there is no end. Looking forward to a better and nicer world that starts at home.   

 

July- I connected with a wedding photography group and made a friend on Susan Dixon Photography who has done most of my wedding stationery photography. She does a fantastic job styling and photographing and is a true creative. I just love her styling of my work! 

Started a series on instagram I call “Feature Friday” where I paint a portrait of someone. “Feature Friday” gave me a way to make new connections, shed light on people and brands I enjoy as well as practice my figure painting. I hope to pick this up again sometime in 2021 because it was such a useful exercise and I’ve loved the results. 

 

August- This month Pensacola Mom Collective (PMC) was launched and I am one of the original team members of contributing writers. PMC has been an exciting endeavor for me because it really pushes me out of my comfort zone. I haven’t done formal writing in a long time and kept saying I’d get back to it (hello constantly putting my blog on the back burner) but with monthly deadlines and a team counting on me, I was able to write a feature a month on topics on motherhood and community. I’m hoping this can translate to writing in and for my business in 2021 because it has given me more confidence in my writing but if nothing else it’s been a great way for me to connect with local mothers in my community. I’m so thankful to have (virtually) met this group and continue to learn and grow.

 

September- I participated in a group giveaway with other product based business owners. It was a fun way to meet some new creative entrepreneurs and work together and support each other. It was a group of women that have products for kids + babies. I learned so much from my first Instagram giveaway and the other business owners were very helpful in making it happen.

Hurricane Sally also happened this month so I got a taste of what it’s like to have to put everything (work wise) on pause since we had no power (thus no internet) for 4 days. My clients were all very understanding and supportive during that time once they learned the circumstances but it definitely gave me a reality check and challenged my communications.

 

October- I started releasing Christmas items and finishing up client work for the year. I made the decision to wrap up client work early so I could focus on my products for the holiday season. This was excellent mindset for me when it comes to scheduling and prioritizing. I hope to create more structure like this in the new year with intentional planning.

 

November- In addition to everything Christmas and all the Christmas sales I helped prepare for a virtual market with the Junior League of Pensacola. Usually we host a market but going totally virtual was a new endeavor and a necessity given the COVID concerns. It was a great learning experience for me although, unfortunately, it took my attentions away from my own business and sales. I think it’s important to note where I slipped up a bit but I do not regret the work I put in because I was able to give back and learn many new things (and of course connect with a new group of people.)

On top of the holiday craze I threw a Bachelorette Bash for my best friend down in Key West. It, like everything else, was much more challenging to plan and arrange due to COVID but I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. I also had a blast designing the swag for the trip. More details to come in another post but this retro chic theme was perfect for the Key West laid back vibes.   

 

December- Christmas sales were dialed down early thanks to the post office overload. I didn’t push sales after the first week of December partly because I knew shipping would be a nightmare and partly because I was so distracted with a wedding. My whole family was part of the bridal party, each with duties, in addition to the bridesmaid luncheon I was hosted with my mom (details to come.)

 

Furthering education- I joined Proof to Product LABS

Marketing- I joined several gift guides for the holidays: Society of Creative Founders, The Product Boss, Rising Tide Society, Junior League of Pensacola Market Basket

What a year! Proud of every moment, even the hard ones because we made it and hopefully will be all the better for it.  

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