Year of Resilience
We’re turning the corner on a less than ideal year. But I’ve always felt that if you don’t learn from the events in life that challenge you - you let that event “win”. I’m so proud of how everyone at VSSL stepped up and tried their best despite all that 2020 threw at them.
It hasn’t been easy. As a team, we typically operate from many parts of the world, with Abbotsford, British Columbia being headquarters. In prior years, we’ve had the privilege of getting together frequently, grounding and bonding as a team. Part of the reason people work for this company (and in our industry) is because we place a high value on quality time shared together, with family and friends, in the outdoors, traveling, and adventuring. These things are important to us. And I know this is also true for many of you.
Many of us faced challenges both personally and professionally this year. And for many of us, there is a lot about this year that shifted our perspective. In a lot of ways, we’ve come to realize what’s important in life; the things we can live with and without.
I’m an optimist. My cup is always at least half full. So even when things are really bad, and as hard as it might be, I’ll imagine a time in the future when I’m through it all. And that touch of a feeling will help me persevere until I’m actually there. Since I started this company, we’ve had this on the back of our instructions: “The most important aspect of survival is the ability to keep a positive attitude”. Applying this philosophy towards challenges in life has served me (and many others) well.
I fully acknowledge that there have been some extremely tragic events this past year and that we’re inundated with bad news everywhere we turn. But as I reflect on the year, my nature doesn’t really allow me to dip into the negative. It’s the positive things in our “VSSL world” that pop into my mind that I’d rather celebrate, and I want to take a moment to highlight a few:
Two of our crew had babies! We’re so stoked to welcome both Gatsby and Annabelle into the world. And we can’t wait till we’re on the other side of Covid to celebrate these blessings properly.
And speaking of crew, ours grew A LOT. We added 5 new folks and now have a total of 19. Amazingly, these people have become core to VSSL despite still not meeting many of their co-workers in person due to Covid restrictions!
Additionally, we launched some awesome new products including First Aid Mini and had our best Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign ever with VSSL Java. All of this contributing to a record year in sales for VSSL.
We did another project with Kay Foye, allowing us to offer something handcrafted, rare and beautiful to our customers and, at the same time, giving back to our local community.
One of my personal highlights on giving back this year was from one of our customers who, after reading about our story, donated $5,000 to two causes we hold near and dear: Communitas, the organization that helps us keep youth with special needs employed at VSSL and Joan’s Beeswax. This sweet lady makes our beeswax candles and uses the profits from our orders to send people with special needs to summer camp in my home province of Saskatchewan.
While it hasn’t been easy, I would like to think we forged a strong bond as a company in 2020. We felt an extra sense of kinship with our customers, knowing that many of their struggles were shared by us and our loved ones. People around the world are living a shared experience. It should bind us.
As a company, my confidence heading into a new year extends well beyond optimism. Watching this crew rise up during a super challenging year greatly inspires me! I’m incredibly excited for what our future holds, and I truly wish you’ll share in my optimism and hope for 2021.
Happy New Year.