So much to catch you up on! Before I dive in I want to thank you guys for the response to my last blog post. So many of you reached out in different ways and that was a huge encouragement. To pick up from where I left off, here’s the end of that last post…
The next morning I get a call from Tyler… “I think we were robbed”. Sure enough, a couple masked guys broke in and stole around $14k worth of stuff. I had to laugh, “Oh, I guess we can still take a loss there”. If we can survive a global pandemic, store closures, a lawsuit, riots, and theft, then I think we can take on just about anything else (and I’m sure we’re about to find out just what that is).
So that wraps up the gloomy stuff for now, but like a great t-shirt once said “Not Over til It’s Over”.
- Lemony Snicket (uh I mean Jared)
Since then, we’ve been robbed again, and although we made an insurance claim on July 9th, we still haven’t received a settlement from the first theft. I just paused writing to leave yet another voicemail to see if they can move our claim along or at least respond.
SO… why the heck are we in Park Rapids, MN? Sheesh, I thought you’d never ask. Tina and I rented out our house in Indianapolis to live and work in Venice last year, but what used to be an inspiring place for us to plan and create new collections, became a place that we just wanted to escape. I’m sure you feel the same way, wherever you’re located. I started dreaming about creating an outdoor adventure collection. We had some “outdoorsy” designs years ago but we haven’t created anything like that in a while. I was thinking about how great it is to be in LA, but also how great it is to get out of LA. The next day I get this out-of-the-blue text from my friend Stephen…
Stephen used to come to my house in the middle of the night and help me print in my garage. He recently bought an old Burro camper and restored it so he can take his family camping. I’m glad he sent me that text because it felt like a confirmation.
After creating 20+ products that were pandemic-related, we were ready to move on even if things weren’t “back to normal”. We started discussing what that line would look like and Daniel got to work sketching up ideas. I’m pretty sure when I pitched the idea to him he said “great… I’ll have it done by the weekend”. I love how we can bounce around from completely different themes and maintain our everyday take on cool t-shirts. While Daniel’s burning through tips on his Apple Pencil, Tina and I had the task of figuring out how to create content for the line and where our family should land right now. We’ve talked about hitting the road different times and what “road schooling” would look like with the kids, but the timing never felt right. As homeschooling parents we really value the kids getting to see different places and meeting different people. We just couldn’t decide if this was the worst time or the best time to try it.
We started looking at RVs and were surprised that most of the lots were sold out. Some of the dealers told me they had surpassed their entire 2019 sales by halfway through this year. Another confirmation that people are looking to escape and this line could really resonate with others. I found an RV that I really liked and almost pulled the trigger on it, but I called Tina and said “where are we going to park this thing tonight?”. We both laughed… we’re the worst planners in the world and an RV is probably something that requires a lot of thinking ahead. I called the guy back and told him we’d pass.
We had ordered a rooftop tent a month before coronavirus was a thing, thinking we’d put it on our Audi Q7 and hit up Joshua Tree more often (one of the kids’ favorite places to explore). Since we already had the tent we started thinking about building out a Sprinter van. It would be lean and mean and we could explore National Parks as well as urban areas easily. If parks are booked we could boondock if necessary. The huge rooftop tent would be plenty of room for all the kids and Tina and I could sleep in the van. …And that’s about as far as we planned before we bought one. We decided we’d hit the road for about 3 months and see what van life is all about.
Daniel sends me some of the first concepts for the “Adventure Outdoors”
Collection. Sometimes I want to direct things too much but I’ve found when you’re working with someone really creative its better to give them as much room to work as possible. When I pitched the concept I started to suggest bringing back the old mountain man guy we made about a decade ago, but I held back. One of the new designs is an old bearded hiker with “keep going” under it. So perfect. I was thrilled. We’ve worked together for so long that it’s crazy how fast we can iterate through concepts and be on the same page. It wasn’t always like that but everyday discipline pays off.
So now what? We’re on an adventure for the next bit and hope you’ll join us. We’re going to be shooting a lot of photos and videos of my family, which is really different for us, but coordinating with models and planning shoots has been pretty hard lately. Our goal is to drop a new vid every Friday and we already have a couple up on our YouTube channel. Click that link and subscribe if ya wanna ride!