A Letter From Our Founder, Janelle

 


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so much of the future was up in the air. This included the future of Lotus and Luna stateside and the livelihood of out artisans in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  In an effort to keep our communities and loved ones safe, and contribute to the urgent need of PPE for Americans, we decided to repurpose our resources and create masks.  We also wanted to give back to our communities and loved ones, which became our “One for One” donation program. 


We never would have expected the kind of impact this decision made, nor the wild ride that was to follow.


We sat down with our founder and CEO, Janelle Sisting, and asked her to reflect on how our brand has evolved throughout the pandemic.


LOTUS AND LUNA- How did you come to produce and sell face masks?


It all started with the Artisans in Thailand. In February our artisans in Thailand warned us about coronavirus and saw the impact in Asia. Our artisans were worried that it could spread to the USA and sent us 100 face masks to give out to our office, family, and customers for protection.


Little did we know, this was the first step towards producing face masks and saving our business.


Fast forward a few weeks to mid March . . . 


The pandemic hit in the USA. I did everything I could to keep my team employed and pay our expenses, but the numbers just didn’t add up. We had orders cancelling, a surplus of summer inventory, and retail partners who couldn’t pay their bills. Our main products were pants, headbands, kimonos, and jewelry, which we couldn’t sell-so we had a lot of extra raw materials- fabric, elastic, and beads. 


At the end of March, we made the very hard decision to furlough 75% of our staff. I still remember hearing tears over the phone as I told each employee they no longer had hours and needed to file for unemployment.  This was one of the hardest weeks of my life.


That following Saturday night, we assigned our artisans the task of creating a face mask sample using the excess materials they already had on hand; fabric and elastic from our apparel and hair accessories. I remember sitting in my living room at 3AM on a video chat with them thinking, “wow, has it really come to this?” Well, yes it had. 


A few days later, the samples arrived in San Diego. We took some iPhone images of them, and put them up for sale online.


A few days later, we had sales we could’ve only dreamed about weeks before. 


This led to months of chaos as we immediately rehired our team (furlough lasted 3 days) and worked around the clock to ship online orders. Our office was open 7 days a week, from 7am to 12am each night to comply with regulations while shipping as many orders as we could. We hired a customer service team, moved offices and well, to be frank, ran around like chickens with our heads cut off the entire summer. 


We also did as much good as we could to help others. We haven’t had the time to share all of this with you yet, because our priority has been action, but the core of Lotus and Luna has always been giving back. In the past 6 months, we have sponsored food lines in Thailand, emergency survival bags for the poor, donated food, money and supplies to a school for the blind, and donated 175,000 face masks to 200 + organizations in the USA. We wanted to help protect the most vulnerable and share our resources with others. 


How did you find the time and resources to also donate 175,000 masks to organizations around the country?


The soul of Lotus and Luna is giving back. As a new producer of masks that were suddenly needed for all Americans, we wanted to do everything we could to help as many people as possible. We decided that for every mask sold, we would donate a mask. We called local organizations and received lots of inquiries through our website. So far we have donated over 175,000 masks to schools, hospitals, police departments, churches, restaurants- 200+ organizations in the United States. This has been quite an impact on our small office! 


How has the pandemic affected the team in Thailand?


Luckily, the demand for our new masks meant that we needed to actually hire more Lotus and Luna artisans to keep up! This was a very positive thing for so many of their friends and families who were left unemployed, due to the shut down of tourism. 


However, tens of thousands of Thai people were not so lucky. The Thai people do not have the benefit of stimulus checks and loans from the government. The nation’s efforts to help its people came in the form of food donations.  Each day the government gave out hot meals to hundreds of citizens who line up for their share.  But every night the food runs out well before the whole line has been served. Over the past six months, Lotus and Luna has been sponsoring our own food donations in Chiang Mai in hopes of helping the people left empty handed.


In addition to the food donations, we provided many Thai people in rural areas with “Survival bags” that included essential items they could not afford such as hygienic products, food, and even cash. We made multiple donations to local orphanages and special needs schools, including a school for blind children.


Do you have any final thoughts to share with your customers?


YES! We haven’t had the time to share all of this with you until now, because our priority has been taking action, but each of you is part of this story. Your incredible impact is being felt around the world! As a company, we believe that by helping each other, we can make the world a better place. Thank you all so much for being part of it! 

September 15, 2020 by janelle sisting

Giving Back To Communities in Thailand: Northern Relief Center

One of the best parts about working at Lotus and Luna is our culture of giving back.
This culture of philanthropy is alive each day in our office, and also spreads overseas to our artisan’s villages in Thailand! 
 
