This Time Last year

This Time Last year

Someone much wiser than me said “we always overestimate what we can achieve in a week but underestimate what we can achieve in a year.”

I’m often reminded how true this is as I sit here at home in the middle of my uni break reflecting on what has happened over the past year. Despite this blog being called ‘Everything BUT the Pants’, pants have featured quite high in my past year.

I had made a pair over the 2019 Christmas break and some friends saw them and asked me to make some for them too. It was no big deal and I expected nothing of it. It was only as I drove back from Wellington for the nationwide Level 4 lockdown on 24th March last year that I had the idea to make some more and try to sell them via instagram. I phoned through a fabric order that was delivered to home a couple of hours before lockdown and got cutting and sewing.

I feel like I’ve said this story a million times so I won’t bore you with what you can read on my website, but it does make you realise how much we can really get done in a year. I couldn’t have imagined that Stella Claire would be a fully fledged business manufacturing a range of ethically sourced and locally made products this time last year! 

Every night of lockdown my mum and I would cut out between eight and ten pairs of pants, then the next day we would sew them into the finished product. Ten doesn’t sound like many, but if you do the maths that’s about 60 pairs a week. I didn’t work every hour of every day but I stuck at it – by the end of lockdown I had 200 pairs ready to be couriered out and then gained a further couple hundred orders in the months to follow! 

In my bubble we had to stop working at 5:00pm because we got into a ritual inspired by the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption.’ Dad would grab our speaker and put it out on the deck where he would blast out a lockdown themed song. Everyone in the neighbourhood would come out to their decks as we would enjoy a moment spent with our community – together but from a far. We would dance on our balconies with drinks in our hands and toast to another day of lockdown being ticked off without going completely mad! There was a great halo effect that came with this 5pm ritual as the music was heard up to 5 blocks away – we started to receive notes in our letterbox and texts with song requests for the days to follow. It became a relief in a crazy time that was always there to look forward to.

Although I managed to keep busy and always looked forward to sewing and dancing on the deck at 5pm – lockdown did take quite a tough toll on my mental health. I heard a saying that goes “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just one oar.” - Damian Barr. For some, lockdown was heaven. Being at home with family getting to self reflect and distract ourselves from the busy world. For others, lockdown was a hard hitting form of loneliness and isolation. Then of course there is everywhere in between. I might eventually tackle the topic of mental health broadly in another post, but for now I’ll leave it at this: 

As I look back on the last year I see it as a cliché – always look for the silver lining in the clouds. So, I guess my message to you today is not to get bogged down in the routine of everyday life. Everything you do leads somewhere and it’s the somewhere that we need to focus on… And just as importantly, make sure you have some fun along the way – those 5:00pm lockdown sessions on our deck were a shared relief with some neighbours and a lot of complete strangers but it left everyone smiling. 

It seems like a lifetime ago but at the same time these last 12 months have been the shortest months of my life.

Who would have picked it?

Heres a photo of Mum & Dad on the deck in the pouring rain - nothing would stop them from the 5pm lockdown dance party! It's possibly one of my favourite snippets ever - whenever I see it I nearly shed a tear... the neighbours out there dancing along in rain or shine. As I said, these are the little moments you will always remember. 

Thanks for reading, see you soon! 

Always remember to Be Kind,

Stella x

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