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Jo’s Journal – May 2022

Posted: by Jo Friday, 29 April 2022 @ 08:54

April was a mixed month for me...

with some hugely enjoyable social activities and a week-long holiday - but also, a reflective occasion of scattering my father-in-law’s ashes.

My mother-in-law waited 9 months before she felt ready to scatter Dennis’s ashes, which gave her time to reflect on how to do it in the most meaningful way. She chose a quiet spot in their large garden, overlooking their orchard, and placed a wooden bench there, and planted a cherry tree beside it. Half of his ashes were scattered around the tree, and half on top of a nearby hill, looking down on that spot in the garden, with the Baptist Minister coming along to say a prayer.

Dennis loved his garden, and he and Joan created the orchard with trees bought on their honeymoon – so it felt like just the right spot for him, and a lovely, peaceful and fitting way to put him to rest.  

An Easter break

Following that, we celebrated Easter with Joan, before heading to the Lake District for a week’s walking holiday. I was thrilled to walk up ten Wainwrights on the challenging Kentmere Horseshoe on one of the days, and enjoy a gentle stroll in Grizedale Forest as an easy contrast on another.

It was a wonderful holiday, with the incredible views of the Lake District made even sweeter by the blue sky and sunshine of the whole week.

Jo in the Lake District

Mid-season Sale

Coming back to work after my week away, it was disappointing – and more than a little worrying – to see how quiet sales had been on the Mantra website. With increasing fuel and food costs starting to really bite now, it is clear that many people simply don’t have the disposable income to spend on jewellery right now, whether that be for themselves or as a gift.

We have extended our Sale, and added more to it, as we hope this will bring more of our inspiring pieces to within a more accessible price range. But it is a worrying time for us, as we simply cannot continue as a business without a certain level of turnover to pay the team, the office rent, the production costs, and the general business running costs.

Mid-season Sale

Shop the Mid-season Sale

I heard last week that a very good retail jewellery business that I have long admired has gone into administration, and I know many other brands and designers who are having a very quiet time right now. I am very concerned that we are at the tip of a recession, and that many small businesses - like our own – may struggle to get through it.

I am not sure what the answer is, as it is clear that living costs are going to continue to increase for some time to come. All we can hope is that Mantra continues to be perceived as a high quality brand at an affordable price-point, which brings joy and inspiration to the wearer, and makes a powerful and meaningful gift.

Jo at Women of the Year 2022

It was interesting attending the ‘Women of the Year’ lunch and awards at the start of the month, in company of many female business friends. My friends all want to support small businesses, and to see them thrive – but were also starting to worry about increasing pressure on household incomes. However, they all felt that they would continue to buy meaningful gifts for family and friends, even if their overall spend level was reduced – which gave me some encouragement as the owner of a business that is predominantly gifted.

I started and ended this month with more culture in London – lucky enough to see both Moulin Rouge and Cabaret, both Christmas gifts. The sheer joy of seeing live performances on stage is incredible, especially after such a long time away from it, and I can highly recommend both shows. My husband and I also visited the Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum, when we were in London – which was fascinating.

Jo at Moulin Rouge

And, as ever, I have a long line of books that I am reading or listening to this month, which include Bill Bryson’s excellent ‘The Body’ (which I know I am very late to the party on), and Susan Jeffers’ ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ – a favourite that I am listening to again, and which is very pertinent for these uncertain times.

Hummingbird

Hummingbird Necklace

I hope everyone has a great May, and that we are each able to focus on the good things in our lives, rather than the negatives of the wider world. ‘Seek the sweet moments in every day’ seems a good mantra for current times, to keep our faces turned to the sunshine.

Jo xxx    



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