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2020 in review

With the dawning of the last day in 2020 I have succumbed to the tradition of doing a review of what this year has contained. Foremost in my mind was of course Covid. As a nurse I was designated as fit to work through the level 4 shut down. Here in New Zealand this meant being one of the few on the roads travelling to and from work, with a written authority to show if stopped by police. As a psychiatric nurse working in the emergency service it also meant seeing people who were struggling with lockdown etc. For me personally it also meant coming face to face with two separate “close contacts” to active Covid cases. Good hygiene saved the day and I was able to work through both the level 4 and 3 lockdowns. By the time we had devolved to level 1 it was time to retire.

As an active relaxer thoughts then turned to what to do next. Certainly there was work to do around the house and garden but there was a desire for more, perhaps more intense mental stimulation. So like the phoenix rising from the ashes, my old ecommerce site was resurrected, rebranded and re-launched. The rebranding was a personal preference – I wanted something less grand and sterile than the original (it suited that time in my life then perhaps) and so struck on Auld Curiosities – recognising my Scottish birthright and the fascination which develops as I try to find the history and story of each item. Buying items for the store, face to face, allows me to quiz the seller and glean knowledge there, but of course some items come through third party opportunities, so Google and a myriad of books are utilised. At the point of launching Auld Curiosities I had to recognise that I was one of many who were delving into ecommerce – in numbers such as had never been seen before. With that in mind I set a sales goal for the 6 months to the end of the year, which I felt would be moderate and reasonable. AS it transpired I was fortunate, very fortunate to exceed that goal with sales which sit between two and three times that initial goal total.

Like everybody selling, through ecommerce or face to face, the aim is to convert goods into revenue – but I consider that I am fortunate to deal in individual items, not 20 of the same thing etc. So as an item sells I move forward, looking to list another item that may stimulate interest, mine initially and then you the viewer hopefully as well. Sitting alongside that desire for stimulation is an equally strong belief that selling these items is a pure form of recycling. Items that have stood the rigors of use for decades and remains in good condition with the promise of decades more service have close to a zero carbon footprint compared to new goods that are mass produced with little to no craftsmanship and quality control. So yes, I am in my happy place, enjoying what I do and rising to each challenge. Can things be better – of course, but not through wealth or status, more important is the knowledge that what this website does is having a good impact on others. There are stalwarts who have joined the site and who send much pleasure in there communications but it would be great to have still more feedback so that the site can continue to move forward.

New Zealand proudly talks of how we, as a “team of 5 million” went “hard and went early” in combating Covid 19. We have enjoyed the benefits of an island nation with borders that can be closely monitored. Our mandatory isolation policy for travelers entering the country has contained infection to closed systems and there has been no recognised community transmission for 6 weeks and that was a minor disruption quickly contained. It would be lovely to think that the stroke of midnight tonight would see the end of Covid but the reality is very different. While we can enjoy our freedoms here in New Zealand at the moment, the rise of even more virulent strains of Covid overseas show that the risk remains high and really just as active as early this year. What Auld Curiosities can do is to assure any potential customers that our items are cleaned and maintained in as sterile an environment as possible and packaged after being cleaned to

risk of the virus being transmitted.

Of course none of this new venture would have been possible without the support of family (perhaps driven by a desire to see the accumulated products being whittled down and less space being used for their storage lol). But seriously I want to acknowledge that I am aware that I am blessed by having a good family and a few very dear friends. Their support refreshes me and energises the body and mind, creating a fertile ground for new ideas to be nurtured. Some 2020 had its challenges and 2021 remains an unknown quantity. There is no mystical power attached to a change from one year to another but I personally think it is a reference point that we use to face the historic good and bad of the previous year, take a deep breath and step forward hoping for better – and there is absolutely no better way to approach the future.

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