Over three years ago I started my sustainable sailing apparel company Ocean SF. At the time I was interested in extreme sports. I spent all my free time on a mountain or in high winds in San Francisco Bay.
After my husband’s sudden death I stopped everything. It forced a retreat in me that I would have thought unfathomable before it happened. I went into a chronic state of self preservation. I wore my life jacket sitting on a docked boat and refused to walk to the bow in even the slightest breeze. I had a season pass to ski that I didn’t use. I worked three jobs and saved my money.
The company I had started prior to this had an unstoppable momentum and even my own fear and apathy couldn’t stop it. On my good days, I did my best to move it forward, while I struggled with my other responsibilities. Two kids, a dog, two cats, two homes and three part time jobs to pay the bills. On my worse days, I saw that I had designed a line of clothing for a person who no longer existed. I didn’t need my elegantly simple black bikini to wear when I threw my paddle board into Lake Tahoe on a hot July day. I didn’t need my Italian cotton T-shirts with the words LOVE written across the chest in bright pink letters for yoga. I wasn’t doing yoga because I could not stop breaking my left arm.
The irony of fear is that the harder you try not to get hurt the easier it is to do so. I wasn’t a ski instructor taking five eleven year old boys on the blacks. Or, standing on the frozen mountain waiting to ski with two competitive brothers who grew up in Banff. Skiing with them was an exercise in danger. Every time we were together I was waiting for one of them to turn into forest wall paper. Their wipe outs were historic. Having an ego then, I insisted on keeping up, regardless of the treacherous conditions.
On the first anniversary of my husbands death I jumped off a rock in Tahoe and broke my arm, on the second, I tripped in my house and broke my arm again. The second time much more seriously. I spent both summers in a cast making it difficult to sail, and paddle boarding was truly out of the question. There is no such thing as safety.
My brand following continued to grow as I nursed my broken heart, bones and spirit. Investors came out of nowhere, and partners emerged to push me forward. Most recently, Paul and his team at Boomarang contacted me after I pitched Silicon Valley Forum. Now, they run Vintage Ocean SF also accessible from our main site under the Vintage tab.
Now, sustainable clothing is mainstream, our earth is healing, and everyone is home nurturing their own spirits like I have been doing for the many days before. My life has changed little since Convid-19 entered the picture. I’m on Zoom daily with my grade school language arts students. My daughters are home. I’m writing and working on my company like I always do.
The fear of the future that I once felt so acutely has evaporated. What will happen next? I don’t know. We never do.
Love and blessings to all.