everybody loves Lauren
Lauren is a lot like Covid. She's contagious, she's dangerous, and she's a bit all over the place (but mostly in the Western and Eastern Cape). The main difference between her and Covid is that everybody loves Lauren.
You may not have heard the story of how Lauren and I became partners, so here goes. Lauren and I were remote colleagues years ago on our first jobs ever. We maybe saw each other twice during work travels. We had mutual friends. We bumped into each other in a parking lot in Jeffreys Bay while I was working on the concept of Xhibit, and a few months later I couldn't shake the idea that I had to ask her to partner with me. I put it off for ages because it was so random; I didn't even have her number. But eventually I gave her a call and said, "Hey, I want to talk to you about this social enterprise I'm working on." And she said: "I was hoping you would." I popped the big question and left Lauren to mull it over. In praying about it, Lauren stumbled onto a page in her journal that she wrote just after we first met, about the importance of beauty. Which is exactly what Xhibit is about, for us: defending beauty and art in a mass-manufactured world.
And so began a partnership that very quickly became a friendship. We had a hundred zoom meetings, built and rebuilt the website, fought with couriers, fought for finances, made mistakes and made them right again, made a few goals and missed a few, but where there was Lauren there was always a good laugh. I'll miss her.
Lauren recently landed the job of her dreams and is having to withdraw from her role at Xhibit. She's been invaluable in her ideas, her talent and her encouragement. Xhibit would never have launched without her. I am grateful for the year we built it together, and I am also happy to see her flourish in her new role.
On the topic of announcing change, I've just moved to Victoria Bay and am looking forward to growing Xhibit on the Garden Route. It's been a wild year, who knows what the next one will hold?