UPDATED 5/17/2020. We feel very lucky to be working from home and shipping normally. We are shipping and monogramming daily. We are keeping a good supply of our materials and our tools are in ship-shape. Our day-to-day routine is actually little changed and yet… everything else is different.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating big changes everywhere we look. Shipping is taking longer than usual. Suppliers are either closed, or slammed with work. Everyone is a little more patient and understanding.
One of the most encouraging changes we’ve witnessed, is the coming together we’ve all experienced. We are so very grateful to everyone working on the front lines, including grocery store clerks and postal carriers. This has been a remarkable time for connecting with the community, and we want to be helpful in the fight against this disease and helpful to our community.
We want to be helpful. In this post we want to share how we’re doing our part, plus some hopeful thoughts for the future.
The study of disasters makes it clear that … in the wake of a [disaster], most people are altruistic, urgently engaged in caring for themselves and those around them, strangers and neighbors as well as friends and loved ones.Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell
Doing our part.
We may be a small mom-and-pop company, but we can do our part:
- One of the unexpected advantages of already working from home, and having no employees, is that business is operating as usual. We’re a mom-and-pop workforce making leather goods in accordance with CDC guidelines and shipping them on our normal schedule. (Work actually helps keep us feeling occupied and useful, and we are grateful for every single sale.)
- We created a limited-edition bandana as a fundraiser for the charity, No Kid Hungry, whose mission is to end child hunger. All proceeds after the cost of the bandana, packaging, and shipping, are going straight to No Kid Hungry. Shop the bandana, follow along on our fundraising page, and learn more >>>
- We are sheltering in place (and have been since early March) and doing our part to prevent transmission in our community. That means no guided tours of our workshop, but we are now offering free “curbside” pick-up for locals.
- In March, we donated all of our unused N95 masks (used in woodworking as dust/sanding masks) to medical professionals attending patients.
As we’ve been watching this unfold, we’ve been spending most of our time trying to figure out how to be helpful. Here’s how we think we can help:
- Self-isolation can be rough, and it’s important to keep busy. We made a list of 23 activity ideas to get us through quarantine.
- For an at-home, family activity, we raided our scrap bin and offered Free Leather Bookmark Kits. During March, April, and May 2020, we sent out over 350 bookmarks to 113 households worldwide, a smashing success! Sending extra thanks and gratitude to everyone who donated postage for others, it allowed us to keep this program going much longer than we initially anticipated.
- It’s a good time to send some love, literally. Sending care packages and gifts to family members can help keep us feeling connected during social distancing. If you decide to send a gift with Walnut, we’ll make packages for your friends feel extra-special with free gift-wrapping.
- One thing that’s helped us a lot, is having a new kitten in our home, and looking at pictures of cats and kittens is one way we can relax. If you need more kitten photos in your life, wait until you meet our adorable little kitten Tanuki. We even created her own Instagram feed for a regular dose of relaxing kitten photos and videos.
- We understand that shopping is likely the last priority on your mind, and that’s okay. If you are in the market, we’re offering 20% off site-wide during this strange time (discounts applied automatically). We’ve never held a sale like this before, ever, but right now it just feels like we all need to give each other a little break. And if you’ve been wanting something custom-made for a long time, we’ve got the free time to take on custom projects. This is a good time to get it done.
Hopeful thoughts for the future
Hopeful visions of the future lift us up when it feels like we are drowning in the present moment. Here are some hopeful visions of the future to get out of the rut:
- Bicycles and city bicycle infrastructure are rising in esteem as an important transportation option during pandemics. In New York, they are hurrying to install bicycle infrastructure that bicycle advocates have been demanding for years, as cycling becomes the best way to get around New York while observing social distancing.
- Walnut was born in the Great Recession, so we know first-hand that out of destruction comes rebirth. Disasters can be catalysts for much-needed change. What kind of change do you hope to see? As IMF historian James Boughton said on the subject, “Only in a crisis are governments able to rally people to accept necessary but painful reforms. Every crisis is also an opportunity.”
- We are all – together – rising to the occasion. We are each doing our part to lessen the crisis and help others. It’s not anecdotal, it’s real. As Rebecca Solnit explains in her excellent book, A Paradise Built in Hell, “Disaster movies … continue to portray ordinary people as hysterical or vicious in the face of calamity. … [But] the study of disasters makes it clear that the prevalent human nature in disaster is resilient, resourceful, generous, empathic, and brave.”
One last thing
We have leather crafting skills and materials, and an abundance of gratitude. How can we use our skills to support you? Is there something we can help you with? Contact us, we’d love to help remotely.
Stay safe, STAY HOME, and be well. We’re here for you.
About Walnut Studiolo
Walnut Studiolo crafts original modern designs by hand in our Oregon workshop using only natural materials. We are a family-run company located on the North Oregon Coast. Learn more about us on our website: https://walnutstudiolo.com