You may have noticed that with the exception of our spring collection launch, we’ve been relatively quiet this year. Despite our best intentions to bring you more personal updates and behind the scenes content, 2023 took us all by surprise and delivered what has been, quite honestly, our most challenging season yet.
It all began last November when Camille began experiencing symptoms of muscle spasms, trouble balancing, and lightheadedness. An ER visit in December led to the discovery of an unknown tumor on her clivus (the bone in the center of the skull), and the following few months were filled with referrals and follow up specialist appointments as she tried to get a diagnosis. In March, a neurosurgeon informed Camille that he strongly suspected the tumor was cancerous, and a treatment plan was put in place. This included surgical removal as soon as possible, followed by several months of radiation treatment.
With her health at the top of our minds, Camille went on medical leave immediately and indefinitely—to be determined as her recovery required. Her surgery was eventually scheduled for the first half of May; performed through the nose and including 6 hours under general anesthesia. You can imagine our collective sigh of relief when it was confirmed that her tumor was benign and not cancerous.
This was the best possible outcome, and we feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to be able to share that with you today. In addition to giving Camille a clean bill of health, her biopsy results also meant that she no longer needed to undergo radiation therapy. With another two months spent recovering from her surgery, Camille rejoined the team in her usual capacities at the beginning of August.
There is nothing like a serious health scare to remind you of the things that are most important in life, and it is with so much joy that we have welcomed Camille back and embraced the return of our working “normal.” We are deeply aware of the gift that is life and we are incredibly grateful to you, our customers, for carrying Deer&Doe through good times and bad.
With the stress of Camille’s potential diagnosis and surgery behind us, we are now looking ahead to the end of this year and next year. Although we are proud to have successfully launched our spring collection in spite of our greatly reduced work capacity, we are quite a small team and felt Camille’s absence deeply. Any task that was not a priority and could not be handed off was put on pause, and our normal production timelines were well behind where we usually like them.
Rather than try to play catch up and risk perpetuating a cycle of burnout, we have made the decision to not release any new patterns for the remainder of this year. Instead, we are taking the time to recover from stress of the first half of this year (and in Camille’s case, her continued recovery), work on a backlog of internal projects, catch up on timelines for our spring cycle, and reassess our workloads where needed.
In addition to allowing us to recover physically and mentally, putting a pause on new patterns also means that we’ve created some additional bandwidth to focus on extending the size range of a fan-favorite pattern. We are excited to announce that (very soon!) we will be re-releasing the Myosotis dress in our complete size range. While new studio photos with matching samples won’t be available until the spring (when we resume our normal production schedule), we wanted to bring you the finished pattern as soon as possible. We feel very proud that this pattern has received some of our best tester feedback yet, and we’ve lined up another fantastic team of reviewers to share their thoughts and photos as well.