Each year in early January, after some good time with our families and friends, we sit together and discuss our goals and priorities for the new year. This planning session was originally intended as a look forward, but somehow, always ends up starting as a look back. Our first thoughts are always how grateful we are to still be in the game, if we’re honest. When we opened Kindred Black in 2015 someone told us that if you can make it through one year with the shirt still on your back, that’s a huge milestone and an indicator that what you’ve unleashed into the world can be a long term success. The January after our first full year we felt relief and joy to have achieved that benchmark, but what we didn’t know then was that every January would feel that way, that we would never sit back and take a year of our business for granted. So, as is our tradition, with jubilation and excitement (and not a little relief) we move forward into 2023 and begin to assess where we’re at and where we’re going.
As is usually the case, that assessment begins with asking ourselves the important questions – are we still reliably for the environment with everything that we do? Do we contribute to the goodness of the world? Do we conduct ourselves kindly, fairly, and with the health and safety of other people in mind? Have we changed the way we operate to benefit ourselves but in a way that might contribute negatively to the planet? And being human, though there were missteps and mistakes last year, things we got wrong and wish we could change, we can say that our value core remains the same. We’re proud that our small staff are the same people that have worked with us for most of the years we’ve been in operation, and some of those people are family. We work with the same artisan glass makers that we’ve been working with for years – we plan for you to meet some of them in 2023. Our ingredients remain high quality, pure, and safe for your skin and our beauty line remains true to our mission and plastic-free. From the first page of our business plan, finalized August of 2015 – we started this business because we were “looking for alternatives to a dangerously unsustainable throw-away culture." And this is still very much at the core of what we believe and work toward every day.
This year we also have some exciting changes in store. We’ve been working with an incredible design duo to create beautiful packaging that aligns with the quality of our product and our environmental ideals. We’re producing with a wonderful company that cares as much about the environment as we do and while we concentrate on what’s healthy for your skin, they’re concentrating on packaging that skincare in something healthy for the earth. Most importantly, a huge component of this new program will finally be refills for most of our bottles, ending our tremendous frustration with last year’s delay on such an important part of an eco-focused line.
Another tradition of this new year ritual – reminding ourselves that we couldn’t do this without your support. It was so fantastic to meet some of you at the NYC pop-up. People whose names we’ve known and who we’ve written notes to for years, suddenly had faces and stories and feedback! It was the best part of opening that space. That business plan that we put together in 2015 listed ideals and goals for us to achieve with Kindred Black but those were hypotheticals, ideas put forth in a vacuum of hope. At that stage, we couldn’t conceive of an order coming through, much less the incredible community that began to rally around this small business in that year and in all of the years since. We can’t thank you enough for making this little paper dream a reality for us.
––Alice and Jen