According to a recent story in the Daily Mail, the worldwide obesity epidemic is also affecting our dogs. (Which they call “Broader Collies” and “Flabradors” – LOL) They also cite an interesting cause for the problem. The article states that at least one of the reasons why so many dogs are obese is because so […]
Now and then, I’ve shared some of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of my eco-friendly clothing line, Mountains of the Moon, here on the blog. It has been a huge part of my life for a very long time. Before I started this blog and the art shop, it was, for many years, my full time job. It allowed me to travel all over and have some really incredible experiences while providing a good living. It began as a labor of love right out of college, and grew into something substantial that taught me invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship, and life too. I’ve mentioned here, in a couple of posts on small business, how things began to change a few years back – and how, as a result, it has slowly become less and less of a focus for me career-wise.
Last week, I made the decision to close the business. It was not a decision that came easily, but it was time to let it go. Today, I emailed a letter to Mountains of the Moon’s customers and email list – over 15,000 wonderful, loyal people for whom I’m very grateful – explaining our decision. I decided to post that letter here as well. And for those of you who are fans of style-conscious earth friendly apparel, we’re having a huge 75% off sale today and tomorrow as well. (Woohoo!) There are details about this sale and a coupon code at the end of the letter. Thank you for letting me share.
Mountains of the Moon began 15 years ago in a tiny Oregon apartment, with some fabric scraps and a hand-me-down sewing machine set up on a cardboard box. I was right out of college and didn’t even own a computer. At the time, there was no such thing as “eco-fashion.” There were a few companies who produced garments made from hemp and organic cotton, but I wanted to take things further. I had a vision of designing fashion-forward collections that were earth conscious without sacrificing style. I decided to call the line Mountains of the Moon (after my favorite Grateful Dead song), and began sewing one-of-a-kind designs and selling them at music festivals throughout the country. To my surprise, people liked them, and they sold out – again and again. I continued to sew, set up a website, and began to make steady sales online in addition to vending at festivals and events. My dream business was on the path to becoming a reality.
Things continued to grow. I hired a team. We added a t-shirt line to the mix, as well as accessories and other goods along the way. In 2005, the business had gotten to a place where I was no longer able to keep up with the sewing on my own. I continued to design and sew the prototypes and samples, but began working with local manufacturers to produce full collections in larger quantities. We set up a wholesale program and began to sell to stores. In less than two years, over 100 boutiques worldwide carried our collections, we were showing at Chicago and Portland Fashion weeks, and my designs were exhibited on two separate occasions at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. I spoke on Mountains of the Moon’s behalf on fashion panels and at green events, produced eco-fashion events in Chicago, and worked on the side as an eco-minded fashion stylist for several bands in the music industry. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for this success. It was a magical time, getting to do what I loved and meeting so many amazing people (you!) along the way.
Sometimes paths take unexpected turns, and over the past few years, things began to change. Almost 90% of the boutiques who carried our clothing have closed, and website sales dramatically decreased as well. We sent another newsletter a little over a year ago where we were very candid about how the economy and (sadly) a decline in consumer demand for eco-friendly products had affected Mountains of the Moon over recent years. We hoped that maybe things would change, and we put a great deal of effort into attempts to make it work again, but in truth, keeping Mountains of the Moon afloat has been challenging for a while now. The expenses of keeping the website/ecommerce system and other business necessities active are now greater than the sales we make. And although my energies have admittedly shifted to focus more on other ventures (more on that in a minute), we always said that as long as we were breaking even, we would keep Mountains of the Moon open. Throughout 2014, we have failed to break even.
My wonderful long time employee Kari and I, after many months of discussion, have made the decision to close Mountains of the Moon, once our remaining inventory has been sold. Although we would love to continue to keep it running despite the losses, it’s just not financially possible anymore. That said, we do plan to keep the spirit of Mountains of the Moon alive. We will be shutting down the shopping portion of the website once our inventory is gone, and we will no longer produce clothing or vend at events, nor will stores carry our clothing. But we will keep the name, and the website will remain active on some level – even if just to share our story. Our minds and hearts will also always stay open to the possibility of creating product for Mountains of the Moon again someday in the future.
The cliche of doors opening where other ones close has proven quite true for me. Some of you have become readers of my other project, the Bubby and Bean Blog, over the the past 3+ years. And some of you have become customers over at my greeting card and art company, Bubby and Bean Art. I started the blog as a companion to Mountains of the Moon, as a way to talk about small business, fashion, green living, design, DIY projects, and other things that inspired me.
