T-Shirts Are Coming Back!
Recently Brooke and I were sitting in an AirBnB with some friends late into the evening talking about life. When asked, we began sharing to this group why we decided to stop the t-shirt side of our business over five months ago, and how hard, yet peaceful, it was.
After this conversation, someone in the room spoke up and said, "You know earlier today in our meeting? When you were encouraging someone else in our group to considering slowing down -- to hit pause? I know you were speaking to them and their circumstances, but that was also really encouraging to me to slow down."
She went on to explain that she felt like that person at the circus who spins plates on little sticks. She explained how she started spinning these plates and she feels like they just need to keep spinning because that's what you do, right?!
It was the perfect analogy for what we've felt at different points in our lives.
We started this little t-shirt company and with it, that plate started spinning. And as we started to grow, we added more plates on top of that one -- employees, sub-contractors, inventory, overhead, retail stores, and more. And then people -- you lovely people -- started following our "spinning plates" on Instagram, so now we definitely couldn't let them come crashing down!
Years ago, we had other spinning plates too -- the biggest one being Brooke's photography company. But after years of keeping that plate spinning, and making it bigger and bigger, it came time to have kids and slow down and take our weekends and schedule back for ourselves -- so we grabbed that plate that was spinning at full speed and set it on the shelf. It may have cracked a little when we did that, and we certainly knocked a few smaller plates off our sticks that smashed in the process, but the relief we felt when we decided to stop and focus only on walk in love. was good.
And over time, the same thing happened with walk in love. For example, we used to have retail stores but they just weren't best for us, or our finances, so we stopped those plates and let them fall to the ground.
Then came our big announcement and decision on December 3rd of 2018, where we told our community that we were stopping the t-shirt "plate" and smashing it on the ground. We certainly thought about just gently taking it off its prop and resting it nicely on a shelf. But we knew deep in our hearts that doing so wouldn't really provide us with what we were needing. That wasn't what we were being asked to do. This was definitely the hardest of the plates for me to stop from spinning, but knowing that the Lord had been leading me there for almost a year the decision brought so much peace with it.
Then we entered the last 5 months of really starting to try to figure out who we are away from our businesses. What do we want our lives to look like? What matters to us? And how on earth are we going to make a living?
Weeks and weeks went by and conversations swirled. We talked about everything over and over again. We cried about deep things on our heart and encouraged each other to do and start things we had once been fearful to do.
It's been a season of slowness. But mostly, it's been a season where we weren't just looking up at the spinning plates from down below, doing everything to keep them from falling or crashing into one another. It's been a season of looking at each other, at our kids, at our lives, and at our hearts... because our hands and eyes were free to do so.
Naturally, one of our most frequent conversations was about our occupation. We know that whatever we do we want to "work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord" but, I personally, kept coming up short on what I "was to be working at."
As our conversations circled about what we like to do -- like what we feel deep in our bones we were made and gifted to do -- and we kept coming back to the things we used to do. I love designing and selling shirts with my whole heart. And Brooke loves photography.
We started to reconsider those things, but with fresh eyes. They've always been the things we love, but when we turned them into a business, we switched the focus from passion to growth, and they took control of us...mostly me if I am being honest.
So we looked at the plates that we had smashed on the ground and started to have the conversation, "What if we picked those back up, but only pieces of them, and started spinning them again?" What if we left this piece and that piece on the floor and just put back together the pieces that allowed us to live with less, keep a slow pace but still have enough of an income to make a living?
And those conversations have led us to this announcement.
We are back! But our plates look different. We are going to sell shirts again, but it won't be the same because we are leaving so many pieces of that once giant plate on the ground.
The plates might not spin with the efficiency that they once did, but that is okay. And people might get confused about what we do and why things are different, but that's okay, because we don't let the internet tell us who to be. We listen instead to a great God who has given us gifts that we want to use while still humbling ourselves before Him.
So, thank you. If you've sent us an encouraging word or comment while we've been, and continue to be on this journey, we are humbled you've decided to follow along and come along side us.
We hope that our story continues to inspire you to slow down, figure out why you do what you do, what you want your life to be like, and how you can choose joy and walk in love in the middle of those long seasons of life.
And back to the spinning plates analogy -- we don't believe that the goal is to not have any plates spinning. We all have them, that's life! Family, work, hobbies, etc. Instead, the goal is to not be so worried about the plates crashing, or so focused with the size and scale of your plates, that you spend all of your time looking up at them and not at your real life in front of you. Or maybe the goal for you is to not be so fearful of what other's might think if you decided to intentionally let some of those plates fall to the ground. I hope we can encourage you to remember that they're your plates -- and this is your one life - make sure you're only spinning what you need to be, and then let the rest fall.
We really do love and appreciate all of you so much, and are excited to keep sharing our journey with y'all!
The shirts will be available on June 17 + 18 only and you can be the first to know by signing up here!