Hi from Josh. I hope you're well.
It seems like all companies on the planet are writing letters to their customers to let them know what they're doing during all of this. But first, I think let's start this by asking:
How are YOU doing?
I think we can all agree, from all parts of the world, with all of our different ways of life, different political views, and so on...
That this really really really sucks and we hate this.
So, really, how are you doing?
The team of Zen Monkey Studios have been working remotely since January, actually. The fulfillment company we used to ship our items direct to you, well, ate up all of our revenue.
We realized we had to work remotely (for the time being) to save on office rent, or we'd be in trouble.
You get used to it, if you pace yourself.
As the boss, I gave everyone their morning todos on slack, and then would tell them "Updates in two hours!"
People would let me know when they went on their lunch break, so I wouldn't bother them for an hour.
If we needed to talk with our voices, we set up a discord channel just for the team.
I began to cook lunch for myself again. I would go for a walk to a coffee shop.
And here in Brooklyn, NY, I can sort of still do that, depending if the place is open for pick up or delivery only.
I keep my space, though some neighbors shove into the apartment's elevator, forgetting what's going on, and then after about 30 minutes, I'm back home, watching some youtube videos while I do some chores before going back to work.
We were able to still draw, and design, but production was halted in January. First because of the Lunar New Year celebrations, and then, well, the virus hit.
We've known what was happening, because it was really effecting us. We couldn't restock. We couldn't get new product to market. We couldn't fulfill wholesale orders.
It's been hard behind the scenes.
Sadly, we're currently at a skeleton crew, working on solutions to come back from this! Production has resumed, but now we can't get our product anywhere.
I feel... Hesitant, but confident, that by August/September, this company will be safe again.
We will likely be changing our mentality on how things work over here, is all. You know how they say not to put all your eggs in one basket!
Well, we didn't, but all our baskets, almost at the same time, broke anyway.
So I'll keep you updated through the newsletters (that will double as blog posts). If you want to unsubscribe, hey, that's perfectly okay! I unsubscribe to newsletters also.
But for those that stay, we'll let you know when things over here improve, but also, we'll work on building a community, to keep ourselves a little bit busier during all of this, and heck, even beyond.
Did you know when I was in high school and college I wrote and published comics online?
That I published a graphic novel anthology with dozens of artists and writers while in college? Some of those people are now way more famous than I will ever be, and we don't talk to each other for nearly 15 years? Heh.
Did you know I co-wrote and produced a Rock Opera with a Ska Band?
Did you know I actually finished writing a novel? That is now completely outdated?
That I worked at Rockstar Games and worked on Grand Theft Auto 4?
That I interned at a cartoon division of Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street?) when I was in college?
MY POINT IS, Now is the time to think, and share, with all of you, ways to stay sane, and ways to find happiness within ourselves!
Because, again, we can all agree on... This really really really really sucks, and we all hate this.
So here are some things I think you'd enjoy to do today.
1) Character per day drawings. If you want to draw, and you don't know what, let's all draw our own version of a cranky Squidward!
I don't know, his memes are coming to my mind lately during all of this, and he's a petty easy character to draw. I'll post what I do with him later today or tomorrow on social media.
2) I loved playing poker when I was younger. I still do, but I'm rusty these days. So while I work I sometimes watch poker streams on twitch.tv! Find someone who is good at a hobby or interest of yours, and get inspired!
3) Scream into a pillow.
4) My wife loves to cook. Have you seen basics with babish and other cooking videos teach you how to use stuff in your cupboard and still make delicious meals? Twitter is also supporting everyone how to bake different types of bread with the most basic ingredients.
5) I support everyone who needs to just relax. And I support everyone who feels antsy. So this is my suggestion. Don't force anything creative right now. If you feel like you want to write, it will come naturally. If you want to film something, again, naturally. If it feels like you're doing this because you want to stay active, and then don't know how to continue, either relax, or do something else. I did that in the early stages of starting this company, 9 years ago. See what works, and see what doesn't work. Trial and error.
I'm here to talk.
Be kind, and I'll do my best to reply! Be mean, and I'll be like, "Yo why?!?"
Talk to you all soon, unless you unsubscribe, which is again, perfectly okay. :)
All the best,
Owner of Zen Monkey Studios