After nearly two years of making things, Foxtrot is officially a brand with a web and brand presence worth touting. The launch of this website is an incredible feat for Ryan and I, and most notably something we've worked on, deliberated over, and debated over for the better part of half a year or more. We've been known as that local Kansas City maker brand who also happens to have an Etsy for quite some time. This has been the plague of the company, but I want to make something clear - Etsy is great, and so is Kansas City. These two factors have brought us along and taught myself and Ryan what it means to make something and provide that thing to people. The gratifying nature of seeing positive remarks from Kansas Citian customers and Etsian customers all over is really what makes things worthwhile. However, 5 stars in a review from an Etsy customer only goes so far, and we knew we didn't just want to be an Etsy maker or just known as a local Kansas City brand. There is something about having your own website filled with your words, your photos, and your culminated hard work that spells out for the customer exactly what the brand is about. Where Etsy was the vehicle to show off our product, our website is the vehicle to show off our brand. Therein lies what has driven us to put in all of this time for you, the person reading this, and you, the person who might have an interest in what we're about. The experience we want to provide is worth everything to us - to give everyone the ability to immediately understand through visual imagery and an intimate look into the details of our work and without a shred of doubt know exactly why we do this. Even at the cost of doing nearly everything ourselves - handcrafting all products, photo work, photo editing, website build out, SEO, marketing, etc.
So here we are, upon the launch of the brand I always wanted to make, and always wanted to provide as a service to people. Putting the word "Supply" in the name of the company was something I knew I wanted from the genesis of this whole thing. An all encompassing passion was to provide for people, whether that was giving them some options for a handcrafted good or a recommendation for product from a company I really liked - having a curated selection of goods that I backed wholeheartedly was everything. Continuing with the mentality of provisions, I never really wanted to be just a "leather goods" company or that guy who sews things. I really wanted to create a lifestyle behind simple, well made products, and be able to tell stories about where the product came from, or who made it, and why it's such a special thing to provide those details.
When the company was officially founded, it finally lent some weight to the idea that something was happening with the notion that I enjoyed making things. To me, it was a nice step in the right direction to becoming more than a hobbyist, that is to say, I was ready for people to take me a little more seriously. To most people, you have to reach a bit to grab their attention when you first let them know of your creative pursuits - as if there is an inherent skepticism in most people where they "need to see it to believe it."
No better example of that scenario than with my business partner, Ryan. When I first met Ryan, it was summer of 2015 and I was moving next door to him in our three apartment complex in Midtown, Kansas City. I had met him and gotten to know him a little, and I could tell when I said that I was getting into handcrafting things out of leather he was thinking "oh great, another one of those guys." Ironically enough, Ryan later confided in me that he did think those exact thoughts, but reassured me that I had reassured him after showing him my progression into the craft, and that I had persisted through and kept going.
It's fulfilling and also so funny to look back on that and not have a clue where I would be or even consider having a business partner - especially my next door neighbor. Ryan has since taught me so much about accountability and marketing, among so many beneficial things pertaining to business. As a team, it's so rewarding to be met with positives where your own negatives are. Where I am weak, my business partner is there to pick me back up and vice versa.
Despite all of the positives that have come along with this little company and where we are now at the finality of our release as an actual brand, there were many trials along the way that tested the eventuality and whether anything would ever come from this thing. The overarching theme of what has made this brand stronger throughout the time we've been battling at making it better has been persistence and perseverance. It's seemed like trial after trial has sprung up to push us back from making this an ultimate reality. Most notable of these trials was the news that my wife's life was in immediate danger from fast spreading disease.
On March 1st, 2016, my wife Emily was diagnosed with biphenotypic leukemia, or essentially two separate blood cancers. The news of this shocked us, but for those who know Emily, and know the extent of her positive outlook and demeanor could attest, she was completely at peace the minute we heard the news. Over 6 months later and a battery of treatments, my wife was declared free of the cancer that threatened her so severely.
It's these themes and these trials that we've taken to heart upon creating a brand of things that are passions for us. Throughout our experiences we've become even more steadfast in the things that move us. There are no questions toward why we do this, or whether we have second guesses about our future. In the case of persistence, we seem to always be met with resistance, but always forge on past and continue on the path we've set for ourselves. It might even be fitting that our company is built on things that last and last, considering that these things we make simply persist. They long to live, and keep going.