I don’t think that there is a single person who can say that 2020 was not challenging, however the silver lining I think for most people, and I hope for all, is that 2020 gave us a chance to reflect on the way that we are living our lives.
The later part of 2020 allowed Passion Lilie to re-think our mission, vision and values, and the language that we use in a way that better aligns with the business we set out to be when we started in 2013.
At the start of 2020 Passion Lilie was on track for our best year of sales to date, our team was doing well and we were working out our growing kinks.
Thankfully we were established when the pandemic hit, so we were able to pay for all orders, even the ones that could not be immediately shipped because of forced government closures in India.
The owners of the groups that we work with hold the same values and ethics as Passion Lilie and they committed to paying the artisans throughout COVID-19 even during the forced government closures. Passion Lilie believes that sustainability is the key to success, so in April we did a fundraiser for our team and we were able to raise enough money to pay for the block printers and stitchers salaries for one month to help relieve the financial stress and burden that COVID-19 created. Thank you to those who donated.
We started producing face masks, which become our primary source of income for several months, something I could have never imagined.
And in the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, I started listening to a few podcasts by Manpreet Kalra, an anti-racism educator, host of the Art of Citizenry podcast, and brand marketing expert. This is when I started to reflect on the language of our mission as well as the language that we have been using across all platforms.
For example, our mission statement included the words “empowering artisans.” What I learned was that very language in itself was problematic. These artisans do not need Passion Lilie. They empower themselves in their every-day actions. And by using these words, it creates a since of hierarchy, which feeds into systems of oppression, and can lead to racism.
Passion Lilie then decided to hire Manpreet Kalara to help us re-brand our mission, vision and values. We worked closely together to make sure the language we use will set Passion Lilie on the path to helping build a more sustainable world, one built on honesty and respect.
We are happy to enter 2021 with a new outlook. This is not the end of learning and growing as a business, but just the beginning.