Emotionally, this year didn't start well for me. I had just suffered yet another devastating loss, with the passing of my cousin Thea Nerissa Barnes on December 28, 2018. Thea, was a major influence in my life who had inspired me in countless ways. In an attempt to keep her legacy alive, I decided to dedicate 2019 to her memory. I didn't fully know what that would look like, but whatever the case, I knew it would entail me working my butt off. I can honestly say that's what I did. I'm exhausted mentally and physically, but I'm extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish both personally and professionally with the company. So before we move to a new year and ultimately a new decade, I want to take a moment to reflect on my favorite highlights from 2019.
There are so many great moments to choose from, but I'll start with the transformation of our inventory. We offered a variety of unique wall decor made from natural sea grass, cow teeth and two that I designed myself that were made from snail shells and cowrie shells. The cowrie shell version was purchased for use on the set of Empire and was also featured along with the cow teeth version in fashion designer Ann Everett's fall runway show.
We also added several striking statement necklaces to the store. Our black feather and beaded necklace in particular, received a "top pick" award at Randolph Street Market's Designer's Choice for Charity event in September and has become one of our top sellers. Although it is currently sold out, it will be restocked in 2020. Speaking of awards, Global Attic received several awards for our merchandise from top interior designers and influencers in addition to being the recipient of the Build 2019, Home and Garden award for Most Exotic Home Interior Design - Chicago.
We also introduced the Jikoo collection in 2019. These healing stone and crystal bracelets are handmade by my twin sister Kamilah and me.
Kabria explains the introduction of the Jikoo bracelet collection.
Of course, travel played a pivotal role as I took a solo sourcing trip to Bali to discover new products. It was an incredible, life-altering trip. I also was honored to travel to London with Kamilah to represent our family at Thea's tribute concert. The concert was held at the Lyceum Theatre, where Lion King London performs and where Thea had spent 18 years working as the Resident Dance Supervisor for the production. Lion King London graciously covered the travel expenses of my sister and me and also paid for the printing of the full-color tribute booklet that I designed for the event. The tribute was attended by more than 860 people. I was both proud and moved beyond measure to experience the impact my cousin had on so many people during her career in dance. The event also marked the official launch of the Thea Barnes Legacy Fund, a fund designed to support members of the dance community. Please give a donation to help this fund continue to feed the arts.
It was definitely a year of "firsts" as I was fortunate to get airtime on TV, appearing on WGN's Around Town segment with Ana Belaval and we had many products featured in episodes of the FOX television show Empire. Other highlights of year included becoming a Chicago Fair Trade member, celebrating Global Attic's three-year anniversary and helping to coordinate a vendor event in Chicago's historic Beverly Hills neighborhood, where I grew up.
WGN News Around Town Feature
Speaking of growing up, Global Attic LLC grew in several key strategic areas in 2019. From inventory selection to the look and feel of our website, to the increased number of online customers and social media followers, to the consistent use of email marketing and product videos, we improved how we functioned and broadened our reach. It wasn't easy, but I am so very grateful for this journey that I find myself on. Additionally, I'm grateful that through the ups and downs, you continue to support Global Attic. None of this would be possible without your support.
MESSAGE FROM KABRIA
Thanking everyone for all of your support and looking forward to 2020.
In 2020, Global Attic will continue to utilize the things that worked well in 2019, while looking for ways that we can improve. My focus is and will continue to be on designing and sourcing one-of-a-kind, tribal-luxe statement decor. However, I am scouting new sourcing destinations for next year. Currently, a great deal of our products are being developed in Indonesia, but I'll be headed to Ghana in July. Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and a return trip to Kenya, might also make the short list. We'll see what happens...
We will also explore more collaborations or joint venture partnerships with brands or brand ambassadors/influencers and look to hire staff that will help us to grow. Content creation will continue to play a pivotal role in our growth strategies as I will be sharing more behind the scenes looks, styling videos and inspirational interior spaces in addition to posting higher-quality product photos to our social media platforms. Since giving back is important to me and therefore a permanent fixture of this company, I want to give more in 2020. There is such great need globally and with all of the changes and economic uncertainty nowadays, that need increases substantially. It may appear to be insurmountable, but I truly believe we can make a huge impact. With your purchases, Global Attic is able to help impoverished artisans support themselves and their communities. With your purchases, we are able to help preserve the tradition of handmade art. We are changing lives. Let's continue to work together to not only create beautiful spaces, but also a beautiful world...Happy New Year and I will see you in 2020!
Founder, Global Attic LLC