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Jo’s Journal – December 2021

Posted: by Jo Sunday, 28 November 2021 @ 12:56

November is always a busy month here at Mantra, with orders increasing every day as we get closer to Christmas, and Black Friday always having a big impact. We love it when it’s this busy – with the packages piling up, to go in the post – as it means more and more of you are discovering Mantra.

As a business, we are always a little unsure about Black Friday, as it has become such a massive discount-driven sales event. These sort of discount events are genuinely hard for small businesses, as a small business often can’t afford the hit to their margin.  

We price our products fairly, based on the cost of Sterling Silver, the cost of designing and producing them, and the costs of packaging them - while enabling us to make a gross profit to cover paying for our team, our premises, and our marketing activity.

This year, we gave customers 20% off for the whole week leading up to Black Friday – which was a bigger offer than we have ever done before.  

Although it was challenging for us to take this reduction in margin for a whole week of sales, we felt that it was the right thing to do, when times are so tough for everyone. With rising fuel and heating costs, and food and clothing getting more and more expensive, we felt it was right to join other brands in giving Black Friday discounts across our whole range, to enable our more price-conscious customers the chance to shop early for Christmas.  

Our favourite day, however, is Giving Tuesday – a few days after Black Friday – when the focus shifts to charitable donations, rather than discounts. We have always had a strong commitment to charitable giving – with our Mantra Changes Lives collection, we gift 25% of the sales of all of those pieces straight to the charities we create them with. But with Giving Tuesday, we choose to make a donation from every single sale, not just our charity collaborations.

Giving Tuesday Mantra Jewellery

We also love launching new pieces, especially when it is things that our lovely customers have asked for. Our new Mini Mantra collection launched in November, with four carefully-written mantras and four carefully-chosen designs, to appeal especially to youngsters. Many of you had asked about a special collection for children.

 Mini Mantra collection - Childrens jewellery Mini Mantra childrens Daisy necklace

We also launched some of our bestselling Symbol Necklaces in Gold-plating – 18 carat Gold plated on top of the Sterling Silver – as we had SO many requests for a Gold Phoenix and a Gold Lotus! These are initially a Limited Edition, so grab yours while they are still available.

Gold Phoenix Necklace 

For me personally, November was a busy month too. From heading up to Edinburgh to watch rugby, to a day out at Chatsworth, I was incredibly lucky to make the most of the blue skies and sunshine of the month.  

This was my first visit to Chatsworth, to see the house decorated for Christmas, and the grounds filled with a superb festive market. My friend Emma and I always try to have at least one festive day out, in the run-up to Christmas, when all-things-Christmas are to be celebrated and enjoyed.  

Jo Stroud and Emma Chatsworth 

I loved Chatsworth: the effort made to decorate each room differently; the mix of real and artificial Christmas trees, with many re-used year after year; some rooms full of recycled and handmade decorations, including old corks turned into reindeer; and the juxtaposition of contemporary ceramics mixed with traditional antiques, making the art in the house really come to life.

As ever, I also found plenty of time to devour some excellent books, as I typically have two or three on the go at any one time.

My favourite was the brilliant ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ by Oliver Burkeman, subtitled ‘Time, and how to use it’. A fascinating and genuinely thought-provoking meditation on the nature of time, human limitations, and embracing our ‘finitude’, it made me reconsider many of my future plans, and question several of my ingrained beliefs. I would highly recommend it as a brilliant read for all but the most relaxed individuals - who probably don’t need its help!

Four Thousand Weeks Book

Kate Bowler’s ‘No Cure for Being Human’ was also excellent and equally thought-provoking, as she discovers that life is not a series of unlimited choices, when she is diagnosed with incurable cancer, at the age of 35. Kate also, as Oliver above, tries to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says that anything is possible, and finds a peace in embracing life’s limits, rather than its possibilities. 

As December approaches, we are all gearing up for Christmas, in the hope that it will be more festive and family-oriented than last year. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and a positive and peaceful end to the year.

Jo xxx

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