Somehow, another year has gone by, offering another opportunity to locate where I felt gratitude—and also to articulate where I lacked attention, commitment, and motivation. For me, it’s important to be able to look at these things next to each other: the beautiful and the disheartening, the joyful and the frustrating, and everything in between.
The last year has been interesting as a business owner; I've named it "The Year of the Employee." This year has seen huge surges in people quitting—in some ways, an extension of the great exodus that began last year, in addition to the "quiet quitting" trend, spikes in compensation, time off, and flexibility demands. It’s all trickled down to affect me on an individual level at our flower shop: I’ve had more turnover this year than ever. So, I want to take the moment to name the gratitude I have for my employees throughout my history at Beet & Yarrow. Each person has taught me something, helped us to figure out who we were as a business, and kept our doors open and our customers served.
Workers in general are looking for more balance. People taking more time for their personal lives, advocating for better compensation, taking care of their mental health, looking for jobs that fit family and home life better, fit their long term career goals, or allow them to pursue their hobbies. It seems like everyone is realizing we’ve been working too much, and that it’s ingrained at a cultural level. It's as if we’ve found out we don't always have to hustle, that endless growth and money aren't the highest pursuit. I've begun building these principles into my vision for our company’s culture. I want our employees to be healthy, to take care of themselves, know their limits, have lives, and take time to rest and dream. Any of us who take these things seriously will be more creative, and have more to give our customers.
I stopped being able to do the work of the flower shop on my own around year one, and I’ve had employees ever since. My delivery driver Matthew, one of my longtime friends, helped me out with our early corporate clients back in my third story apartment eleven years ago. And this year, ten years later, our paths crossed again—I had a job to offer, and he needed one. I'm extremely grateful to have him back for the time being. I've learned that it's okay to be a stepping stone as an employer. I'm grateful for that lesson. I'm grateful for my longer term employees who have character when it comes to work ethic (looking at you, Brittany!), because I know they could have left at any time. I can’t take any one of them for granted, and they inspire me as they serve our customers well, make creative designs, and keep the business delivering gorgeous flowers every day. I'm grateful to the employees who have had different strengths from my own. Lars, who is disciplined, assertive, and who creates designs that inspire me every morning I come in. Mae, who gave six years of her life and did just about every single different job within the business: sales, invoicing, buying, designing, teaching, even making some of the pottery. Meranda, who was incredibly creative and understood large-scale installation like I never could. Amanda for her outfits, modeling, and for keeping our organization and cleaning standards high. Dena for her dance moves, laughter, and eye for our gifting merchandising. And—always—my delivery drivers. Our business depends so much on them, and their job isn't as creative and can be stressful and tedious at times. Thank you all for every single delivery, ever.
To our newer employees: you may not know that I'm practicing my development skills on you like I never have before. I'm learning better methods to train, to challenge, to inspire and to develop and encourage your skills and growth. This has been a lesson—10 years running!—in learning to do that better. And it's one I have failed at many times. I'm proud of you and the growth you've shown, and for bringing yourself to the table in the first place, to show up and keep our designs fresh and inspired.
This year I was able to take a full month off in September. I wouldn’t have been able to even think about this without our staff community. I'm incredibly grateful to my current team for holding the shop together while I was away, for supporting my time of rest, soul-searching and reflection.
See you in 2023!