It is now, in addition to the art shop, a full time business of its own. Just as I am grateful for the success and joy that came with Mountains of the Moon, I am grateful for success and joy that accompanies the Bubby and Bean businesses. I hope that you will stay in touch, and join me over there. I will also continue to stay active on our Instagram, Twitter and on our Bubby & Bean Facebook page.
Before I go, I want to mention one more change – the one that has brought about the greatest gratitude and joy of my life. On December 28th, 2013, my daughter, Essley Morgan, was born. And as sad as I am to have to let go of Mountains of the Moon (my other baby!), I realize that perhaps everything truly does happen for a reason. Whereas Mountains of the Moon demanded constant travel, Bubby and Bean allows me to work from a home office/studio while I care for my daughter.
Although it depends on how quickly inventory goes, this will likely be the final sale newsletter that you will receive from Mountains of the Moon. So we’ve decided to make it a big one. Today and tomorrow only, take 75% off (yep, 75% off) your order at www.mountainsofthemoon.com, with coupon code THANKYOU. (*See below for details.)
And speaking of thank you, I want to end this by saying just that. I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the support that you, our customers, have given Mountains of the Moon over the years. Some of you have even been with us since the very beginning. All of you – new customers and long-time friends alike – will always hold a special place in our hearts. So thank you. A million times, thank you.
With Love and Eternal Gratitude,
Melissa Baswell Williams
UPDATE: We are selling out of inventory faster than we can keep up in the system. If you place an order, PLEASE check your email as we’ll be emailing those with orders we can’t fill throughout the day. Sorry for any inconvenience!
A week ago, I called my husband on a business trip in China for the urgent assistance in locating my DVD of Aladdin.
“Why do you need it this very second?” he asked. “You haven’t watched that in like 15 years.”
“I know,” I said, “But our daughter is singing a song from Aladdin in summer camp this week and she really, really needs to see this movie.” She’d seen it once before, years prior; my son hadn’t seen it ever. It was an unforgivable omission, one I felt an almost irresistible need to fix.
So we sat down and watched it, this movie that came out when I was still in high school, and I marvelled. The computer animation looked so dated now, the pop culture references flying over the kids’ head like a magic carpet. But it worked. It still worked, and it was all because of Robin Williams’ genius.
He wasn’t a person who had been in my thoughts much in recent times, though he was a fixture of my childhood from Mork and Mindy through Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, Good Morning Vietnam. Watching Aladdin rekindled my interest in his unique body of work and I’ve been on a Robin Williams binge this last week- Aladdin followed by The Birdcage, Good Morning Vietnam, and Mrs. Doubtfire scheduled for later this week. Robin had, in addition to his brilliant improvisation and manic energy, an exquisite ability to layer melancholy and sweet, delving into the deepest pains of humanity in a way that made you hopeful despite its ugliness, a compassion that balanced the sometimes cruel realities of being alive. He inhabited those characters in a way few others could. Williams and Alan Alda, the actors that defined the genre for me.
That level of perception and intuition about the human condition, often begets a certain creative brilliance. Comedy relies on it. It also, as we all too well know, often drags along behind it a heavy dragline of depression. It is the contrast upon which such artistry must be laid in order to make it pop. It takes an awful lot of mental energy to wield the two simultaneously, I suspect. No one described it better than, well, himself:
Phenomenal cosmic power!
iity bitty living space.
Depression is not a fight that can be won, a demon vanquished. It’s simply there, a weight people carry around and manage the best they can. Robin wrought his depression like a kettlebell, swinging up and down and up and down and in the process put out the energy that was-is- his legacy. I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been, but he did it, over and over, though his life. He made it work for him.
He was a dog lover, you know. Of course he was, right? When you live with that kind of pressure and expectation from those around you to be on all the time- why aren’t you saying something funny?- the presence of an unconditionally accepting creature is a comfort and a joy.
Having so recently been drawn back into his life and his work and his bright eyes that never entirely belied the stormy grey beneath, I was so enjoying re-experiencing the creative rush of his work, immersed in how much he gave of himself to make others smile. Today was a shock, in many ways.
