Happy Holidays from SPESA!
It is a bit difficult to write a conclusion for a year that felt like it both lasted a decade and yet somehow should still be March. But we’ll give it a whirl. This year was not one of growth as we had originally hoped (although we did welcome a few new and returned members). Rather it was a year of learning and, to borrow a phrase from our Chairwoman, a year of adapting.
Here are a few of the things we have learned in 2020:
- While we wouldn’t want to give up live events forever, there is a definite appetite for virtual education in SPESA’s portfolio;
- Nothing can replace an in-person trade show;
- Teaming up with other associations can be beneficial to everyone;
- Behind the Seams subscribers prefer to read stories about people they know and leaders in the industry;
- SPESA members are not as competitive as the SPESA staff, but they do enjoy a good happy hour (that last part was obviously not a surprise though);
- Scooby Doo’s full name is Scoobert Doo, a group of unicorns is called a blessing, and other extremely useful facts garnered from SPESA trivia nights.
A couple months ago, SPESA Chairwoman Nina McCormack told us “there is a lot of uncertainty right now, but I believe 2020 has taught all of us so far, that we have to adapt, do this quickly, and that every challenge brings new opportunities. We might never completely go back to doing business as before, but the opportunities are out there and it is up to all of us to find them and take advantage of them.”
Her remarks were mostly aimed toward sewn products companies, and we are so proud of the SPESA members who have taken up this call to pivot their production, move to virtual platforms, or build strategies to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. But Nina’s advice was just as meaningful for the SPESA team as we believe it was for our members.
Before 2020, our business model was largely based on hosting in-person events and supporting trade shows, neither of which were possible this year. So, we adapted. We shared resources online, revamped Behind the Seams, teamed up with other associations to provide virtual forums, and hosted SPESA’s first-ever Virtual Executive Conference. We will also continue to support the Texprocess Americas & Techtextil North America Virtual Symposium over the next few months.
A lot of this has been new to us, and we have struggled, just like everyone else, to make the best of our situation. We hope you have been happy with our efforts and we hope you will let us know if there is more we can do to help you succeed in 2021.
Considering we have stolen her talking points, we want to start by profusely thanking our amazing Chairwoman Nina McCormack for her leadership over the past year and her willingness to put up with us for an extra one. We also want to thank the SPESA Board of Directors and our membership committees for their guidance and incredible commitment to the association.
And, finally, thank you to each and every SPESA member for sticking with us this year. Your hard work and dedication to the sewn products industry is what keeps us all going. We wish you a happy end to this crazy year and all the best in 2021!