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We are changing the world. And now we are blogging about it. We hope you enjoy a glimpse of what we do and how hard we work to do it. We are also excited to introduce you to our fabulous retailers and customers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An epiphany.

I had a major moment of utter gratitude yesterday. If you're reading this post, this is likely about you.

I never stop working. I work hard for barley & birch, so the line can continue to grow fast and keep changing the world. I work hard as a law student. And I work hard to keep my two lives separate and give both of them 100% of me.

It gets hard, I don't sleep, and I get crabby sometimes.

Yesterday was destined to be a crabby day. I have been averaging 4 hours of sleep a week this week because I am up late working with our new retailers in Japan and wake up early to rub elbows with Senators, cabinet members, and First Ladies.

I woke up yesterday at 5am to bake a pie for a contest at Miriam's Kitchen. I scowled nearly the entire time. I was too tired to shower, so I pinned some braids back and figured I could pass for Boho Chic. (fail.)

I lugged the pie in on a crowded commute and was late to work. Worked frantically all day, taking breaks to deal with barley & birch work. Was crabby about figuring out dress designs, where to get our lookbook printed, and our depleting inventory which we are not going to replace since we are releasing a new collection soon.

Stressed, I sent my soul mate best friend and best employee ever, Alia, a text that said "I need you to come to Bubble NY with me." She of course had already been planning on this and also said "I am lining up things for you while you are there." Crabby, I said, "Plz don't. I won't have time." To which she responded, "Oh, well, I think you have time for the Today Show." So I took a moment, paused, and wondered. I knew she would follow up with more details so I continued working like a maniac.

After work I headed to Miriam's on both phones the whole time-- invoicing on my iPhone while getting lookbook quotes on my personal cell. Hung up both as I walked into Miriam's to submit my pie and take part in the BBQ. People called and texted throughout the BBQ and I would duck away and respond and was grumpy again because I am always responding and always getting back with people and couldn't I even enjoy this vegan bratwurst please?

While there, I spoke with Jenn, Miriam's development and outreach guru. She mentioned that in response to some of my tweets on Twitter and a quick e-mail I had sent to Green America, a business group of which I am a part, they had received boxes of donations. Her appreciation touched me, but my brain was still crabby. Frazzled with all the things I had to do. We spoke about how I respect her nonstop dedication to changing lives and the fact that she fights what looks to be an endless fight. Me? I get to play with kids clothing and donate money and time and sort of feel like I help. But her and the crew and Miriam's-- they are the heroes.

My pie, pictured above, got 2nd place! (It looks a lot more burnt and ratty in the picture, I swear. It was made from scratch. E-mail for recipe.)

Head throbbing, I gathered my empty-but-still-gooey pie dish and left. I remembered that I had planned on speaking with Julie about her crew doing some work for us. Great work, Kyle. She had called and I had not answered. I call her back and we talk as I mosey around a park carrying a dirty pie dish. We talk about ideas for dresses, shorts, fabric, and dyes.

We hang up and I walk down to get on Metro and head home. Its 9pm. I have 18 unread e-mails from the last 40 minutes and I decide, for the first time ever, to not read them while on the way home. Best decision ever.

As I sat on Metro, I was overwhelmed with this sense of pure exhaustion. I was too tired to pull my bag strap up when it fell from my shoulder, I desperately needed a shower, and my hand was covered in pie remnants. Then, my mind went blank. And I almost started to cry. I had had a beautiful day and had been too busy being stressed to even notice it. When did I even become like this?

Yesterday was a great day! I woke up early and baked a pie from scratch (with cherries picked and canned by my family). I was chosen to do an IRL section for Hayden Hartnett and was told I might be on the Today Show in August. I got 2nd place in a pie contest! People I see as heroes told me that they are blown away with all I am doing to help them. And I am now working with an amazing woman who is changing lives and believes in our mission. The texts I received had come from our designer Jodie while she was at the zoo, sending pictures of animals I could tell she wanted to draw. It reminded me what an amazing thing it is that Jodie is one of my closest friends now. I received a call from my BFF from law school, confirming how the love-of-my-life makes his beans for tacos. I love that we are still close enough to call for things like that. I also received calls and texts from the love-of-my-life and family, reminding me I would not even be close to where I am now without each of them.

Some e-mails came from our newest retailer, Sprout San Fransisco, saying "You sent us different quantities than you listed on the packing slip..." (humiliating.) "...but it's okay. Its so much cuter in person! Please update the invoice to reflect the million mistakes you all made but don't worry about correcting the order." Okay maybe not the million mistakes part-- but how cool are they? I read an e-mail from our new photographer who is doing the photoshoot for our new line with not much time to prepare and fell in love with her energy all over again. I read e-mails from our new retailer in Japan, bcbasics, who has already placed a re-order! Wow! How neat!

I read a hilarious e-mail from Summer, owner of fawn&forest. She has one of the coolest stores and still finds the time to say "Great job on having hardly anything in stock! It shows a great response to your line!" as opposed to blocking my e-mails and removing the line from her site for constantly being sold out of more and more styles.

I received an e-mail from Bridget, who owns Wiggle Room, with a picture of her newest baby boy and it reminded me to e-mail her info for the model search we are going to do through her store. Her unending support means more to me than I can express.

In the other e-mails and tweets, I was reminded that I share beautifully friendly and casual and respectful relationships with hundreds of mom-bloggers (incredible women, I tell you), many retailers (even those that don't carry the line), our marketing company, and every other single person we work with.

I officially have no business relationships-- I have barley & birch-induced friendships. Isn't that amazing? I at one point had to ask a friend if it would be weird to invited them all to my wedding. Answer: yes. But I still might anyway...

So my new friends, thank you all for being so wonderful. You have no idea how much I look forward to speaking, e-mailing, texting, and okay, even tweeting with you every day. I truly adore you.



  1. Dear Kyle,

    The word 'hero' is all relative. While you may envision us as the heroes in the fight, we are looking up at you for inspiration.

    We adore you. And would love to come to your wedding. We'll bring the vegan brats.

    Until inspiration next hits,
    Your BFF's at Miriam's Kitchen

  2. Please don't take this as condescending...I am really pround of you!

    I knew you would do great in the contest!

    I can't even imagine living the crazy, nonstop life you live, and doing it so casually and with such ease...and to top it all off, the things you do are amazing! I envy the dedication you pour into each and every thing you take on. I say this with all the honesty in the world, you make me want to be better and do more!

    You deserve every wonderful thing that comes your way!

    Much love from Ohio...

  3. Oh, my! Love and support whenever you need it. SS