Grinding frantically towards the grand opening of my second Hoboken location this time last year, 7 years after I was “persuaded” to close my first one (pictured below) following Hurricane Sandy, I had no idea just how far upstream I was trying to return...
The currents against brick and mortar stores in small towns across America had already been building the past 7 years, more than I fully comprehended at the time … and this was before the Pandemic. Now the flood gates were about to be opened upon Main Street.
The opportunity to open a second location and return to the harried streets where Solid Threads was born arrived serendipitously and seemed like a logical next step in the evolution of my business. One that was too good to pass up at the time.
The reconnection with the Hoboken community, the pulse of the city, and the mozzarella at Fiores helped validate that decision, and I’m really happy to have made it, pandemic or not.
The street stand on Washington & 3rd in Hoboken that started it all way back in 2004, after 4 years of creating t-shirt designs behind cubicle walls in my midtown Manhattan corporate grind , working up the the courage to share my creative pursuits.
However, as the condensed hardship of this whirlwind reopening and closing experience has settled out and the gravity of the pandemic settled in, I am reminded just how hard I was pushing the river in pursuit of "progress," and more importantly, what I was giving up in exchange.
Two natural disasters down the road, and these dramatic changes to my plans have once again served up a power packed punch of new perspective and clarity, Jersey style.
Our limited-edition Hoboken H series of shirts, created in collaboration with Main Street Pops and 7 incredible local square mile artists, has raised $8000 to date for the Hoboken Relief Fund.
Root work, growth and transformation at a foundational level, is a mysterious, difficult undertaking. It is often far from fun, inundated with uncertainty, stress, and setbacks. It takes immense self-care, honesty, and acceptance to endure this slow, steady, slog through the dirt and mud.
It was my Jersey roots that imbued the fortitude I needed to move away in the first place and transplant to another location. To sell most of what I owned, cut all serious ties, pick up and relocate into a new world, where I was an unknown.
The oft-diminished, underdog status of New Jersey as the armpit of NYC stuck in the shadows of the bright city lights, only serves to fuel this fire that much more. Possibly the reason why my collection of New Jersey t-shirts resonated so strongly with New Jerseyans from all walks of life from the start.
Returning once again to where I had come from, after so much time away, revealed a more complete picture of who I am now, and how I got here.
Strong roots, sets the groundwork for adaptation and new growth to rise up, when setbacks occur. This pandemic has brought root work to the surface for a lot more people…. across our collective humanity, opening up unprecedented opportunities for new awareness and positive change.
The lessons that I seem to be reminded of again and again, through this painful process of change, reside in the inexplicable way that the "fruit" seems to take care of itself, when we learn to detach from the end result, and care for ourselves as we are in the here and now.
It’s difficult to remember this, while so caught up in our external “results-oriented” approach.
I happened upon Burlington VT in my travels and serendipitously ran into the owner of this amazing new co-sharing "warehouse" space called Karma Birdhouse, when I felt inclined to enter an unmarked door at the back of the café in the basement of the building. After that one weekend, I knew Burlington, VT would be my new home. Here are pictures of our new Headquarters location in that very basement space that I happened upon, and a news clipping of an article in our home town rag of Seven Days, welcoming me to the community.
The fruit is already contained naturally within the roots beneath the ground where we stand, lying in wait for the right moment to spring forth into their fullest expression.
It takes patience, trust and fortitude to persevere through the unknowns, but with time, the fruit will appear… and you’ll find yourself "at home" in a place that you previously never even knew existed.