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A summer note

A summer note

I have just arrived at my beloved summer house in Torekov. My happy place. Malte and I drove down yesterday with a fully packed car and packline, ready to settle down for a long summer here. We call it a summer house but we are actually here all year around; fall, Christmas, Easter and the whole summer. As much as we can. I spent my childhood summers here, have cousins and family here and my parents have their house here too. Lots of our closest friends have houses here and it’s a very social place. Sometimes too social for my liking but when I get social fatigue I just hide out in our house and read my books and magazines. I  getting better at saying no, both in my work life and personal life. Lucky I’m married to a social animal who says yes to everything and can happily go without me.

 I was here with my team just two weeks ago, shooting new products and lifestyle images and I can’t wait to show you the images. These kind of shoots takes months of planning and are quite exhausting but once on set, I absolutely love it. Even though it really is like moving house every day, so much back and forth and heavy lifting. The step count on these days is comparable to a day touristing in Paris. Anyway, lots of new colorways launching this fall!

This summer I will be taking my first real holiday in four years. I have delegated everything to my wonderful team and my plan is to check in on work as little as possible for as many weeks as possible. When I started this business four years ago, I luckily was oblivious to the amount of work that was going to be required of me. To be honest, the only thing I really knew how to do was design patterns. I had never manufactured anything, knew nothing about e-commerce, trade, sales and logistics. Not to mention Brexit that hit me six months in. During the first years as an entrepreneur you have to wear all the hats, you have to be involved in every part of the business in order to eventually turn over some of the tasks to someone else. Manufacturing, finding the right factories, import, logistics, packing order, filling out commercial invoices, tracking orders that have gone missing, handling customers, figuring out what a reasonable trade discount is, challenging old norms in the business, interviewing new staff, training new staff, planning photo shoots, finding craftspeople to work with, being a boss for the first time in your life, opening a shop, setting up an e-commerce site, atomization, integration between different business solutions, what CMR to use, what on earth is KPI etc. All of this was new to me and I had to learn it all myself, I had to know my business. But eventually you reach a point where you have to let go and just trust the process and people you work with in order to not burnout. It took some time to find the right people and put together a team, to learn what I wanted in an employee and what kind of culture I wanted to nourish. But now I can happily say that I have the best team of women I could ever wish for in Sara, Anna, Mia and Katarina. I don’t know what I would do without them. 

 I have learned so much in these four years. So much clarity and knowledge has come from the mistakes along the way. I have learned more about myself than I have during my whole adult life. I have learned what I want and what I don’t want. And what I learned the most is to not rush. That your body has limits and that stress is absolute poison to the body and can do so much harm. To trust that good things will come even if I say no and that no business opportunity is worth risking your health for. This past year has taken a toll on me and this is why this longer summer break is necessary. Thankfully I have my girls backing me up and I can fully relax these coming weeks, knowing that they run this business of ours perfectly well without me.

So what I am going to do with all my time? I have no idea and that is the best part. I have a few things planned though. Apart from spending my time with what I love best; family, books, long walks along the coast with my dog, friends, dinner parties, flea markets, gin sour and lots of music, Erik and I are going to Milano to see my favorite band Arcade Fire  play a reunion concert. The last time we saw them was on our second date in New York, 17 years ago.  Saying I am excited is an understatement.

Another thing I plan on making time for is “learning” my kids to have free, unsupervised play. It sounds absurd but the reality is that they need to learn how to spend their days off the phone. And since I am the one who gave them these chains in the first place, I need to be present and lead by example. Hopefully they will get the hang of it quickly.  My hope is that they will feel the freedom of real life and how magical it is. And I need to unplug and detach myself from my phone too. Did you know that the average person picks up their smartphone every 3 minutes? Most young people have around 6 hours screentime a day. Some kids spend as much as 9 hours a day on their phones.  I’ve started a WhatsApp group with our friends here, the aim is for us to have common ground and the same screentime rules for our kids this summer. I called the group “Zo long Zuckerberg”. Jokes aside, I am really concerned. Are we the last generation who knew how to be bored? What does this constant wave of notifications, information and spamming do to our children’s brains? What interests would my children have developed had they been bored? I know that at least one of my kids would have been a brilliant piano player and illustrator. He has the talent. But rarely does he sit down in between school, soccer training and gaming/smartphone usage. I want to help them cultivate real life. I want to change too! I am convinced our children will look back at their childhood and ask us why we didn’t set boundaries. And that’s scares the shit out of me. That our kids will feel that we failed them, threw them to the tech wolves because we didn’t have the energy and stamina to take the fight. The fight worth having. For them and for us.

Anyway, that’s my summer for you. Checking out now. I wish you all the best time with your dear ones. And PUT DOWN THAT BLOODY PHONE. Your brain and heart will thank you. 

xx Cathy