What a year 2021 was! Now at the end of January, let's reflect on what the New Year has meant for us. Check out Lola and Samantha’s reflections on how they feel about the past year and the upcoming new year.
I've never been one to do New Year's resolutions but I do love to recap my year and think about my wins and opportunities (aka fails) so I can smell the roses and plan for a better year.
As an entrepreneur running a small business with all the barriers that come with being a BIPOC woman, it's really important to celebrate every small win because that means you are beating the odds one hurdle at a time. As a sensitive person, I tend to be hard on myself and my own worst critic-- I forget to give myself credit when it's due and then ask myself why I'm not doing more, which then makes me spiral into an overwhelming feeling of worry and anxiety. As much as a winning year 2021 was for my brand, I ended my year anxious because I let all these fears get to me. So this blog post is not just about reflection; it is a shoutout to myself for a job well done and also a mental healing of sorts.
"It's really important to celebrate every small win because that means you are beating the odds one hurdle at a time."
So here goes…
Dec 2020 -> Dec 2021
- I worked on rebranding It's Souper and relaunched in pouches that really let my African mud cloth design concept come to life
- Launched in Sobeys, Whole Foods, Healthy Planet, and other locations
- Launched our Shopify ecommerce store
- Got invited to apply for Dragons Den
- Had my Dragons Den audition and met the Dragons live at CBC Studios, a surreal, once in a lifetime experience
- Hired my first employee (Samantha)
- Won an Amex DMZ grant and also completed my YSpace Food Accelerator Program
- Got featured in several newspaper and TV media publications
- Signed with a good distributor
- Launched 2 new sauces-- which have had excellent reviews!
- And ended the year with my Dragon Den feature going live on TV, which was a phenomenal experience that made my family, friends, and community proud.
Through all these wins there were many tears and frustrations I battled running a food and beverage business during a pandemic. After all is said and done, It's Souper came out on top and still thriving and that's all that matters in this moment.
"So, please always take some time to refill your oxygen tank with those wins of hope."
My only resolution for 2022 is to make this recap a monthly occurrence so I can actually take it all in-- this journey is hard enough as it is and it can feel like you are drowning in never ending tasks and to-dos. So, please always take some time to refill your oxygen tank with those wins of hope that will go a long way in keeping your business alive and most importantly, be kind and have a heart of gratitude.
Have a Souper 2022!
Based on the way 2020 went, I hadn't been sure what to expect for 2021. I remember on January 1st, I didn't have a New Year's resolution. Instead, I told myself that my only goal was to get through this year… somehow.
I had recorded a message to myself on December 31, 2020 asking my future self questions about the coming year. Listening to it back now, I can't help but realize that I'm a fundamentally different person than I was a year ago.
So many wonderful things have happened this year, especially in the back half of it. I got to move downtown (a dream come true!), begin classes in-person (finally) and of course, start to work at It's Souper!
I used to be so afraid of change. Still am, sometimes. But this year, I'm so grateful for change. I don't think I'm the same person I was this time last year, and I think I'm better off for it. Risk-taking was not in my vocabulary, nor was taking advantage of opportunities. I sort of figured these opportunities to work an "office" job would only happen when I was older and out of university. This past summer, though, the opportunity to work for It's Souper came up, and I'm so glad that I've had the experience (though remote) to work in an environment where I am working in a sort of office environment. I've learned a lot! This is such a welcome change.
"This year, I'm so grateful for change."
Not only that, but I've undergone a lot of change in my personal life as well. Moving downtown was something I never thought would be possible until I was older, but with luck, help from others, and this amazing job, I was able to take that leap. I never would have imagined this would be possible last year!
Plus, when it comes to the people I surround myself with, I'm even more grateful. Though COVID still looms over us all, being able to go to some classes in-person has done wonders. I've got amazing people around me, people who I don't feel like I have to put on a mask around. And the people I don't think I can do that with… well, perhaps I'll stay social distancing (haha!).
All jokes aside, my loving friends and family have been the thing I have been the most thankful for this year. Being able to finally go out and interact with people and meet with others in person has been such a breath of fresh air from the stench of 2020, and I'm so blessed to know such amazing and supportive people. While 2022 is off to a lockdown-ed start, I have hope that things will get better.
Here's to the new year, and to more moments like these!