Let me first start this letter by apologizing for my awkward picture, but I’ve never been the one who likes to be photographed, as you can see from my awful stance here. Not that I haven’t tried, it’s just that it’s not me. My whole body gets these weird shivers, as if I get an allergic reaction to the camera, my eyes are almost always shut, my hands seriously don’t know what to do with themselves and my mouth gets this super awkward curve, that resembles a serial killer’s smile. I swear it’s not me, it’s probably just a way of my body telling me that it doesn’t want to be photographed. However, people connect to people, or so I’ve been told, so I decided this year to try and pose for you wonderful women out there, who has given me so much without even knowing me. You deserve at least that. So there you have it, a picture of the girl who is behind this brand, followed by a few words of gratitude to all of you Bastet Noir’s customers, my family, friends and the women who have supported me throughout this journey. So keep on reading, as my wise ass is trying to share the wisdom I’ve gathered this year.
Few years ago, when this entrepreneurial quest of mine began I had a big vision of growing Bastet Noir into a multi million dollar global brand with headquarters in London, LA and New York. I know, I know, I’m not the humble type, but to be honest, I’ve never been that type anyways, I just recently learnt how not to apologize for it. This year, although the vision’s still there, I no longer yearn for it, because what I have finally realized, after all these years of hustling was that you can’t rush things. This is not how things work. Overnight success is never overnight, but a gruesome process which takes many painful years and many lessons learnt along the way to finally get your “lucky break”. Giving up control and finally understanding that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen was the most difficult obstacle to overcome this year. But by giving that up, I became fully aware of the fact that patience is a virtue and understood that wisdom comes with years of hardships. To avoid sounding like a martyr, what I am trying to say is that because of the things that have happened this year, my perception of success has drastically changed. I no longer define it through money, but rather through purpose. And that purpose dudettes, came to me when we started working closely with women single parents and women micro entrepreneurs. Growing a sustainable business while creating resilient livelihoods and building a community around support and equality is far more worthwhile than creating a soulless monster of a company. So, somehow along the way this vision of achieving greatness switched to building a label with a meaning, an environmentally mindful brand built by women for women.
And so one woman at a time, this year, we started making a change to how Bastet Noir operates by keeping the production locally and partnering up with more women micro entrepreneurs, giving them a fair income and supporting them while they’re building their micro businesses from the grounds up. This has led us to many opportunities outside of the boundaries of our country. At the beginning of the year, we’ve signed a deal to license our products in Asia, which hopefully we can tell you more about by the end of next year. We got into the first round for Dream Assembly accelerator program, facilitated by Farfetch and got an interview with them. Even though we ended up not being accepted in the second round, it was hell of a learning experience, so we’re hoping to reapply next year, so hold your fingers crossed. Throughout the year we got an amazing opportunity to tell the stories of 16 incredible women for the Cool Faces of Bastet Noir series, women who supported us selflessly, offering us their time and entrusting us with the responsibility to tell their stories, including the digital fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Kerry Pieri, the beauty editor of Buzfeed, Essence Gant and the co-founder of the Billion Dollar Fund for Women, Sarah Chen. Ain’t that something? We also got an amazing review by Hannah Louise Poston, a Youtuber, to whom honestly we’re extremely thankful for, as we couldn't ask for a better review.
But the busiest period for us were the last few months, because we started experimenting with another selling channel which was rental. We started collaborating with a platform called Fjong and made our items available for renting all across Norway and next year, as the platform expands, hopefully we’ll be renting the items in Sweden as well, at which we say Scandinavia here we come.😊 And last, but not least we’ve been overwhelmed with requests coming from Macedonian customers who wanted to see and try on our items IRL, so we decided to make few samples and display them at Rumor Shop for the following four months, where you can get the feel of the materials used and the craftsmanship put behind the production of our pieces.
All of these events, led me to feeling so humble, grateful and thankful for every opportunity I’ve been given this year. They also made me realize that, although it’s impossible to stay calm in a world that keeps on moving so frantically, it’s important to take time for yourself to breathe and reflect and find a pace that works for you. The parameters of success should never be dictated by someone else other than you. By taking a step back, I jumped three ahead, which led me to start thinking how lucky I really am, to have been born in a loving family who has been nothing but extremely supportive of every single step I take, especially my sister without whom Bastet Noir wouldn’t even exist. She keeps on investing and believing in me, even when the going gets tough. How I deserved this support, beats me but she keeps on giving it regardlessly, so thank you my baby sister. I promise not to squander it and make you proud. Once I understood that this is actually the most important element in life, I realized that even though it might not have been the success I have envisioned before, in some weird way it was exactly the success I’ve been chasing for all of this time.
Love with all my heart,