steve duross - craftsman. artisan. entrepreneur. musings on running and growing a small business

a season of giving

once again the holidays are upon us. our days and nights filled with making, wrapping and selling. one quarter of everything we've produced for the year (in the store) begins selling now. staying focused is a chore, especially with all the new additions to the mix. we encourage one another to eat well, sleep well and giddy up because frankly, this is the time of year that determines how next year will roll. in year's past i've written to family and friends about our need for space (and a lack of family drama) in december. demands from the outside world can make the interior effort even more challenging. however, challenges abound from within and without this year, and though drama is most often self created, new people and new ventures bring new benefits and a variety of new issues. i still pray for health and strength every day. with those two things we can handle almost anything.

learning to balance a personal life with the mountain of work is difficult for even the most seasoned veteran of retail holiday. some do it much better than others. though i am not allowed to speak for anyone else on this subject, i will observe that busy people often choose to give affection and attention to those people who are as equally invested in their own lives. so how does one make time for someone who has little or no time? we are all trying to figure it out.

growing up in my house we had a few worries. usually financial. though most of my basic needs were met, i was a child who wished for the best of everything. naturally i became acquainted with disappointment. i was what my sister referred to as a spoiled brat. over the years my inner brat has been tempered considerably, yet i have spent a fair portion of my adult life trying to indulge my whims. self motivated, i often ask myself what i want and how best to get it? effective in some areas but not always admirable in the more interpersonal areas of my life. finding balance is, for each of us, difficult in varying degrees. i try to be more generous. in spirit and in action. but it's not always easy to spot my motivation. take for instance some of my past relationships. i often  gave too much. too much of my time, my money, myself, my heart and (stupidly) my soul. was it generosity? or just the hope that if i gave enough i might receive enough love in return? perhaps a combination of both. we will never know. hopefully, i am closer to achieving a balance. so i begin to look around me and wonder what everyone else has to give and why? what is it that we must all discover for ourselves? and why does this question arise for so many each year around the holidays? the season of giving can be a generous moment if we choose. a moment to share our love, ourselves and whatever we hope will be cherished and enjoyed. the idea of giving of ourselves without expectation of the return. also the notion that i get to create something in our store that you might love. it's crazy, no? but there it is. why i do what i do.

at duross & langel, we strive for creating a special gift that people will love. we are graced with so many people who return year after year to add our endeavors to their list of gifts to be cherished. it is a bond we develop with the clients we have come to love so well, and it brings us a great deal of personal joy. the holidays also bring in new people. when new browsers or customers ask "what makes your stuff better?" the query is met a bit haltingly (some deeply pavlovian response hardwired into each us) but we attempt to inform our intention into the answer. though we put our heart and soul into everything we make, and i must add that we utilize the finest ingredients and formulations, we have no right to claim we are better than everyone else. our approach to the creation of the product is different. uniquely so. and hopefully this attitude is a little part of what makes us different. people will either love us or they will not. we do our level best. after that, there isn't much else we can do. it is the same with family, friends, partners, lovers and our lives in general. it varies very little. what, who and why we love is a three dimensional puzzle. i doubt if i'll ever figure it out. don't know if the answer really matters. the magic is in the loving. and love and kindness is all that is really required.