Last year when the world began to "shut down" and our little brick & mortar shop closed shop doors in Pewaukee for the first time, I went into a strange place, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I was physically planning to be off to my other heaven on earth, Hawaii, but that of course was postponed. As the shop remained closed and questions were everywhere, I spent so much time working through my confusion by shifting focus to be how I could help, inspire, and contribute to everything going on. And with each new piece of news or devastating event after devastating event took place, I asked, “what is my role within this?” Surely there must be one.
And the answer looked the same each time: “Inspire healing of people, planet, and self. Be available to support any of those. Spend more time with water. Heal yourself.”
There have been countless tears, tough conversations, closed doors, open doors, breakthroughs, lost money, delayed paychecks, no paychecks, surges of support, surges of inspiration, and complete lack of motivation. I experienced 2020 (and the first quarter of 2021) first as a human being, and then as a business. I went through everything twice. I share this not to ask for anything of you, but to simply be open with you. While we aimed to make our shop and all touchpoints of it a place of healing, that was for you, of course, but it was also deeply healing for me.
And I know I’m in a place of privilege with each word I sit here and type, but the year changed me and awoke my soul in a different way. With each pang and story and issue, I realized all the reasons why I am here and all the work there is for me to do.
In March of this year, after a full year of prioritizing health, heart, and really truly keeping my respectful distance from most humans, with my negative COVID test in hand, I headed off to Maui to experience the trip that was planned for last year. With the change to our business structure because of the Pewaukee shop closing, and our smaller Hartland HQ remaining open by appointment only, I was able to go with no hesitation about whether this was the right thing. As inspiration truly, and quite frighteningly, waned over the winter I knew this was one thing that could help refresh my soul. Again, total privilege to be in this place, and I am so grateful for the generosity of my parents for footing the bill for this adventure.
And there I found it - moment after moment, conversation after conversation, connection after connection, on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I’ve always LOVED browsing and shopping in a way that’s felt a bit over the top. Not because I need anything, but I find massive inspiration in seeing other visions and inspirations come to life. I feel the energy and love and heart and soul of creatives as I experience their curations and witness what they offer. I love the psychology of a brand. I love looking at all the reasons why I am compelled to support a brand. I love understanding why I feel what I feel when I see their products and messaging. And with each conversation I had on this trip, in sharing what I offer and in experiencing the stories of others, my soul tank filled. These humans understood the magic of the water (salty and fresh), they respect and make time for the sunlight, and by nature of island life, they have to work with the land and nature in deep reverence for environmental impact. Sustainability is not just convenient, it’s imperative for the health of the islands and all life - creatures, plants, and humans.
The Pewaukee shop was a dream I guess I never knew I needed to express. To create a vibey lil spot on the edge of a lake with a sunset view in the area that fostered my lake love growing up that offered my creations and the work of other soulful makers was incredible. And then to see my creation, infused with all my love, impact and inspire others? As the dreamer, that’s a fascinating, powerful experience. I have so many strong hugs, stories, smiles, moments locked on my heart as people expressed how that space or the brand and its mission felt like an inspiration, an escape, a haven, a reality check. I say it often, I just want people to feel things. I just want to inspire people to find what inspires them and experience it often (...that’s the root of the CHASE MORE SUNSETS design).
So while the Pewaukee shop chapter ended, I’ve been sitting with really bringing that to what I do have available: my products, my digital presence, the Hartland HQ, and all aspects of my life.
And so, like clockwork, after the time on the island letting myself ground and clarify and connect and receive from this magnificent planet, a huge download of design ideas and content ideas and just INSPIRATION poured through. In a business season that’s still challenging and unpredictable, I find myself a bit more cautiously working through all that’s been shown to and through me. The designs and products are coming, but they are not, as per usual, coming on a timeframe that’s standard or the most helpful for seasonal demand. The items, and their soul, will be ready when they are ready. They will be of heart, divinely inspired, environmentally responsible, and really born out of my mission to facilitate healing and inspiration for all people -- and of course that means by reminding us of the magic in the water.
When we love something, we naturally take care of it. All those EARTH DAY suggestions will become automatic and prioritized because you can’t stand the idea of the people and planet you love not being taken care of. You’re imagining passing along all you love to generations to come, so very authentically, your lifestyle takes on a different shape, a little more meaning in pursuit of ensuring people and planet have what they need to safely, happily, continue on long after your time of enjoyment is done. Because if we’re real about this, it’s NOT about us in the end, is it? If we want to co-exist, we’re going to have to start to realize that our healing, our love, our priorities and how we spend our lives is not just about us, it’s intertwined with all.
Big love & respect for all you're going through in your life on earth in the year 2021.
Want to know what this looks like for us, as in, some of the things we do for people + planet?
We used recycled or reused packaging. We did buy some stickers that say "we use reused packaging with love" or something along those lines because we need you to know that sometimes it hurts our vanity to use the box that fits even if it looks like it's been to the ends of the earth itself, but we do it for the earth.
Sharing #BlueMind principles with anyone who will listen. Forever grateful to Dr. Wallace J. Nichols for his powerful work.
Learning about intersectional environmentalism and taking an active look personally and within the brand to ensure that we're being more attentive to the racial justice and human rights issues that often go overlooked, but are hand in hand, with environmentalism.
We're still doing all we can to choose responsibly sourced products (recycled and organic when possible). And this includes products that deepen your connection to nature or support responsible choices: debris bags, microplastic wash bags, produce bags, reusable beverage containers
Support a diverse base of makers who align with our mission -- we added 30+ amazing, responsible brands and makers since July 2019.
Donate 1% of sales (split) between FLOW - For Love of Water, NAACP, and Dig Deep Right to Water Project. In 2020, despite everything, your support allowed us to still give over $4000 to the above.
We did not renew our 1% for the Planet partnership in 2021 because we wanted those fees, however minimal, to just go right to the causes themselves.
Feeling inspired to read? I made a few lists of environmentalism, water magic, nature healing, intersectional environmentalism books here.