Hasn't this been the refrain of the week?! "Hard to believe that it has been a year."
A year ago, I published a blog post, "A Kantha Blanket's Journey" : a behind-the-scenes look from creation of a blanket in Bangladesh to enjoyment in your living room.
But, the truth is that it was really a way to address the un-(or subtly-)spoken concern from people wondering if they would get COVID-19 in the mail with their blanket!
In some ways, it's a marvel that an entire year has passed in this alternate life. On the other hand, doesn't it feel like lifetimes have passed in these last 12 months?
For dignify, 2020 began with my trip to Bangladesh — a well-timed adventure if there ever was one!
When the stay-at-home measures went into place in March, we launched a limited-time "Mystery Box" — the option to buy a gift of a surprise blanket (and maybe a book, from a local bookshop) to send to a loved one or treat yourself. It was a hit! And, a lot of fun [should we do it again?!].
Since then, dignify has been doing better than ever!
We're not sure why exactly, though we suspect a combination of factors: a desire to shop online (even more); the kantha throw as a perfect gift to "wrap [someone] in love" and show care even from a distance; extra, available cash for some who delayed vacations, couldn't eat out, or spend it at coffee shops; a culmination of momentum after 8 years of work...
The year has not been without challenges — transportation has been slow, arrivals have been delayed — but, it has been rich with joys.
So many blankets have passed through our doors! Each one, handcrafted by a woman working with skill and dignity, in a safe, loving work environment. With every sales notification, we are thrilled by the expansion of employment for these women with so much to give.
We were able to raise funds from readers & dignify friends (YOU!!!) to feed (literally) starving women when brothels were closed. We could purchase a washing machine for Basha when they needed it.
"My sister moved to another state this summer and I miss her so much. I know that she's homesick too, so I'm hoping that having this blanket to curl up under will remind her of me and my family," wrote Elaine.
Heidi shared her (uniquely 2020) holiday cheer: a highway rest stop get together with her loved ones, with their trusty kantha blankets as picnic blankets!
"My beautiful friend sent me the most beautiful quilt. It has been such a comfort to me. I received it after a long day at the hospital. I burst into tears when I opened it."
It's "hard to believe" that across the country, so many people have experienced their own moments with a kantha blanket — the work of another woman's careful hands.
It's hard to believe the gift of abundance of this little family business... but I believe it!
And, I believe in it, giving thanks & digging in every week. More for 2021! 🥂
This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic.
Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.
Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:
Mystery novels have often appealed to people with jobs that are never fully resolved (doctors, pastors, social workers). In this cultural era of many-problems-few-resolutions, reading a good mystery can be a refreshing break.
Our 12-year old daughter is the most avid, prolific reader I know! We teamed up to create a list of mysteries for all ages of independent readers. The recos below are listed with increasing age levels in mind, but no specific age parameters (as a mature, well-read, near-teen, she has read up to Agatha Christie on this list).
Our 11-year old computer is showing creaky signs of age, just about ready to go to sleep (and never wake up). But, we feel that it has served us well. When I compare it to other expenses over the years, the laptop is — at about a $100/year investment — one of our best value-for-dollar belongings.
When shopping for items like this, how do we choose well? How do we discern what brand/style/variety is built to last? Or, how do we determine even if “built to last” is relevant to the purchase?