Lotus and Luna artisans are provided with consistent employment and fair-trade wages for the amazing work they do for us. One of our favorite things about the Thai culture is that once they have enough to sustain themselves, they are inspired to pay it forward. They began to notice that much of their community was not as fortunate. When our artisans approached us about helping the Northern Relief Center, a school for blind and disabled children, it wasn’t even a question of if we would help, it was how.
 
 
Our head clothing artisan, Watini, our operations manager, Debbie, and their husbands were on site at the lunch, serving food to the children and staff. Their dedication to their community is one of the most inspiring parts of working with our artisans. They’ve inspired us to want to give back to our community on a more personal level as well!
 
 
 
If you know of any organizations in the San Diego area looking for volunteers to give their time, please let us know at customerservice@lotusandluna.com!
 
Thank you for reading our blog! Use code RELIEFCENTER for 15% off your next purchase!
September 02, 2020 by Arianna Silvestri
DIY 2020 Vision Board

DIY 2020 Vision Board!

The New Year is the perfect chance to start all of those goals we've been procrastinating on. We all know it's so hard to stick it though! Creating a vision board is a great way to keep your goals at the forefront of your life. You can look upon it every day and get inspired! Let's do this babes! 
December 31, 2019 by Micaela Ideker
White Fright Cake this Spooky Season

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October is here which means it is officially the start of Halloween!

Try out white fright cake this spooky season. White fright cake simply takes 45 minutes plus cooling. Not only that, it serves around 12-15 people so bringing it to a gathering is perfect! Here’s how...

October 25, 2019 by Micaela Ideker
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The Magic of Lunar Tea

Sunlight helps lighten our mood so much that the lack of it can actually cause a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Since the light of the Moon is reflective of Sun, the subtle glow of the moon can be just as valuable to us as the sunlight. Just as we create tea which the help of sunlight, we can also make tea with the help of moonlight.

 

A lunar infusion is simply an herbal tea, left to brew during the night under the soft moonlight. Lunar infusions make for an enchanting and fun full moon ritual. Sip in the morning to fill your body with Lunar Magic! Here’s how...

August 14, 2019 by Christina Freberg

Meet our French Intern, Quentin!

For the past 2 months we’ve had the pleasure to work with our amazing French intern Quentin! Quentin was born and raised in Chartres, France and is now pursuing a business education in Cambrai, France. He travelled over 5,500 miles to America specifically to work with Lotus and Luna as our new customer prospecting intern. Each day Quentin rode the company bike 2 miles to and from work. In his time here, he worked on improving his english,  perfecting his sales strategies, and expanding his overall business knowledge. Most importantly, Quentin is leaving us with a new found love for Mexican food and Kombucha (the “gross” drink Janelle introduced to him on his first day)! 
We sat down with Quentin over his favorite meal, a carne asada burrito, to ask him some questions about his experience in America while working with Lotus and Luna. 
August 07, 2019 by Christina Freberg

Lava Stone

We love Lava Stone here at Lotus and Luna! Not only is it a gorgeous gift from Mother Earth, but it's also a powerful healing tool and can even be a portable essential oil diffuser everywhere you go! Its healing properties have a deep-rooted history, just like the stone itself, coming from the depths of the Earth.
                                                                                                                                       
Lava Stone is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, forming when the gasses in magma start to solidify and harden into rock under intense heat and pressure. And because it comes from raw energy, it’s considered to be the stone of rebirth and renewal helping those who wear it shed unnecessary emotions and unhealthy attachments. It is most famous for the powerful grounding and calming properties that can guide us through change with strength and clarity. Lava Stone has your back through it all! 
 
July 24, 2019 by Micaela Ideker

Jade: A Powerful Beauty

The vibrant stone Jade has been a very special stone to Asian cultures for thousands of years, in art, jewelry, religious practices and ceremonial life. It has long been believed that Jade attracts good luck, brings balance to the Heart Chakra, and increases prosperity. What a powerful little stone! It is also a protective stone, often used by travelers to keep them safe from harm. Take a Jade bracelet with you on all of your wanderlust journeys!
February 27, 2019 by Alexandra Stroh

Achieve your New Year’s Resolutions with Style!

There’s always time for self-improvement, but a New Year is all the more motivating and full of opportunities! It’s your time to take action and achieve the goals you set out to do. Our natural energy stones can help you out on your journey to success! If your resolutions are anything like ours, here’s some tips and healing stones that will help make yours goals happen!
January 18, 2019 by Alexandra Stroh
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Who doesn’t enjoy fudge? A fun way to build your holiday spirit this time of year is to take a little time to bake something delicious. This recipe for peppermint fudge is simple, festive, and tasty.
December 12, 2018 by Alexandra Stroh

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