Wow. I cannot believe it has already been one year since the official launch of Barefoot Nation. I can distinctly remember the day before the website went live. So many sleepless nights, wondering will the site work, will people order, will we attract citizens that get our message, etc.
Then, after all the previous year of planning, designing, paperwork, organizing, meetings, phone calls, emails, November 27th finally arrived. Our initial concept of Barefoot Nation was now a reality. That same day, only seconds after the website was up, we received our first online order for a shirt in the Jochi Collection. We were ecstatic! It was only the beginning.
I can recall traveling the entire East Coast for our very first tradeshows as a new brand. A new- found friend from Jersey probably gave me the best advice I have heard yet. He told me, “You have an awesome name, great merchandise, and an incredible story. Just weather the storm.” It did not mean so much at that time, but now it surely rings true. It has only been a year, but we have learned so much and come so far. Each trade show or event brought their own “storm” but we always weathered it and successfully sailed through. It is amazing what positive attitudes and determination can do!
Then, we attended our first festival as a vendor in Padre Island, Texas. It was only a one day, seven-hour event. I remember my family saying, “Remember, we may not sell one thing, but we will learn something.” However, we had a fantastic turnout! People began purchasing shirts before the official opening and we nearly sold out of everything! We all knew immediately that this was the way to build the brand. Meeting so many wonderful people who were truly living the Barefoot Nation lifestyle, was our sign to continue attending as many coastal festivals as we could.
Hailey and I have learned so much this past year. Yes, we do argue and disagree sometimes (after all, we are siblings!), but I definitely could not ask for a better business partner. She continues to be the creative force behind the brand. Setting up our pop up store, working on new designs, and creating social media posts are her talents. On the other hand, I promote the brand by going into new retail stores, sending emails, and scheduling festivals. I truly enjoy talking to new people at the festivals or on social media and telling our story. Each festival brings new leads and possibilities for our brand. This always gives me a new driving force, ambition, determination, and excitement that words cannot describe.
I want to sincerely thank all of you citizens who have helped Barefoot Nation have an incredibly successful first year. Even if it was just to listen to a little story that happened in my backyard, to view our products, buy merchandise, or to just wish us luck, we appreciate every little bit! We cannot wait to see what year two will bring!