Last year around this time I got to thinking about all the things that had come to pass in 12 months. It was a great exercise in reflection, so I thought I would do it again!
This year has been a big ride. For anyone who has been watching along, you know that SALT took some long strides in 2018, one or two that stretched us (and me!) pretty thin at times. Now here we are, closing in on the end of another year, and looking back, there are many moments + milestones to reflect on and rejoice in.
- Victoria Location | In 2017 we dipped our toes into the Victoria scene with our pop-up space. In 2018, we jumped into the deep end with our second permanent location. I had a whole new space to re-design, which was exciting and daunting all at once. I didn't hold back with what I envisioned, and just went for it. Everything got stripped and re-done. It was a huge job. Lots of long days and late nights. Seeing my vision come together, complete with custom fabrication + countertop + all, was worth the hard work. Having a second space to call home in a new community has been mindblowing. We are still finding our place in the city hashtagged #YYJ, and we are loving it. Excited for what is to come!
- YYJ Opening Party | Definitely one of the best nights of the year. The community really showed up to celebrate with us. We took over the Fort Common outdoor space (for the first time, for sure not the last), a spot we are so lucky to have available to us right in the backyard. We had Salt Spring Island Ales attend to keep us hydrated, and platters loaded with Salt Spring Kitchen Co. preserves and Salt Spring Island Cheese. My staff may have thought I was a little nuts when I suggested having real tattoo artists set up in the store, but it turned out better than I imagined. Nick Chan + Cole Hooper from Kreative Ink had two stations and were armed with a set of ocean inspired images I designed; there was a line up all night! The whole evening was set to the tune of Vince Vaccaro's musical stylings, who did two sets in the courtyard, something we hope he'll be back to do again. Our good friend Meghan from Sweet Heirloom captured the whole affair through her lens. And proceeds from the night went to Sea Legacy to benefit their work in ocean conservation. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to Victoria and have a blast in the process!
- New Styles | I have guests ask sometimes why I don't make this style or this colour, and I always have the same answer. I ascribe to a slow fashion mentality when I design. The styles I introduce are classic pieces in versatile colours and sustainable fabrics that can be built into any wardrobe and last a long time. That means that I won't have new styles every season, and that's ok. That all being said, I did bring in several pieces this year that I was really excited to have. We started the year with the Indra Jacket to round out our outerwear. Coming into Summer we introduced the Delta Dress, Mizuko Jumpsuit, and Marine Crop Top. And bathing suits! I had been looking for a bathing suit line I really loved for some time, and it has been great being able to offer our own styles, in eco-friendly fabrics. With Fall came our button ups, cozy Rio and classy Ren. I decided to use a few new colours as well, a natural cotton in our bralettes, a Kelp green, a Blush, and a few other alternatives in already exiting styles. I even got to collaborate with Salt Spring Island Candle Co. to make our own candles! It was a fun year of designing + creating. You can see what items I am most excited about right now in our Staff Picks list here!
- Plastic Free | At the beginning of 2018, I set out to make SALT plastic-free in all our internal operations. With all that has gone on this year, we slipped in our pursuit of this goal a little. We haven't made as much progress as I'd have liked, but we are making better purchasing decisions with this commitment in mind. All our styles now sport 100% cotton custom garment tags, which we pursued having to eliminate using synthetic materials that often use plastic. Setting up the Victoria location, I was very mindful of what new items we needed and how we could create systems that used less or no plastic. Overall, we definitely used a lot less plastic and made a lower impact as a business. Every time I look to purchase anything for the business, I use this goal as a guide to find plastic-alternatives, something I intend myself + my team to do even more of in 2019.
- Ocean Conservation | I am happy that in 2018 I really solidified SALT's commitment to the ocean. It is my inspiration for this business, my happy place. One of the biggest reasons I am an entrepreneur is so I can use my platform to bring awareness to the needs of the deep blue sea and all that resides in it's waters. It needs us, or more realistically, it needs less of us, and more of our commitment to keeping it safe. I want to encourage everyone to be an advocate for the ocean. This year SALT contributed to organizations like Sea Legacy + The Ocean Foundation. For my birthday, I had my closest friends do a beach clean up with me. We talked often on our Journal about what is challenging our oceans most and how we can be better in our everyday lives. I look forward to creating more of a community discussion around these issues in 2019, and connecting with people and organizations who are as passionate about preserving our seas as I am.
- Personal Achievements | One of the things I like about being a small business entrepreneur is that you get to interact with your team, your customers, and your community a lot. I also get to celebrate each achievement of the business as an achievement for myself. Other entrepreneurs can sympathize I am sure, with the emotional roller coaster that running a business can be. The lows can be real low, but the highs can be especially high. This year, I got to bring jobs to new team members and learn about their dreams. I proved that handling a life that existed in two places was possible for me, if at some times still a challenge. SALT received several media features this year, in YAM Magazine, Barnacle Babes, and West Jet Magazine. It's always nice when you get feedback that recognizes the hard work you have been doing, I really appreciate these publications putting SALT's name out there! I made time for myself to spend more time on the water this year, connecting with my inspiration for so much of what I do. A busy schedule doesn't always leave as much time to do the things you love as you'd like, so you have to commit to making them happen. I find my balance bobbing out on the ocean, and I was so happy to get back to it more often.
It's been a big year. A year of change and growth in many ways. Although challenging, it may be the perfect precursor to what is to come. I look forward to continuing to be an integral part of the Salt Spring Island business scene and connecting more with Victoria, and making use of the new spaces we have access to. Community, connection, and collaboration are some of the top reasons I do what I do. Taking what I created on Salt Spring, and bringing it to a bigger community means our platform is growing, and with that the opportunity to share my message with a wider audience. I will take this moment to say that if anyone is looking to create something awesome in 2019, whether in the realm of ocean conservation, sustainable fashion, community engagement, or otherwise, reach out! I am here, and I would love to hear your ideas and see what I can do to make them a reality. I want community events to be a bigger part of SALT's impact going forward, and I love working with other passionate entrepreneurs ad change-makers.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of mine and SALT's 2018 adventures. It's been tough, and it's been a blast. We've got some fun things brewing for 2019, and some more serious things too. Can't wait to share them with you. Stay tuned!