To our dear Grace Collective community...
Today, we’ve made the decision to put all of your payments on hold for three months. You won’t be charged until July 1 (and if you’re an annual member, your subscription will be extended for three months). If you are charged or have issues logging in, please email me.
I’ve wanted to write to you guys for the past couple of weeks, but to be honest, I haven’t really known what to say. Do I pretend that everything is ok? Or do I tell you how hard it has really been? That I’ve felt hopeless, depressed and anxious? Do I tell you that we lost every big advertising campaign we were working on in less than a week? While our subscriptions are an incredibly important revenue stream for us – and the reason we began our membership platform was so we wouldn’t be so reliant on advertising and we could focus more on the content you love to read – our advertising partners still play a huge part in keeping this business alive. We genuinely love all the partners we work with and just like our members, are so grateful to the brands that support us.
The reason for putting your membership payments on hold is because I know that like me, you’re probably under financial pressure right now. Your job might be uncertain. Your partner’s job might be uncertain (my husband works in events and this is an unbelievable stressful time). It’s a time to pull back on spending and I want to thank you for supporting us and what we do. I say it all the time, but The Grace Tales wouldn’t be around if you guys didn’t support us, so thank you. As a small business, your support means more now than ever before. I hope that in three month’s time, we will all be in a better place.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I’ve had a terrible two weeks – in fact, the worst two weeks of my career. In a week, we not only lost a lot of advertising, but something big I was about to announce to you all fell through. It was something I’d been working on for a couple of years, and we were so close – I can’t tell you how close – so for it to fall through was honestly devastating. It left me wondering where we are going and what happens next. I’ve spent seven years working on this business and as an independent publisher, up against the big guys, it’s not easy. Yet, I’ve realised that every single one of us is feeling uncertain right now, and rather than panic, we need to try to sit calmly with this feeling. We need to breathe deeply and if that fails, drink wine. We can’t control what happens next, and it saddens me that so many people have lost loved ones, their jobs or their businesses.
To the small business owners out there or those who have been made redundant, know you’re not alone. I’ve heard from so many women from different industries who are having a tough time right now. Know that we will all come back from this and I know the lessons we learn will stay with us forever. I hope we move slower, that we spend less, that we value what we have more, that we finally appreciate the simplest things are the most valuable. I don’t think I’ve ever missed my girlfriends and what they bring to my life more. I’ll never take a hug or a kiss for granted.
This whole experience has taken me back to a period of my life that until COVID-19, was the most challenging I’d ever experienced. When I was 23 weeks pregnant with Lottie, I went into labour and was put on bed rest. My doctor’s orders were: stay in bed unless you’re showering, eating or going to the bathroom. I stayed in bed for just under three months. We moved in with my mother, step-dad and nan, as needed the help with Arabella, who was one at the time. I wasn’t able to get out of bed and care for her, which is rather difficult to explain to a one-year-old who just wants to play with mummy. I went on maternity leave early (at the time, I was the deputy editor of VOGUE). I felt lost, hopeless and depressed. Each day that passed I’d pray that it wouldn’t be the day I went into labour. Please hang on, little one. I knew that at 28 weeks, the baby had an 80% chance of survival. I quietly celebrated when I hit 28 weeks and then every week that followed was a blessing. Each day felt uncertain and I had no idea what the future held. I spent many days in bed feeling utterly hopeless and it really felt like this period of my life was going to go on forever. When I hit 33 weeks, I went into labour and Lottie was born. Suddenly, I was out of that dark cloud (and onto a new one: a premature baby, sleep deprivation). It’s easy to be positive when you know everything is going to be ok, but at the time, I didn’t know that Lottie was going to be ok and the not knowing was the crippling part. What I do know is that I got through that dark period of my life.
I am taking it one day at a time. I don’t know when the media industry will start to repair itself again, which means I don’t know what our future holds. What I do know is that I am incredibly dedicated to this platform and determined that we will get through this. For our loyal readers, I know The Grace Tales brings a spark of happiness to your life, and it’s this that keeps me inspired. It’s a place where motherhood is celebrated and a platform where mothers can share their stories and have a voice.
As someone who enjoys being busy, I’m finding ‘slowing down’ hard. It’s especially hard to relax when you’re stressed out of your brain about the future of your business. But this week has been different, I’m surrendering more to this new way of living and I’m thinking of how we can change the business when we come out the other side. I’m also very conscious of how privileged we all are to be able to self-isolate because there are billions of people in the world who can’t. Spending time at home with our children, with clean running water and food to eat, is a privilege. Our children will test us but know that one day soon, we will be back to rushing off to an office, to the school gate, to afterschool activities and this slowness won’t exist. This period of slowness is a gift, so let’s take it and appreciate it.
More than anything, I’d love you guys to tell me what you want to see more of. A podcast? Video interviews? Online courses? If you have the time, I’d love to hear from you so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for your support and let’s all come together and sit with the uncertainty, and know that it won’t be forever. One day at a time, right?
Love Georgie xx