Our Backpack no.1 is a classic Moop Shop bag. I remember when I first designed it, I made it in a bright yellow waxed canvas for my then sister in law. So many of the bags I’ve designed over the years have come from a need of my own or something I wanted to make for someone I cared about. The face masks were entirely of that same origin. Last spring, after 2.5 months of stitching bags alone and struggling to figure out what was going on in the world and how it was impacting my world, I needed to be able to bring everyone back to work safely. I spent a frenzied month prototyping face masks. Getting sizing just right, materials sourced, machines purchased, literally everything from the ground up in order to make something that I felt confident in for my own crew, which then made me confident that each of you would feel comfortable and safe wearing it.
That process of breaking everything down and starting from scratch has defined the last 12 months for me. Frankly, it defined the last 18 months for me. I had just barely come back from our several month Seattle Pop Up, which was immediately followed by a grueling event in Toronto, which was followed by me questioning everything I do, trying to process severe burnout as the perpetual maker/ manager/ designer/ HR person/ sourcing agent/ customer service rep/ bookkeeper/ creative idea magic maker while also being responsible for other people’s livelihoods, including my own salary, which felt a lot like diminishing returns..also, I’m a mom… it’s a lot of pressure that had started to build up in ways I wasn’t tempering well any longer. And then the pandemic set in. On March 13th. Our 13th business birthday. We called it Lucky 13…then the whole world started shutting down.
I have rebuilt everything in the last year.
I scrambled to keep this whole ship going. I designed and built new products, trained new people, built a whole second business, produced the largest volume of bags we’ve ever stitched for a new client, moved my personal life, overextended our storefront space (we’re literally bursting at the seams), taught a class on early entrepreneurship and closed our walk in retail store. It has forced me to be nothing but responsive.
Today we celebrate 14 years in business. 14 hard earned, truly fantastic, roller coaster years. It’s been a real life Rebel Yell, through and through. I never knew my first roller coaster would be such a metaphor for my entire adult life. But, here we are, 14 years later, doing a lot of the same and a whole lot new. I’ve got super big dreams for where I want to see 2021 take us, but I’ve also got a healthy dose of cautious realism in knowing there is still just so much we do not know about how the rest of this year will unfold and while every single day I feel like we are barely hanging on, I’ll be damned if we don’t make it to 15 years. That’s a real true milestone and I can’t wait to have you help us get there.
Thank you from the bottom of my constantly working over flowing heart. I love what I do. So much. Sometimes it exhausts me, but I also kind of like those hill climbs. And even more, I love every story you all have shared with me about what our bags have meant to you. Those stories helped me through the hardest months last year. You have helped me create a career with purpose and meaning while also creating jobs for 14 years straight… even some new jobs in the midst of a global pandemic and job shortage. I and my crew are forever grateful to the support you have chosen to give to us. It has been the only stability we have had in the last 12 months. Thank you.
To celebrate all the years of work that have gone into every single stitch on every single bag, we’ve released so many new things! Leather wallets, Tiny Zips, a bunch of things in SUMAC (which, we are always suffering a shortage of fabric for so they really are only available intermittently), new Bag Blankets (we partnered with a local Pittsburgher from Turkey to make these happen!), new home goods and restocks of our favorite self careitems (one bottle of this DoTL oil lasts me about a year…and I use it morning and night). Click through to check it all out!! We’re so excited about all the new things, adding new colors back, shaking off the winter cold and making hopeful plans for spring and summer getaways (ummm..the Weekender in sumac!). We’re all still waiting to be vaccinated so we’re all also still wearing face masks…we hope you are, too. It’s the way we’ll make it out of this. I’m going to be in Seattle in April and if any of you out there think we should do a one day Pop Up, send me a reply so I can get to work planning it!
So much love and so many ambitions and always full of working optimism,
**anyone else remember the Rebel Yell from Kings Dominion near Williamsburg Virginia?? So many growing up memories of sweltering hot days and wild roller coaster rides.