December 16, 2020
A brand-new Dartmouth Handcrafters’ Guild Board burst forth into 2020 brimming with hope, ideas, and enthusiasm. In January we began brainstorming and planning our vision for the Guild’s future, ready to carry on the legacy of the organization, and reach new milestones. Then suddenly we were interrupted by an unexpected obstacle. On March 15, three presumptive cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia. On March 22, a provincial state of emergency was declared. The world had suddenly altered.
Our March meeting was subsequently cancelled due to provincial measures introduced to limit the spread of the virus. We learned a new phrase, “social distancing”, a concept in opposition to our intention as event planners. When your goal to bring large groups of people together in one place is restricted – that is literally a show-stopper. Although we did not know what the future would bring, we pushed on, with hope.
We traversed a number of Board changes this year. Some resignations, some new members. We reshuffled, reorganized, and regrouped. As we were unable to hold in person meetings, we began holding our meetings online.
Constantly monitoring information from the province, we knew the rules could change at any time, thus we tried to plan for all possible outcomes, and investigate viable alternatives. We were not willing to simply give up.
In July we had to make the difficult decision to cancel our ‘Handmade for the Holidays’ craft show which was to be held in October at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth. Being realistic, but still ever hopeful, we immediately made the switch to pursue a different kind of show, one that could operate within the current restrictions, but still offer a valuable selling space for our members. Our plan was to produce a show in Dartmouth Crossing in 2 retail spaces, side by side, over 2-3 weekends. Determined to explore this opportunity to support our members in the run-up to the holidays, planning the alternative event proceeded in earnest.
Having secured the support of Dartmouth Crossing, identified appropriate retail spaces, a rental contract was prepared for us. Unfortunately, some obstacles materialized and after much effort ultimately the landlord was unable to present us with a contract to rent the space within a timeframe that would allow us to continue. We simply ran out of time to produce an event before Christmas, and had to cancel this show before it was even officially announced.
Having worked so hard to make this alternative event a reality, naturally we all felt the sting of disappointment. The year 2020 has been exceptionally challenging. We may not have been able to present a show for our members, but the Guild was not without accomplishments this year.
Some of the tasks we were able to complete are:
- We built a brand-new modern website.
- Developed communication strategies and standardized contact methods.
- Created new social media pages.
- We began branding with a new, fresh, creative, and professional logo and brand image.
- Created a legally compliant email database to keep in touch with our members and shoppers
- Employed various technology services to make arranging non-scheduled meetings easier, setting tasks, and keeping track of action items.
- Discussed and began planning new ideas for the Guild as we move forward, such as membership benefits and other ways we can serve our members.
- We moved to online banking and are now set up for e-transfers. This also reduced bank fees and other related office costs.
- Donated $2000 to the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre – Meals on Wheels.
So as the calendar page turns to a new year, let us advance with renewed determination. We leave 2020 the same way we entered it – with hope for the future.
Wishing you all a safe and happy new year,
Dartmouth Handcrafters’ Guild