How does "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" make you feel? As a person who often partakes in retail therapy, I salivate all year long, mentally justifying a barrage of excuses to justify purchasing stuff I want but don't really need. "Yeah, no. Imma wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday to treat myself to that, since I'm not in a rush," I tell myself. Sometimes I do get that one big thing, sometimes I don't, but it's the idea of it that's like a sport to me, 363 days out of the year. But this year, I say, "Goodbye, Cyber Monday--Hello Black Cyber November!" Yup, a month-long cyber sale for JanetJewelry, and here's why:
Those 2 days are golden for large retail companies to buy + sell a lot of merchandise before the year's end, but what does "Cyber Monday" look like to a one-woman, "made to order" small online craft business? It's great in theory (ie, "Everyone loves a good sale, and when it's just one day, right after a big get together like Thanksgiving, it feels even more special because you're already in the mood to be generous to your loved ones, with the promise of "one day only," giving it a sense of urgency to boot!"), but since I make things to order to make it "just so" for the wearer, in reality, waiting until the very end of November to have a "Cyber Monday Sale," just to be in sync with other retailers, doesn't allow me the time to give all my work the attention and love that I like to give it. Cyber Monday is Nov 28 this year, and since I work according to my kids' school schedule, that gives me only 8 days of cranking out holiday orders before I have to close up shop so that I can plan my vacation with the kids, pack, do my own holiday shopping, etc. I'm trying to get out of the habit of procrastinating, but that's what I'm forced to do, if I go along with Cyber Monday.
I've often gone against the grain in many ways since I was a kid, not following the rules if it didn't make any sense to me, as long as I wasn't hurting anyone else. I still get in trouble for it; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't believe in entitlement for the most part, but I hold steadfast to the idea that we are all entitled to our own happiness, wherever we can find it.
This past year has been hard for me. I lost my grandmother last October, and due to COVID protocols, my family and I couldn't get our visas in time to see her before she passed away--the visa took 3 weeks to get to me here in NYC, with an additional week for my mom and sister in Hawaii. The idea that Obachan was all by herself at a hospital while in hospice care without us, still makes me cry. And then my cousin and his wife, who had wholeheartedly agreed to be my legal parents when I was little, if something had happened to my parents, they passed away in June, two weeks of each other, which is not surprising, since they were always together. I had just told them when I saw them in January, that I'd help them clean out their garage over the summer when I got back. "Why did I wait," I regretted. And then my dad went into hospice care soon after, and I flew home with my 2 kids in tow, the day after I got the call. We got to spend a few weeks with him, and he passed away this August, a week shy of his 95th birthday. I held his hand until his heart stopped beating. Unfathomable grief.
Years ago, I framed one of the last bday cards my grandma wrote to me because I loved what she wrote: しあわせ は自分で 作るものです。がんばって 下さい。明日はきっといいことあるよ。It translates to: "Happiness is something that you create for yourself. Please do your best. I'm sure good things will happen tomorrow." I keep it at my desk, right in front of me, at eye level. It's always right there to remind me, just like happiness can be, if only I keep my gratitude in check.
I write this not to fish for sympathy or pity, but because it's been on my mind all year, and I've only begun to decipher what that means to me, and what that might look like. Like so many others, especially as an Asian woman, I've spent so much of my life doing what I think I "should" or "ought" to do, but the reality is that I have the privilege of choosing what I "get" to do. My grandma was fearless, focused, gutsy, and ahead of her time. My dad grew up with immigrant farmer parents, lost everything when they were sent to the concentration camp at Manzanar, and yet when he got out, he didn't let that stop him and accomplished so many things during his life. They overcame obstacles so that the next generation didn't have to suffer and endure hardships like they did. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't take advantage of this incredible gift. I "get" to do so many things, including creating a dream job for myself. Making things by hand brings me infinite joy.
So for the first time ever, I say "Goodbye Cyber Monday--you don't bring me joy!" I'd much rather pace myself, so why not a whole month long, 20% off everything, including new items and fundraiser items(!), to allow clients to pace themselves, too, instead of waiting until the very last moment?
Hello Black Cyber November!