Updated: Jan 11
Our family wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last to be affected by COVID19, but we are doing what we can to make the best out of it and help as many people as we can along the way. These are dreary times.
I am immuno-compromised, so I started self-isolation in early March last year. I had a job I was succeeding in despite the sudden change to working from home. My employer, who knew of my health condition well before 2019, requested I get a doctor’s note stating I was ”safe” to work from home though many others without notes or physical ailments were allowed to work from home doctor-note-free. My doctor had previously called me and told me I wasn’t to go anywhere including their office, and my employer knew this, it was unsafe for my health and wellbeing amidst a global pandemic to attain that doctor’s note. I suspect the business was negatively impacted by covid and decisions like this were required to be made.
Being a mother of 4 (two are teens and don’t let them fool you, the girls eat more than the boys), with a mortgage, and other bills, I was stressed. Thankfully, our household could survive without that income and we have been doing alright despite that loss.
Luckily, our continued success was due in part to the fact that we had already started the concept-to-reality phase of our business, Villain Esteem, PLLC. The ”P” before that “LLC” is to signify that our business is backed by a License. (MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC)
Getting Villain Esteem off the ground was fun and a great distraction from the impending depression I was already feeling from isolation and losing my job, even if it was an insignificant loss. It’s easy to want to help people out of the trenches you’re in with them. It is seemingly impossible to avoid the issues you’re facing as you help guide and teach people through their own.
Bear with me here, because I don't like bragging, but you also need to know to get the whole picture.
Since launching Villain Esteem in August of 2020, we have become micro-influencers and have steadily increased our followership on every media platform we are present on, even the platforms we merely maintain without efforts of growth. In search of books for our book club (offered in tiers of the boxes), we have been invited to write reviews and will be doing that as a paid and public service, which will have a great impact on our influence as well.
A buzz has started about the Mental Health Counselor who did the different thing and went out to show the world the dark spots of us are important too. That the Villain part of our Self-Esteem is a piece of the pie that makes us whole. By accepting all of yourself, you’re freed up to accept your strengths and weaknesses of not only in your competencies, but also your flaws. We are dark, we curse in our blogs and our podcasts because really, who doesn’t? Besides, this is supposed to be real. Because we keep it real, we talk about the hard things. We like weird. Our daughter is biting into an orange in the picture above, I wish I had been ready for those shots. Not talking about the dark side of the moon doesn’t make the moon one-sided. Not talking about Mental Health doesn’t change the fact that it affects most humans, not just girly people. We deeply encourage you to take some time browsing our content so you can get to know the real us. We pour ourselves into this.
We love the impact our social media reach is having on people. We have even been told when VE posts, it’s like getting an unexpected text from an old friend. People are isolated and lonely, and they need texts from old friends that hit home now more than ever. We want to expand the impact we are having by putting real-life applicable Mental Health Resources in people’s hands.
It’s our Mission to provide relatable and reliable information that demystifies mental health, reduces the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and increases the accessibility to mental health resources.
These boxes align perfectly with what we set out to do. They are the first shoe that fits the footprint we want to leave on the world. Many of the resources curated for this project take the scientifically-proven techniques, add the Villain Esteem Flair, and bam, almost like magic, it's relatable and usable.
Initially, we had set out to find a mental health subscription box to subscribe to. We take it quite seriously around here, and we do enjoy subscription boxes as we have subscribed to several in different industries over the years. We were underwhelmed by our options. While some counselors out there had provided boxes with a resource or two, the products were ALL bath bombs and candles. Those are amazing products for self-care, but they’re obvious, why did I need a sub box for that? We got worked up about it because all of our options were so...basic. No one except girly-girls would want them...we aren’t that, and we are a lesbian couple. If a lesbian couple who is actively seeking Mental Health sub boxes hates their options, how many more people could we reach with these resources if we are simply inclusive.
Future fulfillment has been pre-budgeted into the boxes to ensure we won't grow out of our britches.
We have paired with small businesses around the country to provide products to apply a tangible object, activity, or connection to the Mental Health Resources we provide. We ask businesses to also provide a half-page pamphlet telling the subscriber what they are all about, how to reorder, and how to send gifts.
We want to help our subscribers, and providing them with tangible objects to practice the lessons they're learning certainly does that, but a big portion of what we wish to accomplish is helping small business owners who wouldn’t normally have this kind of opportunity. While trying to pay it back, we want to be sure to pay it forward. Not only do consumers get to try often-handmade products, they learn a lesson that improves their lives, and they also are provided with an easy way to support small business owners supporting the entirety of the small business community.
We have paired with Latah Books, a local publisher who has the same views and desires for the world and is providing us with books that may become part of the Book Club associated with the top two tiers of the SubBoxes.
The VE Team firmly believes this will be life, and industry-changing, and in a best-case scenario, may even become a new way of doing things, changing the script on Capitalism as we know it. Do you want to be part of Living History in a way that makes a difference? To answer an obvious question, we did look at Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Facebook Fundraisers, while we may decide to run with one of those, their fees are excessive, and we would like to start by getting the word out there without shelling out huge payoffs to fundraising platforms. Help by spreading the word below!
Risks and challenges
A buzz has started about the Mental Health Counselor who did different thing and went out to show the world the dark spots of us are important too. That the delayed shipments, and damaged or lost product.
People might hate this shit. I find this implausible based on the number of Merchants who are excited, but it is a risk, and I value transparency.
We have a good amount of Merchants interested and ready to send products, but it is possible there won't be enough. Funding to advertise will help with this worry.