And I guess that is why so many of us are so insanely devastated, at least I know I am. He always made his depression work for him, turning the swirling rivulets of thought and extremes in his brain and transforming them into art. I see in the world the same sort of wide eyed despair that followed Kurt Cobain’s death, that sense of hope snuffed out. I think a lot of people looked up to them both. They were proof positive of the transformative power of creative will, but while Kurt succumbed at a young age, Robin managed to persevere, and that made him even more infallible in our eyes.
I thought he had it figured out. With all his success and fortune and mastery of substance abuse, he was a tick mark on the list of success stories with this particular type of chronic disease. I thought he had won the battle. I was wrong.
We are reminded today, yet again, that depression is a fire that never gets put out completely, a smolder you can never turn your back on. Never, ever.
We’ll never know why this time was different, why today was insurmountable when every other day was a day to soldier on, but the world is all the dimmer with the Genie flown back home to the Cave of Wonders, beyond the horizon and beyond our grasp. All we can do now is celebrate the shimmer he left in his wake.
Look out for one another, friends, help one another. It’s a rough world out there, and we need all the joy we can get. We need each other. Tolkien said it best: “Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” We do not.
RIP Robin, kind sir. Thank you.
No human being will ever know what a cell phone smells like. But in his 4 ½ year career with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Draco the Belgian Malinois has sniffed out 1000 cell phones in prison cells. It is not in the best interest of society to allow inmates to carry on gang-related and criminal activities inside a prison. Inmates hide cell phones in places humans can’t see them, toilets, bedding, walls,…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog
Adam Vasquez, a San Antonio 11-year-old with Down syndrome, has many great qualities. One is his caring nature and desire to help others.
That’s why Adam’s mom, Michelle Morales, thought a dog would be a perfect companion for the boy. But not just any dog: when Morales spied a paralyzed yellow lab mix named Angel on the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Facebook page, she thought she might be a good choice for the nurturing boy.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, spinal injuries from a car accident in March paralyzed Angel from the waist down and she now gets around using a dog wheelchair. The staff at ACS named her Angel to fit her sweet personality.
Visit http://healthydogforlife.com and discover how Real Food for Dogs heals health problems for ultimate health and wellbeing lifelong. Dog skin allergies -…
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Doggie tips for cold weather obviously isn’t anything you care about if you live in one of the southwestern states or Florida, but for the rest of the dog owners it’s important information to help keep their dog safe and warm all winter long.
If the weather outside is too cold for you, it’s also going to be too cold for your dog. If you live in a part of the country that has frigid winters, your dog should be kept indoors as much as possible during the cold weather months and never ever leave your dog alone in the car when the mercury drops below freezing.
During winter storms, city crews often put de-icers on sidewalks and parking areas to prevent people from slipping and falling. If a dog should get thirsty and decide to lap up some of the ice that has melted from the application of a de-icer, the water melt will be toxic and can cause sickness or possible death in a pet.
Prolonged exposure to dry, cold air and chilly rain, and the sleet and snow of winter can cause problems for a dog. Repeatedly coming out of the cold into dry heat can leave a dog with dry, itchy, flaking skin or severely chapped paws. Keeping your home humidified and drying your pet as soon as it comes out of the cold weather will keep it warm and comfortable.
If your weather is really cold and your dog has short hair, you can keep it warm by buying a pet sweater or coat to help your dog retain body heat and prevent its skin from getting too dry. It’s common to see small dogs dressed for the worst of winter, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to cold weather and your big dog will be just as comfortable in a warm and toasty sweater or coat.
When you take your dog for a walk in winter weather it’s also a good idea to have it wear winter booties with warm inner linings to help minimize contact with salt crystals which can be painful to a dog’s paws. It’s also the best way to keep your dog from stepping in poisonous anti-freeze and other chemicals used to melt ice, and inadvertently licking the toxic mix off its paws after returning home.
It’s not a good idea to give your dog frequent baths during cold winter weather. Bathing a dog too often removes essential oils from the skin and increases the chance its skin will become dry and flaky. If you must bathe your dog, use a moisturizing shampoo each time and dry the dog well.
Dogs burn more energy trying to stay warm in wintertime and this can result in dehydration. You can avoid this problem by feeding your dog just a little bit more food during cold weather (what dog is going to refuse extra food!) and be sure there is always fresh water for it to drink.
I hope these doggie tips for cold weather will help some of you pet owners who suffer through those long, cold winters.
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