Posted: by Jo Thursday, 24 September 2020 @ 06:06
September is always a happy month for me, as it’s my birthday month. And with the onset of Autumn, I decided to visit Batsford Arboretum on my birthday weekend, for a glorious stroll through miles of wooded paths. The sun was shining for a final fling of late Summer, and it really was a wonderful day out. I love trees, and am at my happiest when wandering amongst them.
I also managed to get away for two weeks’ holiday to the beautiful island of Sicily, which was a very welcome respite from all the Coronavirus reporting. Its Mediaeval churches are amongst the most beautiful in Europe, and the countryside is truly enchanting, from gently sloping vineyards to the dramatic slopes of Mount Etna.
As October draws near, and there is more worrying news about the virus, more restrictions are being placed on our lives again, so I feel even more fortunate that I had the chance to get away. Now, more than ever, resilience and positivity are needed, in spades.
As a team at Mantra, we feel we have learnt four very important things this year, and it has influenced the direction of our new Mantra pieces.
The virus and its consequences have taught us to really understand, value and prioritise what is most important in our lives. It has reminded us to make sure that the allocation of our time matches those priorities. It has also taught us that positivity and belief are more important than ever, to remain steadfast, resilient and hopeful in the face of difficulty.
And it has reminded us of the need to take active steps to look after our health and wellbeing - physical and mental - to have the best chance of fighting this disease. Our entire Winter ‘Disc’ collection is therefore built around these themes:
‘Balance’, to prompt us to manage our lives differently; ‘Love’, to celebrate the most important thing in life; ‘Hope’, to engender positivity and optimism; and ‘I am grateful’, to remember to value all that we have.
This year has also been marked by the Black Lives Matter protests, and an awakening to the inequality and unfairness which still exists in society for so many people. This has prompted an outpouring of support, and a commitment from many to work together to make a positive change.
Reflecting this mood, our new ‘Together’ Disc Necklace celebrates this spirit of being an ally to those who are marginalised, and encourages us all to take more action to improve things. ‘I stand with others to make a better world’, is its mantra.
So, October will be a busy month for new releases, as we also have new bracelets and earrings coming to the collection, and some updated card designs. We are also building up our stock levels ready for Christmas, as we struggled to keep some of our bestselling designs in stock over the lockdown period.
October is also a month when we have a big focus on charities, with it being Breast Cancer awareness month. We already work with 9 different charities, donating 25% of the sales of our Mantra Changes Lives collection to them – and are excited to be adding NHS Charities Together to our partners. We have created our ‘Hope’ necklace with this very tough year in mind, but it works as a positive and optimistic message for anyone going through a difficult time, no matter the cause.
Going back to the theme of trees, from the start of my journal this month - this is also the month when we report on our paper usage through the year, and work with UK charity, Trees for Cities, to offset what we have used. We calculate the weight of paper used in our packaging over the year, and plant 4 trees for every one we used.
Already, we only ever use FSC-accredited paper sources for our catalogues, and part-recycled paper for our boxes, but we also like to make sure we are adding to the world’s stock of trees – as it is one of the simplest and most effective ways of fighting climate change. And having watched David Attenborough’s stark ‘Extinction’ programme this month, it highlighted even more than ever the need for us to plant more and more trees.
Well - I hope you all have a lovely October, and that the new Covid restrictions don’t get you down too much. A positive outlook and an attitude of counting our blessings, not our difficulties, is what will get us through. So, let’s embrace the mantra of one of our new pieces – ‘I am grateful for all that I have’.