playfulness for 2024

30 December 2023

As the year draws to an end, our Founder Frances muses on her 2023 intentions and looks to the year ahead. 

As so often happens when I find a moment to decompress somewhere between Christmas and the New Year, my mind wanders to new year intentions. 

I love setting a new year intention - a mantra to orient myself around; to re-centre when the world feels wobbly. A good intention is a clear reminder of how I want to show up in the world both personally and professionally. As most founders, I’ve struggled to draw a line between the business and my person. But as the years have progressed (a decade to be precise) I’m learning to embrace the grey areas and show up intentionally in all aspects of life.

My 2023 intention was ‘impeccable agreements’. A reflection of my desire to commit only to what I know I can show up for - to choose quality over quantity. An intention that mirrors our core values at Abel. 

This intention is alive in our one-in, one-out policy, and closing our business for Black Friday - along with so many little decisions the team and I make every day. 

Reflecting on the year that’s been, I see the impact this intention has had on our day-to-day. We cancelled a launch when we felt we couldn’t deliver at the level we have set for ourselves. But at the same time, after years of research and development, we finally birthed our first 100% natural home fragrance into the world. 

My darling children are certainly my biggest teachers, and their simple questions are often the most thought-provoking and centering.

Both instances were great reminders to trust your instinct when you know you’re onto something - and likewise, when you’re not quite getting where you want to be.At day-to-day level ‘impeccable agreements’ meant making good decisions and not questioning them; staying true to the team, setting boundaries and remaining focused.

Looking ahead to 2024 and our second decade of Abel, I’m musing on the plans we have and how I can best show up for myself, the business, the team, our partners and our customers. 

Honesty and transparency are themes that keep coming up. So too is confidence in our direction, our plans and our place in changing the smoke and mirrored fragrance world. But also, playfulness. My darling children are certainly my biggest teachers, and their simple questions are often the most thought-provoking and centering. They cut to the chase.

In a world that’s increasingly fraught, manifesting playfulness in the form of childlike honesty, curiosity, vulnerability and bravery seem like qualities I want to bring to the business, and to the world. 

Mid-January, I’ll be leaving New Zealand’s sunny shores for our first stop of 2024 - Paris Fashion Week. We’ll be showcasing several new products among friends old and new. We’re pushing the boundaries of what’s been done with biotechnology and natural scent. We’re having big conversations with much bigger partners. The stakes feel high. Paris with playfulness (and jet lag!) will be the first test of 2024.