This time of year inevitably becomes a reflective and introspective time for me. Perhaps this year is particularly so because my husband and I welcomed a baby boy (our second) earlier this year. Plus, during a heartfelt life-talk on a breakfast date with my dad recently he said, “There’s nothing about you that’s not a full-fledged adult at this point. You get to decide what your adult life will look like.” Those words along with several other conversations with friends, mentors and recent book recommendations have me working on better defining my personal life goals and how career, family and community all become essential pieces of that vision. It’s been an interesting practice to do this and has lead me once again to a place of deep gratitude where I often find myself around Thanksgiving.
Among other things, sitting at my desk here at Dsenyo, I’m counting my blessings for:
Our Dsenyo Team - Both Ashley and Linda joined Dsenyo full-time earlier this year. They took a risk to leave better paying, more stable professions. Linda even left a strong community of friends and family back in Wisconsin and Indiana to move out West to join us here in Colorado. I’m grateful for their passion and varied talents that they bring to our team. I’m also grateful to have a team to share in this journey with.
Dsenyo works with over 100+ artisans in Malawi, Zambia and Brazil
Artisan Partners - Our artisan partners are why Dsenyo exists. We get so much satisfaction and joy out of working with them and knowing that their families are thriving because of the boost they get from income generated by working on Dsenyo orders. Through our social impact studies (Malawi, Zambia) we have been able to see and measure first-hand that Dsenyo’s intention of positively impacting women and artisan’s lives is a reality.
Retail Partners - Did you know that Dsenyo items are sold at over 300 retail locations across the USA, Canada and Australia. That’s amazing! We are so grateful to work with this network of stores that values artisan-made, fair trade goods and we continue to work like crazy to design and create products that help our partners succeed in their efforts as well.
Enjoying community BBQ at Confluence Small Business Collective
Confluence - For the first time this year Dsenyo has a real office. We are flagship members of the Confluence Small Business Collective in Lafayette, CO with a private Dsenyo office. It’s been wonderful to be part of this community in our home town.
Dsenyo's new retail store, located in side TRI Vintage & Wares
New Shop - I am grateful for our friends at TRI Vintage & Wares who presented us with the incredible opportunity of opening a small Dsenyo retail shop this fall. Dsenyo now has a store within a store. For local supporters in the Boulder/Denver area you can now see our FULL collection of fair trade items from all three countries in one place. Dsenyo shop is inside TRI at 107 S Public Rd in Lafayette, CO.
Crowdfunding Supporters - Thank you to everyone who supported our Snare Wire Kickstarter Campaign to help reinforce anti-poaching efforts in Zambia and create artisan jobs in the local community. Right now we are running another campaign to help launch a new group of textile artisans in Zambia and get Dsenyo to a more stable place of self-sufficiency. You can support that here and thank you!
Balanced perspective - One of my favorite perks of working on Dsenyo is the balance perspective I have gained on life. I can so easily get swept up in the busy-ness of our American culture, the desire for more, more, more and the relentless overwhelming, self-defeating, over-parenting of my generation. (sorry that sounds so negative...there are so many things I LOVE about our culture too, but it’s been so good for me personally, to be able to step outside of the culture my daily life is immersed in and look at things from a different perspective. This helps me manage the stress of running a social enterprise, build my marriage and be mom to two young boys all at once. When I look at the women and artisans we work with across Malawi, Zambia and Brazil and take into account the daily challenges they face, I realize that I can do this...we can do this! Our partner artisans give me that strength and inspiration every single day. Thank you!
By the way, this life goal/vision work I’m doing has been inspired by several friends and mentors alongside the following books. It’s odd that we spend so much time planning other parts of our lives (business plans, vacation plans, education plans) but don’t necessarily do the intentional work of planning our adult lives. I’m not a crazy planner necessarily. I really like and value leaving space for spontaneity and openness to new ideas that aren’t part of the plan. However, I am goal-oriented and value the direction that comes with having a plan with some foundation and structure to build off of.
Book recommendations on this stuff:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
ReWork, by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
Making Money is Killing Your Business, by Chuck Blakeman