When Yours Rurally launched in February 2020 it was intended to be a side hustle, passion project, a small way to propel my values into action, and a way to engage in rural-related advocacy. Two weeks after launch, the U.S. announced its first COVID-19 death. The state of New York saw its first COVID-19 case on March 1st and by March 27th, the eight weddings and one Berkshires Farm Dinner that Yours Rurally was in contract to service via guests gifting were canceled. I was preparing to table the side hustle and to focus on my full-time job and on homeschooling my toddler who was no longer in daycare. But eventually, and fortunately, decided to pivot (2020 word of the year) along with thousands of other small-business owners throughout the country. By July, the focus remained on marketing Yours Rurally gift boxes to individual gifters like you and shifted from marketing to the brides and grooms to corporate decision-makers. The value in this shift was the opportunities to speak from my soapbox about spending power being political power and how corporations and organizations could choose to be impactful with their spending by gifting employees and clients in a thoughtful and beautiful way while supporting rurally based entrepreneurs, businesses and brands.
Given the collective and impossible circumstances of 2020, the year turned out to be comparably good for Yours Rurally, revenue wise. Most importantly, however, was the stillness, quiet, and intentionality that the year provided. Life became more challenging for sure but 2020 presented an abundance around accessibility. Everyone suddenly seemed more accessible and for me, that resulted in hours-long conversations, deeper understandings, and stronger relationships with Yours Rurally vendors and other rurally situated entrepreneurs throughout the country. We discussed economic challenges, wins, struggles, the Black Lives Matter movement, politics, policy, social justice, and swapped small-town stories.
By late August, the thought that kept running through my mind was "how can Yours Rurally evolve into being less of a passion project and more of an impact-driven entity?"
By late September, I was putting pen to paper - drafting a business plan. And having tons of conversations with smart folks who were willing to share advice, insight, and guidance. Tomorrow, Thursday, February 11th, one year and one week after the launch of Yours Rurally, we will announce and open the doors to a new, national organization. This is not the end for Yours Rurally. The beautiful gift boxes will continue to exist and additional offerings will come online this spring. Yours Rurally will largely be the same but will now have a home. Will share more details tomorrow. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting and cheering on this mission-driven side hustle of mine. Your purchases, your referrals, and word-of-mouth marketing on behalf of Yours Rurally has been beyond the best. I am grateful and I hope that you will consider following along this new journey with me, with us.
Thank you again. More information to follow. Yours Rurally, Sherri