The new Math Cat T-shirt. We launch a limited print to get a sense of the composition. It's turning into quite the hit, but we decided it needed a hammer... you know, to make it more comprehensible. Coming soon!
This weekend the head of our Boston crew, Dustin, went on a weekend getaway. He forgot to relinquish the keys to the rest of the crew running our weekend event, the SOWA Open Market in Boston, MA. Luckily we have a pretty awesome crew of bright guys and gals and they solved the problem... drive to a local fire station and have them cut off the lock with some awesome tool I've never seen before but now relish.
Having an awesome product is only have the battle. The other half is having the right people.
Sure, a mistake was made, but a solution was found. It's all about the problem solving skills.
For the second leg of my trip I headed to Los Angeles to do the 2nd Cali Renegade Craft show. With a week of downtime between the San Francisco and LA shows, and my birthday only a few days away I went bungee jumping with my friend Kelsey at Bungee America. It's a total sham operation. I signed up for two jumps, but it's such an adrenaline rush that I opted for a third one on the spot.
It would have been easier if I could blame the instructors for peer pressure but it was my brain screaming "MORE ADRENALINE" that made me do it.
We all jumped off of the Bride to Nowhere, which was originally supposed to connect a road through the mountains in Azusa, CA, but the road was washed away in a storm, leaving only the bridge remaining.
The wait was so long, or it seemed so long. My heart was beating pretty fast.
That was my second jump. I didn't make a sound the first time so I figured I had to give a good scream the second time around.
With my round of jumping over I hung out with the instructors dog Sophie. She was a little food begger and may have gotten a corner of my sandwich. How appropriate that I was wearing my 'Howl Training' t-shirt while hanging with a pup.
Kelsey and I hiked to the bottom of the bridge to play in the mini rapids.
And these were my LA hosts, friends Matt and Brie. I look forward to seeing them every summer!
Every year I get to travel to San Francisco and L.A. for the Renegade Craft event. It's a little vacation for me and I get to spread the word about our awesome handmade products. We started in San Fran. Next weekend is L.A.
... and their dog Millie. Millie is a little-big-dog. Lots of personality in a little package and wasn't fru-fru. Millie did get into the chicken coup behind their house and ate a bunch of chicken feed. Please note chicken feed includes gravel that aids in digestion. This did not aid in Millie's digestion and so she threw up all over the house... and my super awesome jacket! No picture needed for that one.
After the San Fran show fellow crafter friend and I, Kelso, went to Six Flags magic Mountain in L.A.
This was disturbing. The park parade people were not that enthused to be doing their jaunt through the amusement park. Six flags should stick to roller coasters and not ruining my memories of Bugs Bunny. How is it that Disney manages to get such upbeat people walking in their park parades and Six Flags cannot? The answer is most likely that Disney bumps them all up with cocaine before each show. I know I am going to regret that statement in the future when Disney calls to collab on some projects.
Dear Disney, does it help that I can sing most of the songs to the Little Mermaid?
Kelso of Kelso Doesn't Dance.
I am in Cali for a full week of shows, and my birthday (I'm going bungee jumping here). I'll be 33... so, you know, old. I shipped all our t-shirts and belts out to Cali for the Renegade Craft shows. The first first show is in San Francisco. The second show is in L.A. I shipped all the packages to L.A.
Ok, let's review this again, in case you didn't get it. My FIRST show is in San Fran. I shipped all my packages to L.A. Holy CRAP! I was sitting in my rental car punching in the address for the FedEx when the GPS unit told me, 'Hey stupid, there is no Wilshire Blvd in San Francisco." I was so focused on the FedEx location where I would drop off my boxes after the last show in L.A. that I just had that address drilled into my brain. Have you ever done that, got something so locked in your brain that nothing else registers? Maybe the closest example is having a crush... a crush that is no good for you.
Did I know someone in L.A. that could bring them up? Could I piggyback them on a prison transport or horseless carriage? Nothing was panning out. So the day I get into San Fran I head straight to L.A. to pick up my boxes and crash with my buddy, Matt, for 5 hours.
What follows brings us to the present...
Drive 7 hours to L.A. listening to Jeff's new mix tape. I know none of the words but that doesn't stop me looking like a fool trying to sing along.
Pickup 7 boxes of merch.
Drive back to San Fran. This phrase looked amazing. I wished it was the musings of a mentally challenged graffiti artist, but it turned out to be a down home song by Tom T. Hall. Eh, not my pace, but I now have a hankering for watermelon wine.
Stopped at In-and-Out Burger for a Double Double animal style with a chocolate shake.
Stopped off at Ikea on the way back to buy this. I'll drill a few riveters into it so I can make belts at the show.
I was going to treat myself to Batman at the famous Renaissance Grand Lake Theatre, but I was 20 min too late. The ticket guy and the usher were awesome. "You sure you want a ticket? It's 20 minutes past the start."
"Bound to be a lot of previews?" I asked.
"Noooo, only about 7 minutes and you DO NOT want to miss the beginning"
"Yeah, you don't want to miss the beginning," reaffirmed the usher.
Batman, will have to wait 'till later in the week. Now I prep, then sleep, then sell t-shirts and belts. Thennnnnn... Richard Branson will notice my talents as a CEO and ask me to run his space program.
I was stalking myself through Facebook and came across some old photos of the early days, you know, back when I had an iPhone 3G. I came across an old pic from 2008 of my setup during the holidays. Check out how sparse everything was. No sense of cohesion.
In the four years since that pic was taken (8 years since the start of the company) we've moved the operation out of my parents two car garage, made Jeff a full time employee, expanded the reach of the operation (DC, NY, and numerous traveling shows around the country), and opened up a much larger full manufacturing facility in Washington, DC. Tell me, when was the last time you heard of something being made in Washington, DC? Now you know we make awesome products in our Nation's capitol.
It's easy to forget now and again that we all have rechargeable batteries. Sure, we get older and loose a little capacity over time, but we can take on a lot of living as long as we remember to live.
A week ago I got a text from my best friend's wife inviting me to come out to Seattle as a surprise. It would be a big surprise because I don't travel for much other than business.
Normally I hem and haw, thinking about all the dozens of things I would like to get done for my clothing company, and convince myself I don't have time.
But this time was different. Life was beginning to well up and I could feel the tears brewing behind my eyes, trying to claw their way out. It was clear I needed the recharge. Funny that all it took was to see good friends, sit down to a meal instead of eating on the go, and share the happenings of our lives. The simple stuff is often the most profound.
I wish I took more photos, but I was too busy enjoying the company.
I got to see my best friends Jacob and Mindy and their new baby James. He's a super happy kid and I was actually excited to hold him. I still think puppies are better than babies, but James is converting me.
We also saw the Sedro Woolley 4th of July parade. Sedro Woolley was an old logging town on the outskirts of Seattle at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
I liked this one because it reminds me of our Howl T-shirt.
And then there were Shiners.
Now I'm back on my game, recharged for the next set of challenges to come. Owning a business ain't easy, but I love it. I just need to remember that it's the small things that make the big things run, like just checking in with your friends and the simple pleasures of asking about their days.
The latest installment in the Zombie belt series is almost here... Zombies Under the Sea. It is the epic tale of the Atlantian's last stand against the toxic waste infused Zombie horde. The surface world has been overrun and this is earth's last bastion of civilization. Will we prevail? It has Zombie Mermaids in it!