I have picked up a new hobby this year. Maybe you’ve picked up a few of those as well. For me, I have become a wannabe homesteader (Translate: Laura Ingalls Wilder). Yep. So, while we’ve been trying to pivot a small creative handmade business during a pandemic, I’ve also been learning how to bake bread, sustain a garden, and preserve foods. (Maybe that deserves a separate blog post all on its own.) And because I can’t seem to just dabble in anything and I must plunge head-first into everything I do with great gusto, we now own a little grain mill in our kitchen and we purchase heirloom grains. In bulk. By the bucketful. I also have homemade vanilla extract and elderberry tinctures brewing in my pantry because, you know, I’m a homesteader!
Ok, not really a homesteader. But I am so fascinated with that lifestyle and have come to learn so much about it through new podcast friends and blogs. I am so drawn to simple living these days. I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to live that lifestyle. I also admire that these modern-day pioneers seem to have an innate sense of values that drive their decisions. One of my podcast friends (from the podcast “Homemaker Chic”) uses the phrase, “Better, not more” quite often, and I have come to use that phrase often myself. And I am challenging myself to live by it.
Instead of filling my closet with the hottest trends that are here today and irrelevant tomorrow, I am trying to build a more versatile closet. Better, not more. This might mean paring my closet down to items that I am really passionate about, or that are higher quality, or not made in a sweat shop, rather than amassing piles and piles of cheap clothing simply because they are cheap and popular. In very subtle ways, this has inspired our choices in fashion that we have been carrying in the shop this year. Some refer to this concept as a “capsule wardrobe”. It certainly isn’t a new concept, but it is growing in awareness and popularity.
Speaking of the store, we were recently joking with our team about needing a bigger store. But then we quickly had the “ah ha” that if we had a bigger store, we may lose our focus more easily. It would be easy to fill it with anything and everything, making it more and more difficult to determine what we are truly all about. At least for this season of life, having a small store is requiring us to make hard choices and only offer what we view to be the “cream of the crop”, so to speak. It forces us to be really well acquainted with what we stand for from a brand perspective. This isn’t to say that we’ve reached a state of perfection in what we offer, but it DOES mean that the items we say “yes” to are a very excited “YES!!!” They are things that we run to greet at the front door when the delivery man shows up. (He probably thinks we’re crazy, because we do get quite excited.) These are items that we believe have real value for our community and our world. “Better, not more”. Intentionally chosen, not more. It also requires us to be purposeful in the pieces we design and make in-house. Just because we can print something on a shirt doesn’t mean we should or will. You can always know that the Pressed products that come out of our studio are prayed over and pondered for a good length of time. And each message has a close tie to our hearts.
From both a business and personal perspective, “better, not more” is transforming how we (Eric and I) live. We’re starting to become more conscious consumers. We’re trying to spend our dollars on the types of things that help create the future world we want to live in. And as for our schedules? We’re striving for less complicated, less frantic, less distracted. We’re learning that saying “no” to some things leads to even stronger yeses in other areas. We’re trying to ditch the hustle mindset in exchange for more meaningful days. I’ll be honest though–I truly have to fight this hustle daily. Even with my little homesteading hobby. I recently realized even my hobby was imposing achievement-related guilt in my life. If I’m not careful, I will lose the beauty of grinding my own flour and watching seedlings grow as I trade it in for a set of checklists on a page. And that is an example of how more is not necessarily better.
Expect to hear and see more of this “better, not more” influence on our holiday season at Pressed. I know, I know… “Holiday?!?!” Yep. We’ve been in holiday planning mode for almost two months already now, if you can believe it. The holiday season will look different for all of us this year for many reasons. But I honestly think some tremendous re-prioritizing could come from it. Supply chain issues could very well single-handedly force us into a “better, not more” holiday. I know there will continue to be challenges for all of us in the coming months, but my hope and prayer for myself, my team, my home, and my community is that we become even more acquainted with what we value deeply. I hope we can identify the fluff and distractions and trade them in for what we actually hold dear.
In summary, I’m predicting the remainder of 2020 will push us into a “better, not more” way of living and my challenge to us all is to embrace the good that can come out of it.
From your bread-baking pioneer friend,