Holy Schmoly. 5 years. That’s always been the magic number, at least in my head. Crossing that threshold means it worked, is working and will work.
I’ve always believed, with every ounce of my being, that Garage Grown Gear would be successful. If I didn’t have that vision to hold on to, there’s definitely no way I would have had what it took to get the business off the ground.
And, yet, the dark and confusing times were real, scary and threatening. More than once I questioned my sanity — and the soundness of the idea.
But, here we are, a community, in this together, on a mission to support small, startup and cottage brands — using cool, new, innovating outdoor gear while we do it.
As Garage Grown Gear celebrates its 5th birthday, what’s most striking to me is that it’s grown into something outside of myself. Yes, I still pour a whole lotta love and time into the business. But it’s also no longer mine. It’s ours.
Garage Grown Gear now belongs to the amazing behind-the-scenes team who makes it tick. It belongs to the brands who value the platform enough to put their products (and themselves) on it. And, above all, it belongs to you all, our customers, our community.
There’s literally no such thing as a successful business without customers. If you all weren’t here, helping us to spread the word and buying the products on our site, we wouldn’t exist. We would be part of that Bureau of Labor statistic that says half of small businesses fail in the first 5 years.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about our collective mythology around startups in the U.S. We tend to believe that you have to be a 20-something male living in a tech hub to launch a successful business. Subconsciously (and sadly, sometimes consciously) we picture entrepreneurs as only people who look like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
I’m insanely proud of many things about Garage Grown Gear. But if someone were to put my feet to the fire and force me to choose the thing I’m most proud of it’s this: I was able to get Garage Grown Gear off the ground even as I was also a new mom living in rural Idaho. (My daughter was 2 years old when GGG’s store went live, and the idea for it started taking shaping not long after her birth.)
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of different backgrounds. The thing they share in common is a willingness to think outside the box and summon up the tremendous courage it takes to put their ideas out in the world for all to critique.
I deeply believe it’s time to take the term ‘entrepreneur’ back — to own it in all of its diversity and inclusivity. And to celebrate the people who gut it out year after year, not for the glory (cuz trust me, there ain’t much), but for a true love of the creative process.
I view Garage Grown Gear as my gift — and by that I mean my way of gifting. It’s my way of meaningfully supporting small businesses and the people behind them. And it’s my way of inspiring people to get outside — because the first thing you do when you get a cool, new piece of gear is head out the door to use it.
There are literally zillions of people to thank for helping me and Garage Grown Gear to get to where we are today. But two people in particular have been truly instrumental. They’re literally the reason Garage Grown Gear is still kickin’ (and now crankin’).
My dear husband, Cory, you’ve always had my back. Words don’t adequately capture how much I love you and how grateful I am to you for encouraging me to take the road less traveled.
And, to my business partner, Lloyd: Wow, just wow. I never take for granted how lucky I am that our paths crossed. Working together with you somehow always leads to magic.
With that, I’d like to raise a glass: here’s to everyone who’s launched a dream from a kitchen counter, basement or garage. In my mind, it doesn’t matter what happened next. It’s the act itself, the willingness to go for it, the trust that in whatever small way we each can change the world.
Deep thanks for joining me on the journey and see you again a little farther down the trail.
P.S. If you haven’t yet seen this ‘About’ video that we released this summer, take a look …