A few years back a buddy and I started a leadership program to work with college students. Our goal was really to invite them into more of who they are. Unplug them from society, explore their journey, invite older men to teach, father, and guide them in areas they might not have received before, and send them out better men then when they came in. All by God's grace.
My family recently moved to North Carolina, and so as I enter a new season of my life and step away from that role and so many friends that worked together on that mission, I am now more focused on developing and working on products and building a company. Those evenings and conversations with young men remain with me. And haunt me at times.
I must confess, I like and enjoy clothes. But I care much more about the people wearing them.
That is not very fashion forward of me. But, oh well.
I woke up a few mornings ago to a campfire smell. It was probably someone burning some lumber from a new home going up in the suburbs. But the smell took me to the late evenings in Wyoming and Colorado where a group of 10-12 young men would be gathered around a fire on our of our trips. We'd often share our stories, listen to others, and there was always somethig magical that happened amongst us all. Away from technology. Away from distractions. Just the landscape and our own hearts. You just were closer to the hand that made you.
I was thinking about all that tonight because one of the gifts I get every now and then are email exchanges with customers. We are selling products, and so sometimes its more of a transaction. Someone likes something, and we sell it to them. But one thing I love are the conversations that still find their way here. It's not over a fire. Its usually on a computer screen. Two people on different places of the plent. This gentleman was in fact, over in Australia... or I guess, down under.
But through the exchanges... there is that sense... that we are seeking the same things. Our journeys are looking to find and connect to the line of men and our adventures. That masculinity is something we are exploring, our grandfathers are people we honor, that our culture is something we want to see redeemed, and that somehow we might just end up down the same path someday.
I love that. In fact, I need that. Because I really think and hope we are selling much more than clothes. And not just some pipe dream. But an experience we all want to join in. Something that goes beyond fashion.. and that is deep. Something true.
I'm grateful for our customers. I'm honored that somehow, we are given the opportunity to outfit them for an event, a date, or the boardroom. That is what this is all about.
Building a company is often 95% in the weeds, and in details you'd never want to be in, but somehow it is those campfire conversations that keep me going. In fact, I'm kind of hoping that somehow all this hard work might lead me back into those campfires again. For my heart, I know, needs it.