Guiding Thoughts

I made this graphic a few years back and it serves as guiding principles to what my business, Gather, represents. These are the things that I think are important:

  • Shop Local: Neighborhood mom & pop shops used to be the norm. There is something amazing about knowing the person behind the counter and them knowing the community that you live in. Their product assortment reflects local trends and buying patterns versus what someone forecasts from afar as a national perspective. The goods local shops stock and sell tell a lot about your neighbors and the community you actually live in and their tastes and values – that’s fascinating. When you support your local businesses you are creating dynamic neighborhoods which help raise the quality of life across the board. Thriving shops create thriving communities. Also, shop owners are the unseen/under praised cog in an important economic wheel, they need your shopping dollars to stay afloat and pay their grocery and mortgage bills. They can’t do it without you. Lastly the dollars you spend at your local shops goes back to your local government and infrastructure and community so you are investing in where you live.
  • Support Local Makers: Many of the same things above are true here. Your neighbors are talented, oftentimes making high quality goods for less than the labor hours they are charging. You can find more unique gifts that enrich the lives of the recipient and the maker by purchasing locally made goods. You are also enabling and encouraging someone’s dream and that’s pretty amazing.
  • Inspire & Create Community: This is a big one for me. I do believe in the “be the change you wish to see in the world” mentality and for me spotlighting and showing others the incredible, not-yet-seen or less talked about facets of the people & spaces around me is my passion. Spotlighting others so that they can then become more successful and then helping them find other like-minded individuals and connect them to others, is a privilege and a natural extension of who I am.
  • Work With Your Hands: There is something so deeply cathartic and fulfilling in working with your hands, something that, as many of us head toward lives that are dominated by technology, often gets neglected. I believe it is good for our souls and mind to use our hands to create things, whether that is food, stories, art, flower arrangements, fixing things and on and on. Our bodies were meant to be used and when you start using your hands more your mind becomes soothed as well.
  • Never Stop Learning: There are so many cool things in the world, from researching a type of furniture to a new skill, learning makes others more compassionate towards others and also just interesting (and interested) people.
  • Love Your Neighbors: I believe strongly in being kind to everyone, to choosing to include and listen to others and their struggles and triumphs. It’s easy to stay in our own lanes and heads, but when we love and reach out toward our neighbors incredible community is created. This one goes in tandem with the above as many of the other points do.
  • Elevate the Everyday: This is about appreciating what-is, and the simplicity and grace of our everyday lives. There is so much beauty surrounding us, how can we make the lens through which we see the world be more positive, hopeful and beautiful? It’s not about making magic out of thin air or being overly and impractically optimistic, it is about recognizing that diamonds come from coal and seeing the beauty in the life that you have and the world that you live in, it’s about creating and living a beautiful life, wherever you are and with whatever you have and striving to maintain that perspective.

How about you? Are you a business that has guiding principles? Do you have any as an individual? What are they and why?

The Women’s March

Women's March | Gather Goods Co
This past Saturday like millions of other women I participated in the Women’s March alongside my husband, my daughter, some friends and their young daughters. I marched here in Raleigh (a sister march to the larger one in Washington DC and the thousands of others happening around the world) and the crowd here in Raleigh was about 20,000 strong. It was the largest protest in American history and 1 in 100 Americans participated in some way. I walked in solidarity and it was affirming, powerful and beautiful. I may not have agreed with everyone around me 100%, but that is the point, that I walked alongside those who feel morally challenged in some way, like myself, and support that they have the right to be heard.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co

I was hesitant to go at first because I don’t like crowds and I was worried about counter protests. I thought ‘I have other ways of making my voice heard that don’t involve picketing’. Living here in the capital city of North Carolina we have been in the midst of a contentious political climate for the past few years. I am sure you have heard of the bathroom bill, not to mention many other challenging policies that have limited public schools among other things. I have watched dozens of teachers leave my daughter’s elementary school because classroom size limits were lifted causing already stretched resources and underpaid teachers to just move on to more supportive opportunities.

I’ve watched as many of my friends protested and picketed and created noise to protest, and thought ‘I don’t agree with these policies, but protesting is intense’. Then, as if all the other frustrating things weren’t enough, the then voted out (in a very tight race) Governor called secret midnight sessions to strip the incoming Governor of his power to make change and citizens the power to vote more fairly through redistricting, despite the general public having voted for this change. I know that that is somewhat typical but the values are atypical and I don’t share them. The politics obviously go much deeper than just this paragraph touches on but it feels like the ushering in of something much larger and more disturbing for democracy. It feels like a pivotal time, that just sitting idly by and voting for change isn’t enough and it took seeing this at a local level to recognize the need on a national level.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co

The very founding of our country is based on the right to peacefully express yourself. I believe it is our country’s duty and our duty as humans to walk beside others whose views may or may not be the same but accepting that they have rights and their own unique set of challenges. Brene Brown, whose words move me greatly had a great piece that you can see on her facebook page about her thoughts on the march. She, like me, is an introvert who was so moved to action she couldn’t not participate. She also shared this quote by Theodore Roosevelt “To stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public” meaning if we disagree with certain policies or values, it is our duty to make them known, especially if there is significant resistance to them. To those that felt resistance to the march, I hear you as well. I respectfully disagree that this was a negative blight or stain on our country more so than the tenor of the new administration. It is not at all about “an eye for an eye” instead an opposition to the priority and presentation of the values being ushered in.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co
I was so moved by the many expressions of love and encouragement. Here’s to a more positive and supportive environment and to being the change that you wish to see in the world.