Homecoming Mums, Texas Football, and a Worldwide Pandemic!
What was mum season like for the members of Mums Inc?
This past homecoming season was by far one of the most challenging homecomings any mum maker has ever had to experience. COVID-19 struck the world ruthlessly and relentlessly. People's lives, jobs, and schools were greatly affected almost instantly. Some schools canceled their homecoming festivities altogether, some schools delayed their homecomings, and some schools remained in limbo trying to figure out if they could make it work during a pandemic. This led to a lot of last-minute events and it put mum makers in some very reactive situations.
Normally mum makers would require a minimum of at least 1-2 weeks in advance for any custom homecoming mums. Because of this pandemic, we didn't know if we should prepare for a flood of last-minute orders, or close down for the season due to the possible lack of orders. Although the thought of possibly closing down our shops for the season was very upsetting we understood the reasoning since the world was in chaos, literally. People were losing their lives, their jobs, and their income. It almost seemed wrong to consider mums or garters at all.
Schools started opening up in August and none of the schools were confirming any homecoming dates. It was clear they needed time to see how this pandemic would play out with a football season looming. This is Texas, football is like religion. Meanwhile, mum makers were like sitting birds on a live wire, biting at our nails, waiting for some kind of sign that homecoming season would prevail. Not so much for the sake of our businesses but for the sake of our kids. Being in this business you build bonds with these kids and their parents. We were praying by some kind of miracle that allowed these kids some level of normality in this new world we were living in. Not to mention some of these kids were seniors or played sports. You felt sympathy for them. You wanted their senior year to be exactly what it was supposed to be and everything you knew they were missing out on. This was supposed to be their last big HOORAH! The last time to walk the halls. Their one chance to walk the graduation stage with their peers, to have their senior fun and moments. Here in Texas, Homecoming is a HUGE part of those memories. Everyone not just mum makers wanted that for them. They deserve it, it's a right of passage almost.
September rolls around and still no word on if any of the schools would be having a homecoming. We felt sick to our stomachs that these kids won't get their last homecoming. We all communicated to each other through our Mums Inc. group to keep each other updated with what was going on in each other's cities throughout texas and other states to calm our minds and hearts. Some mum makers decided to not accept orders, other Mum makers continued to prepare for possible orders. The next thing we knew, schools started announcing homecoming dates. Orders for mums started rolling in and of course, we didn't get the preferred 1-2 weeks in an advance time frame like most would prefer. Orders were coming in for homecoming dates that were only DAYS away. It was chaotic, but you were excited that we would have the opportunity to be able to do what we love for these kids.
We were not expecting as many orders as we would normally get due to the state of things, but surprisingly orders were steady if not more than normal seasons. Not only were there more orders than usual but the custom orders were also BIGGER in size than usual or more over the top. Most in the business worked extra hard and extra-long hours to ensure that everyone who wanted a mum for homecoming was able to get one.
Those who had fewer orders than normal came together to help those who were overwhelmed. this helped relieve some of the stress and pressure of the last-minute orders that were coming in. Some even traveled to the other mum makers' house (Covid precautions were taken) or did drive-by piece work delivery to help the other mum makers make it through the rush. This gave much-needed breaks and allowed those makers to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The question could be asked, why would anyone care about mums during a worldwide pandemic? It was our take that people just wanted something normal to hold onto during a time that wasn't normal by any means. People wanted an opportunity to give their kids and themselves something else to focus on during one of the darkest periods of our time.
The members of Mums Inc. truly exemplified their motto of "Better Together". Many of the members coming together to help each other in a time of crisis to achieve some level of normality for the kids in our communities. With all that said it made me even more proud to be a Mums Inc. member. Having these ladies and gentlemen in my corner made this crazy time bearable. It's an experience that has changed me and my business forever.
Anesthasia (Annie) Marrs
Owner/Operator of Annie's Mums