We’ve all heard the story about the tortoise and the hare. The hare being the overconfident and complacent fast runner and the tortoise slowly, surely, thoughtfully beating him at the race. It’s a storyline that repeats itself throughout the fabric of our lives. We often hear about how our focus on quantity and instant gratification erodes the meaning in our lives and leaves us burnout and dissatisfied. And yet, over and over again we see this same scenario play out in different ways.
You might be mistaken for thinking this fashion article is some sort of life coaching blog but ultimately our choices speak volumes about us, including at the check out. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does give us a moment of pause to reflect on what, and how, we are consuming. This isn’t a push for anti-consumerism, because it definitely isn’t. It’s a push for thoughtful consumerism. Shopping is fun, fashion is fun and we want to keep it that way, but we can’t deny that shopping will look different into the future… Especially at Stella Phoenix.
2020 has been a year of… How can we accurately describe… What the actual bleep? That’s probably the most polite way we could sum up the pandemic that has swept the globe and changed life as we know it. People have heartbreakingly lost their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their sense of selves, and there have been many, many questions. While we are slowly adjusting to this new normal, we are also grieving what we have lost. Things that were never things have suddenly become things – for example, a recent one we’ve grappled with is, how do we conduct a photoshoot without being physically near each other – one that will survive a COVID-19 outbreak? A photoshoot might seem like a minor challenge to face, however without a photoshoot, we can’t get product to market. If we can’t get product to market, that has the potential to impact our team and their livelihoods. Very quickly something that we once took for granted as another step in the process becomes increasingly critical. Instead of lamenting about these challenges, we’ve instead seen the bright side – a chance to reimagine the way we do everything.
We’ve heard stories and read articles about the collapse of the fashion industry in the face of COVID-19 – and we’ve also started hearing about fashion brands evolving for survival. The funny thing about this is, the things that people commonly assumed were our weaknesses as a brand 12 months ago, have turned out to be our strengths. Someone once said to us, “you must release a new collection every 6 months.” There was something about this that didn’t land for us. Because rather than rush out more more more, we wanted to create less, but better. We wanted to honour the design process, invest in product development and create exceptional pieces that were right for our customers instead. “People will never wait for it. Customers want everything now, now, now. They’ll go somewhere else,” we were warned.
But, so far, the opposite has been true. While our customers love shopping and are wowed and excited by new things (and have also messaged us laughing about their “dress shopping withdrawals” which we L O V E), they have also demonstrated that they are prepared to wait for those breathtaking pieces. Because, there’s an old adage that time and time again proves to be true – things worth having are worth the time and commitment, the investment, the wait. It makes the prize that much sweeter, in so many more ways than one. After all, patience is about endurance.
But with less weddings, and holidays and events and going out during COVID-19, who would be in the market for sparkly, glamorous outfits?
A customer said to us recently, “amazing heirloom clothing is right up there with magical family holidays.” And in a climate where many around the globe aren’t able to enjoy their special pieces while on holiday, they’re instead creating magical moments at home. Moments that their little ones will always treasure, regardless of the isolation – because kids will Princess anywhere that takes their fancy regardless of the ‘rules.’ It’s that kind of live in the moment mentality that is rather profound in the current climate. What we wear affects our mood, our sense of identity, how we express ourselves in the world. Being at home doesn’t have to mean living in sloppy Joe’s. Comfort doesn’t have to negate style.
If we said we aren’t a little nervous about doing fashion differently, we would be lying. In fact, anyone trying anything new for the first time will reasonably feel the same. But, to be honest, that’s how we know we’re onto something big. Because if we weren’t nervous, we frankly wouldn’t be aiming high enough. And, all we can do is try our best while we roll out our new pre-order model: learn, test, adjust.
We’re forever grateful for our loyal customers and the way they value the process we go through to create those perfect, magical pieces for their little ones to enjoy, no matter what’s going on in the outside world. They are here for the unforgettable fashion, and what we stand for. Another customer said to us last week, “Stella Phoenix is more than a label.” It’s that kind of feedback that lights us up and reminds us that our mission is bigger than us. After all, we’re not here to sell you outfits. We’re here to help you find your perfect piece/s for your special moments. There’s a distinct difference.