A weekend to reflect.

A weekend to reflect.

Hi there.

Friday’s blog a private peek, right?

Thanks for popping in. Friday afternoon, been spinning plates all week, trying to keep the good ship Clarity afloat from a safe distance – and together with a few good people, we are actually managing to make ends meet. One day at a time is the only way forward.

Grace sent me an article she read in the New York Times yesterday, written by a Manhattan restaurant owner. It was a long article, but it drew me in. Totally. She already had me with the title:

My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore?

I read it slowly, soaked it up word by word, one paragraph at a time. The restaurant? Prune, in the East Village. The owner? Gabrielle Hamilton.

Hardcore. She comes from the Restaurant Business, or Hospitality Industry as we call it nowadays; I come from the Craft Industry. Completely different sectors, but I empathized with this woman 100%. All her dreams and aspirations. All her hard work, dedication, gritty attitude. I totally got her.

I understood how she said that running a business had become harder and harder. How competition was diluting the market beyond recognition. How the cost of running a business had crept up year on year, but the return hadn’t crept up at the same pace. That one had to wonder how many restaurants were on their knees and worn out BEFORE they were forced to close their doors because of the pandemic.

As I read the article, and felt her sadness, I was also filled with genuine gratitude. Not the kind of “we’re lucky to be alive” gratitude. Of course we’re lucky to be alive.

I’m talking about the gutty reality that we at Clarity are lucky to be still allowed to trade, to still be permitted to keep our virtual business doors open. If we had a shop front, we’d be shut. That’s the bare bones of it.

I’m going to sit in the garden later, with a cold drink, and I’m going to read the article again. I need to. I need to get a proper grasp of what has happened in other business peoples’ worlds. People who, just like me, have worked their arses off all their lives – and the whole lot just collapsed in a heap, virtually overnight.

That is the real world. So am I grateful? Oh God, yes. I am. Worn out, worried, apprehensive, fearful. All of those, too. But grateful first.

If you have time, read this article. Brilliantly written, too. It’s a fine piece of prose, and it puts the plight of hundreds of thousands of businesses all over the world in real time perspective.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/magazine/closing-prune-restaurant-covid.html?fbclid=IwAR20lNQmMQ_coZTIzXLoVqJU_fSXqXKgD2wVpAs359pxTaad3dhwtbHdk-c

So this weekend, I want to take a step back and stop pedalling like a loony tune, to keep the proverbial head above water. Time to sit with this lady in her empty restaurant, help her move the tables and chairs back and forth, and reflect on the way forward.

Stay safe. Have a good weekend.

Love and Hugs,

Barb xxx

14 thoughts on “A weekend to reflect.

  1. I am personally so glad you are able to stay open for without my crafting the road through this would have been far more difficult. So to all at Clarity I personally would like to say thank you for all that you do.

  2. Yep Barb, so many hard working people who have given most of their lives to their business, and given such good service to their customers, won’t still be there at the end of this. It’s been one of my worries, and heartaches for people when this pandemic hit. I can only imagine what it must feel like to lose everything. I do kind of know, I didn’t lose a business but I lost pretty much everything else when I got sick all those years ago and became housebound. I call it my first life and my second life, and I’ve been thinking a lot that we are all, at present, going through a transition to my third, and you guys second, life. I’m not normally optimistic when it comes to the human race, and the British society, far from it, but, I have this deep down feeling that things are going to be different in a better way. I just hope I can be part of that and things will be different in a better way for me, and those in similar situations to me too. For everybody in the world, including the poor nations.

    I’m trying my best to support all the small companies I usually buy from be that food, body/household products, clothing, and of course Clarity, and soft crafts. It’s a time we need to show our loyalty to all small companies we have shopped with even if we don’t really need right now the items purchased. Any wee bit helps, if we all did a wee bit if we can, hopefully we can help these good, hard working companies to keep ticking over for now.

    I’m trying to step off my autism treadmill too to let my body recover, and start to find a better way in my head of getting through this so scary and unsettling and changing time. Hopefully to a crafting path as I have so lost my way. Separate from everything else, being autistic during all this creates it’s own set of massive problems that we are all really struggling to deal with, find the way through etc. I was, am, on self destruct mode, big time…

    I hope you find your better path in your head over this weekend, Barb. And anyone else who has been on a bad one since this started. Love and big cuddles xxxx
    Hope the sun shines for everyone this weekend, both in the sky and inside you xx

  3. I lost my business when I was disabled overnight so my heart goes out to Gabrielle. However, my next life has used all the skills I learned, new ones and is successful in a different way. One door opens when another closes etc. I would offer hope and comfort to people because they can make good lives from scratch even if it feels unfair and impossible at the time. As you have said, it is not what happens but what we do with it. However, I will drag you physically back into the building if you even think about closure! We need you. I do think some things need to change in business. Cancel Gray Friday now – let’s face it, it would be obscene in these circumstances and more people will have lost their jobs by then, plus it will pressure the post when everyone needs deliveries. You have a fair flow of offers anyway. Black Friday should go the same way. Christmas needs to be cut to size, etc.

