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Jo’s Journal - September 2021

Posted: by Jo Friday, 27 August 2021 @ 16:38

With September around the corner, my thoughts always turn to new beginnings. I still associate September with the start of the new year at school: buying new shoes; getting my pencil case ready; and heading in with a mix of excitement at the chance to study the things that I loved; and trepidation at facing again the subjects I hated.

Even now, I have a yearning to start an evening class or join an online study group – so firmly is the academic year ingrained in me! But I always convince myself that I don’t have enough time in my life, or there are far more important things that I should be doing.  

So – this year, I thought I would actually sign up to something, rather than talking myself out of it. I am a big fan of the learning app and website, Udemy, and have used it a few times in the past to do a short course on something that interests me.   

As I have always loved art, but gave up studying it before O-level, I thought I’d start there. I have now signed up to a couple of (very short!) courses on post-Impressionism, and one on Art Nouveau art and architecture, to test the water. Over the years, I have realised that clarity often comes from engagement and action, not thinking and analysing – so the best thing to do is to take some action, even a small step, to see where it leads. I’ll let you know how I get on!

Udemy Art Courses

Much of my August was spent helping my mother-in-law to sort out paperwork and financial matters, following my father-in-law’s sudden passing. I wouldn’t say that I am particularly good at paperwork and admin – you should see my desk here in the office! -  but it’s fascinating how much more energetically and efficiently one attacks it, when it is to help someone else.

Later in August, I did get the chance for some R&R – back to the Lake District, which has become a favourite of ours, with some friends over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Jo and friend Sarah

The month was also a bittersweet one in my Fabulous business, which sits alongside Mantra. After 16 years of having a high street presence, with 4 shops at one time, we decided it was time to close the last store and become an online-only brand.

Our store in Leamington Spa will be closing at the end of September, so this month has been a chance for the team to see many customers, old and new, as we wind the business down. People’s shopping habits have simply changed too much for it to be viable to keep a bricks and mortar presence. We will continue to run Fabulous as an online business, but it is still a sad day to say goodbye to the shop, having had it for 16 years.

Mantra has always been, principally, an online business. We love meeting many of you at events through the year – we can’t wait for them to come back! – but most of our business is done on our website.

With such a big range – over 300 lines now – it is so much easier for us to convey the breadth of choice, and the meanings behind each piece, in a digital space, as opposed to a physical one. And for us to reach so many more people, with our customer base spread across the whole of the UK (and a small number internationally).  

This month, our Charity of the Month is the Rainforest Alliance. Although we don’t have an official partnership with them, one of our Mantra collaborators – Chloe Brotheridge – works closely with them. She donates the 20% commission that she earns from her collaboration with us, to the Rainforest Alliance.  

I loved talking to Chloe this month about what drew her to this charity, and what her hopes and fears are for the environment in the future. You can read her thoughts on our MyBestSelf blog this month.  

Chloe Brotheridge for Mantra Chloe Brotheridge Solar Plexus Chakra Necklace

So, as September is about to start, let’s get into an Autumnal frame of mind, and borrow some words from great writers. 

From Nietzsche's assertion, that ‘Autumn is more a season of the soul than of nature’, to Virginia Woolf’s ‘And all the lives we ever lived, and all the lives to be, are full of trees and changing leaves...’ to Emily Bronte’s ‘Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree’, it is a season to stir the heart and the soul, as leaves starting to change colour and begin to fall.

Season of the Soul - Neitzsche Virginia Woolf Quote Emily Bronte Quote

What will you do this Autumn, to stir your heart and your soul?

Jo xx

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