2022: Year End Reflection
Our community never ceases to amaze us with your kind, ongoing support (thank you!). As a team that values transparency, we want to give you all an update on how the year ended. It’s no surprise that like many other small businesses, this past year was hard. We did our very best to navigate global economic uncertainty while feeling the effects of an ongoing pandemic. We showed up being our most patient, scrappy, honest self and in return, we were able to take these challenges head on and move forward.
By Sara Berks
I just re-read my end of year reflection notes for the past few years. Each of these notes express how challenging the year was, how we overcame so much, how confusing the times we live in are (which, they still are), and provide a peak behind the smoke and mirrors of running a business. I hate to be a broken record, but 2022 was really no different, and maybe even harder.
“They” always say that starting a business and growing a business are two totally different experiences and skill-sets. Starting a business is exciting, everything is unknown, everything is filled with possibility. Growing a business is a marathon, small problems compound to create bigger problems, days and months disappear, and the puzzle gets more and more complex.
2022 felt like a breaking point. By mid-year I hit a wall, a different kind of wall than the walls of exhaustion I’ve hit in the past. I realized what it really means to be burnt out – physically and emotionally. With support from MINNA’s team of advisors (Amy, Holly, Manpreet and Guillermo), I took two and a half weeks off because I needed to take care of myself so I could be a better leader for MINNA. Shortly thereafter, my Omi, MINNA’s namesake, passed away. Ilse Minna Loewenstein Herzfeld was 97 years old. I still think about her most days and wish I could call her to hear her tell one more story about her life.
Even though this year was challenging, MINNA grew in many ways. With all that is going on in the world, it can sometimes feel challenging to pause and reflect on the positive. Nevertheless, here are a few highlights from 2022:
- We raised our seed round of funding! Nine years into the business I realized that we need a cash infusion to propel us forward. Through a combination of a public equity raise, angel investors, and a Mexico-based Impact Fund, we completed a $1 million round and are ready for big steps next year.
- I brought on a business partner! Manpreet Kalra joined me as my business partner and our Chief of Impact & Communications. I can’t begin to tell you how much my life has changed with this partnership, only a few months in. Being able to collaborate and navigate the waters with someone, I’m starting to feel what it means to have a life/work balance.
- Our team expanded! This year we expanded our team across the board. We welcomed new members: George, Yael, Eimy, and Chelsea – creating opportunities for us to continue to grow as a company by bringing on team members to take on key roles throughout the business.
- We were recognized by B Corp and Fast Company! We are truly honored to share that MINNA was recognized as a Best for the World™ B Corp in Community impact this year and Fast Company wrote that we’re one of the Brands that Matter in retail.
With all that has happened this year (both the great and not so great), Manpreet and I can’t help but look forward to all that is to come. We are honored to be working alongside a team of brilliant, wonderful people who inspire us each day. A huge thank you to the MINNA team – Cate, Chelsea, Chrissy, Eimy, George, Sam, Yael, our extended network of artisan partners, advisors, and collaborators. We also want to thank YOU, the MINNA community, for supporting us along the way. As a small business, we cannot express how much we appreciate your words of encouragement and excitement. We are ready for whatever the universe throws at us in 2023, making things a little more beautiful along the way. Sending warmth for the new year!