  4. Do feel so sorry for Gabrielle and everybody who has a business now a days .I try to do my best to support the local shops etc.
    Barbara take care of yourself-every day during the week to do the doodling takes a lots of energy!
    Love how you are doing this every day with some laugh but also serious talks.
    Stay save and healthy and enjoy your weekend!💝⚘
    Big hug and greetings, Trijntje Huppel

  5. Such a thought provoking article, and I can absolutely see why it gave you pause when thinking about your own business. This situation is so hard for so many people and I feel very blessed to still be in work. Take care and make sure you have some space for you this weekend

  6. Wow, what a read! It is almost unfathomable what small business owners are going through in order to get through this thing! My brother has his own business and I know he is struggling and doesn’t know if he will go under or not. I know many of us complain about having to stay at home and keep away from others to prevent the spread of the disease but little thought is given to the suffering and mental anguish that must be going through many people’s heads just hoping their businesses survive. I sincerely hope that claritystamp isn’t one of them and I for one will do everything in my power (and pocket) to try to support you through this horrid period of time. You must however take time for yourself Barbara, you are doing so much for everyone else that you need time for YOU! Try to completely forget about everything else for at least a portion of this weekend to recharge your batteries xx

  7. Very thought provoking blog today. We closed down and retired some years ago so we are not affected in that way but we do know how much hard graft goes into running a business and my heart goes out to those who are suffering.
    While we are mega grateful for all you are doing to keep the Clarity community in the loop, occupied doodling and crafting, please look after yourself. Spend some time with the lovely Dave just chilling this weekend. If we have to do without a blog for a couple of days, yes we will miss it, but that will be far better than a knackered Barbara. You are so much a part of so many peoples lives.
    In these hard times when so many people are out of work, not knowing where the next meal is coming from, it is heartening to see the generosity from those who have raised so much money for the NHS charities this month.
    Take care all, stay safe. 🍒🍒🍒

  8. Time to sit back & relax this weekend our Barbara. I think many lives are going to be changed by the end of this pandemic & I hope human beings will be nicer, kinder & more tolerant. Love & hugs to you & yours lovely lady xx

  9. Hi Barb,
    A very thought provoking blog today. I feel heart fully sorry for all of those people who are trying to keep their small businesses going (& large ones too). Clarity at least has the online side keeping going and I am trying my best to support you ( just had an email to say my alphabet set has been posted- thank you) and will keep doing so as long as the bank balance allows! I really think that this weekend you should just chill out with Dave and relax. You’ve had a hectic time and those batteries need recharging. I do worry about you doing too much you know. Sending love and hugs,Alison xx

  10. A very thought provoking blog today. I for one am very grateful that Claritystamp is continuing to function. Your business brings purpose and a temporary escape from this unreal world.
    There are many businesses that are going through a really tough time and unsure what the future holds.
    Try to switch off if you can Barbara. Enjoy the sunshine and listen to the birds. xx

  11. An interesting article both informative and heart-rending at the same time.
    I am certain that Clarity will continue to go from strength to strength because of the exceptional products, ethos and customer service. Many of us would spend the last of our pocket money on your goods to help keep the good boat Clarity afloat…. but don’t all try to sail safely in the one I drew today. Now that really does have a perilous future!!

    Have a chilled out weekend with the lovely Dave and we’ll see you on Monday all bright-eyed and bushy tailed xx

  12. I found the article tough to read, what a very honest and thought provoking account . It has made me think that I should increase my efforts to support local and other small businesses. I sometimes think that my small orders will be more trouble than they are worth but I trust that the companies have done their sums to.make it work for them. Having read the article I am now questioning that they may be accepting my order at very little profit or even at a loss.
    What to do? Hard to know

  13. Wow. A powerful read. We have a neighbour who is a chef in a restaurant in Manchester who were just going for their first Michelin star. At the start of the shutdown he sent a message round to everyone at our end of the close offering essential foods and vegetables etc (free) as he was getting deliveries to his home from his suppliers. I think we are all grateful that you are devoting so much energy to keeping us occupied and upbeat during this lockdown and I’m definitely enjoying my daily doodle session. Thank you.

  14. Hello Barb, there are so many people suffering because of the Pandemic, losing livelihoods, jobs. I am so grateful and pleased that Clarity continues, not just as a business, but as a diversion from reality. So my heartfelt thanks. I will read the article later. Take care all and stay safe. Bx

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