Hosting Handmade HollyDay In The Midst Of Grief and a Global Pandemic

#handmadeholiday handmade hollyday

So… 2020. Not our favorite. And I’m sure that’s true for many people! Crossing over into 2021 will leave all of us with some memorable stories to tell of this year, the kickoff to the ‘roaring 20’s’. For us, it’s full of heartache and hard lessons. 


Que us having a team meeting in the middle of August. Josh and I had been back less than a month from having our first baby, and Lexi was worn out from having run the shop by herself for the last month and a half. We were in survival mode and the last thing we were thinking of was hosting a large scale event. So… HollyDay was a solid 2 months away. It would be the 15th annual, a tradition started by Holly in her home as an open house. We couldn’t ‘not’ do it. But um… none of us had ever actually helped her plan HollyDay out. She was like a fine tuned engine when it came to this thing! Not to mention we were in the middle of a global pandemic. 


Everything started out as an idea- something we ‘may’ be able to do. We shot out ideas and brainstormed for days and realized this might actually work. We sat down one day and just scribbled down all of our ideas, no filter, no dumb answers. That’s how we kicked off the whole process. 


Which vendors do we need to invite back?
Who do we want to add this year? 
How many vendors can we actually fit? 
What kind of Covid restrictions will we have to prepare for?

Back and forth we went over the pros and cons of each question and broke it all down. With the help of Google Sheets we had a really good system for keeping all of our accumulated info straight. Each of us could access the documents from anywhere on any device, which is one of the reasons I love Google Drive so much. 


Along with Google, Facebook was a HUGE help for reaching out to vendors and to get the word out in general. In the weeks leading up to HollyDay we must have used social media more than ever before, between Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. The social presence of Lotion Bar Cafe played a HUGE part in the actual turn out and success of Handmade HollyDay this year. 



But wait… where’s all of our product gone? No bath fizzies, you say? And our lip balms? Oh, right. We’ve been a one man show for the past few months. 


Que the panic. It was the beginning of October by this point and the comfort zone of “HollyDay is over 2 months away” turned into “Handmade HollyDay is 1 month out!” Holy shi-


A cuss word or two seems appropriate for this scenario (insert the nervous laughing emoji). But really… we felt- to say the least- blindsided and tackled to the ground by the biggest linebacker out there. The shop was looking empty and sad (much like our spirits at that point!)


 So… the only thing to do was cry. Just have the ultimate sob session as the built up stress and sadness flow out of you after having built up and accumulated for the past 8 months. We weren’t ready to acquire an entire business. We weren’t ready to carry on Holly’s legacy without her here to help us. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to her. 


When Holly passed away in February it was life shattering. It still is. To keep her vision alive has been the ultimate ‘fake it till you make it’ experience ever. And sometimes we feel like we have imposter syndrome. Of course we love all of our customers who are more like family at this point, but operating as a business has been SO HARD. You will always find us smiling when you walk into the store and on our live videos, but keeping that happy energy up has proved to be quite the challenge. Pair that with our complete ignorance on how to run a business and all of its sub parts (such as keeping up the production of products so we aren’t completely out of bath fizzies) and yeah- the only thing to do was cry. About everything. 


Once the floors were mopped of our tears, we made a plan. 


Plan. Plan. Plan. And stick with it. Our plan looked something like, go into the shop to make x amount of product each day, come home and make an additional 5 batches of fizzies and shower steamers. Repeat until Handmade HollyDay. No, it wasn’t fun. But it also wasn’t the worst experience ever. It definitely taught us a good lesson! It reminded me of the phrase that goes “Start. Fail. Learn. Repeat.” It’s actually hung up in our little break room area! If that wasn’t the case here, then I don’t know what is. We definitely had a failure! Learned real good! Now we're starting on our next venture, and I’m sure we will run into some more bumps in the road! But the important part is to keep going and trying, even after failing. 


The last 2 weeks until Handamde HollyDay and we’ve officially got all of the products made! Now here’s the part where we extend the greatest thank you to everyone who got us from that point to Handmade HollyDay ready. We had the most amazing team of helpers who gave their time and energy, sometimes even after working a full day at their own job! They were the reason we were able to actually enjoy Handmade Holly day this year. Without them, we would have had half of our products in the back waiting to get packaged and labeled, no one to work the check in table, un-mopped floors, and we would have probably gone bald with all the stress. They are all truly blessings. 


All of the vendors we invited were absolutely amazing and made the shopping experience a true ‘one stop shop’! There will be a list of each one found at the end of this blog post!


To comply with Covid guidelines, we prepared to only allow ten people inside to shop at a time, placed all of the vendors outside this year, spaced their booths out 6 ft apart, had a arsenal of disposable masks for those who may have forgot theirs, and stocked up on all the lysol wipes you could imagine. 


The 15th annual Handmade HollyDay was held on November 7th, 2020. The weather was sunny and bright, the best it’s been in years. Our amazing customers came out that day in full force to support all of the small businesses that set up with us. We were able to take over 15 boxes full of canned goods to God’s Pantry! It was one of the best years we have had...and there is no doubt in my mind that Holly was the reason.

 

Community, and supporting one another is what Handmade HollyDay has always been about. Check out all of the wonderful businesses that were set up at this years HollyDay!

  1. Festivitea
  2. The One Butt Bakery
  3. MoGlo Espresso
  4. Roll Up Food Truck
  5. Lots of Dots By Lindsey
  6. Michele Arthur
  7. Blissful Botanicals
  8. Top Notch Christmas Lights
  9. Dalia’s Handmade Crafts
  10. Black Girl Salsa
  11. Jeanne Santillanez
  12. Julie Bee’s Honey Caramels
  13. Usborne Books & More
  14. Dippity Duo Dips
  15. Colorado Honey Lady
  16. Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping
  17. Crazy Pig BBQ
  18. Balls to the Wall Crochet
  19. Wisco Cheese
  20. Mollie & Co.


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