Marin, Tim Parr & Caddis

Being your own boss has many benefits, one of them is meeting up with interesting people in beautiful places. Today, in Marin, I sit outside in the sunshine having lunch with the legendary Tim Parr, who’s been a driver behind iconic brands like Patagonia, Kona, and L.L. Bean to name just a few.

He’s just launched another company called Caddis, an eyewear company. It’s all about lifestyle, check out their Architects and Custodians page here, it’s about creating change, generating ideas, and spawning creativity.

I’ve been trying to get a meeting with him since last summer, after an introduction by mutual friends, the Finegold’s of Tart, as he is very experienced in working with Merino wool. It was certainly worth the wait. He gave me some great advise for Ocean SF, aside from reassuring me that we were on the right track; he advised we take our time, and make the highest quality product possible. It will take as long as it takes. True that.

We’ve taken a great deal of time to create a sustainable product that is both beautiful and environmentally responsible, and after a year and a half of working diligently, orders will begin shipping in the next few weeks.

It’s been a journey, with many twists and turns along the way, but ultimately there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a vision you created with friends on a sailboat come to fruition. This is something Tim Parr completely understands.

What an inspiring guy. And he bought me lunch. What’s not to love?

Check out his company at caddislife.com.

Love and blessings to all.

Chanel, Cigarettes & Natural Fabrics

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 7.32.15 PM
Chanel

I’ve been talking about my company Ocean SF, a sailing apparel line that has recently launched the first product, a Merino wool sustainable mid layer jacket that retails for $225.00.  In doing so, I have realized that many, many people do not understand how wool or any other sustainable product is superior to polyester.

Firstly,  I am not someone who seeks out wool products.  I am the type of person who drools over quilted $2,700 Chanel handbags.  I’m not going to lie, as much as I love sitting on mountain tops and sailing, I also love fashion.  I own a Louis Vuitton satchel that I bought in Seattle on my first business trip after graduating from college.  It cost $425.00 plus tax.  However, I’m proud to say, I used that bag for 10 years, I never bought anything else, and enjoyed the hell out of it, I still have it in my closet. One day, my daughter, Paris showed up in the city using it.  As I don’t like to share, I bought her a gorgeous bottle green Dior bag for her 18th birthday. Today, I own five bags, a white Italian Furla, as well as a kelly green Kate Spade bucket bag for the summer, in the winter I use a black Kate Spade satchel and a black woven Bottega Veneta.

So wool, was not necessarily my priority. However, as I started sailing and getting very cold and very wet, it became extremely important to me. Like many adventure seekers, I am good at preparing for the outdoors, I have many jackets and understand the advantages of layering.  One day, I was wearing a Gill Foulie jacket and under that a Helly Hansen polyester fleece.  I was perfectly comfortable, until I took a wave down the back of my jacket at 8:30 a.m. on a sunny, though not warm, September day in the San Fransisco Bay.  At the time, I had no idea I would be shaking and unable to drive when I reached my car 3 hours later.  I had spent hours in the wind and cold soaked to the skin.  I couldn’t go home just because I was cold.  In fact, I was in the middle of the Bay, so I couldn’t go home at all, for any reason.

You see, you can wear wool and get wet without being cold.  In the same way you would not wear a cotton tube sock skiing.  Skiers and boarders wear wool, or their feet would be frost bitten. Most boots leak.  Feet get wet. Cotton is not an option, polyester isn’t even a consideration. All ski socks are made of wool. Why wouldn’t a jacket be made of that as well? The fabric that we use has been custom milled with new technology designed to keep you even warmer than wools of the past, and it uses longer fibers that make it softer.  It also has the added benefit of being beautiful.

After I became educated in the pollution caused by polyester fleece – yes, it’s true scientists are finding polyester fleece in the tissue of human cadavers – it became a mission for me to educate others.  Washing polyester fleece in your washing machine releases nano-particals into our water systems that supply drinking water.  This is not a speculation, but a fact.

I often wonder why anyone would wear polyester for a bike ride?  Do you know how many chemicals are used to make a piece of fabric out of polyester, which is petroleum, which is gasoline?  The toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream as you cycle and perspire into this toxic jersey are astronomical.  We wonder why there are so many diseases today.  The studies have not been done, but it is a foregone conclusion that wearing petroleum next to your skin is not a good idea.  Similar to cigarette smoking, by the time the studies are in, it’s too late.

Wool, cotton, linen, cashmere and other natural fibers are non-toxic and non-polluting.  They become a part of our ecosystem and absorb back into the ground they came from.  They are also breathable and comfortable in addition to being very soft and beautiful.

Need I say more?

Love and blessings to all.

What Would it Take To Give Up Your Polyester Fleece Jacket?

Sustainable 100% Merino Wool Fleece by Ocean SF

Dear Readers,

Please complete the poll below to help our company Ocean SF understand what it would take to rid the world of polyester fleece jackets that currently pollute drinking water by leaching tiny particles into our water systems at every washing.

Yacht Racing and The Midwinters

Aboard the Bobbi Tossi

I joined the Race Committee in July of 2016. Yachting is not what you think, but simply a group of people who love the water, sailing and competitive sports.

It’s a cross between golfing and skiing. The people are down to earth like my fellow all-walks-of-life ski and snow board buddies, from my ski instructor days in Tahoe. Racing is similar to golfing as rules and handicaps apply, and mean that even if you win the race, you might not win the race.

The people are young and old, and from all over the world, with an incredible array of personalities and politics.

On Saturday, I was on the Mark Set boat, to set the race course before the race. We traveled a mile out and dropped a buoy with an anchor and then headed a mile down wind to set the second and watch the race. At lunchtime, we joined the rest of the committee on the committee boat sitting in the sunshine eating sandwiches, chips and dip, and lots of cookies. Sailors like cookies it appears.

I spent the entire day on the water in the sun and wind. Afterwards, the Race Committee convened to the bar. I changed out of my foulies, and looked in the mirror, my eyes were an even clearer blue green then they were before. There is always this feeling of lightness in the air near the water.

From the Yacht Club, I watch the sun go down, and sit with Bobbi and John, and talk about their nine PAC Cup races to Hawaii. Then, my friends join me, and we leave together to go to dinner.

A day like this is a cure for almost anything. I woke up this morning with a sense of happiness, grace, and gratitude.

Love and blessings to all.

Barbie Dolls & Fighting Plastic

Santa Cruz, 2004

Recently, my daughter brought up how much I hated plastic and how I wouldn’t allow anyone in our family to wear polyester when she was a little girl.

This is evidenced above, on a typical summer day, we are all wearing linen dresses. Nothing has changed, as I still wear only natural fabrics.

San Diego, 2017

I wear linen, cotton, silk, wool and cashmere primarily. I have many linen dresses and a host of white linen shirts, plus cotton shorts as I’m wearing above for the summer. In the winter, I wear long sleeve cotton T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and skinny jeans with suede ballet flats or boots.

I always disliked polyester, even as a little girl, I disliked my polyester bedspread fiercely. I was so relieved when I bought a down duvet at Mark & Spencer’s in London and a cotton duvet cover for my bed in East Finchley in my 20’s. Today, every bed in my house has a down duvet, along with a percale cover.

As an adult raising children, I resented the plastic Barbie houses, the plastic toys and especially the baby and children’s clothing that was made with polyester. It frustrated me beyond repair that I could not buy Children’s pajamas, that were not made out of polyester and covered in fire retardant. Naturally, polyester will melt into your skin if heated necessitating extreme fire retardant laws to protect sleeping children exposed to fire, but more likely than fire, is the harm caused by toxic substances near the tissue of delicate children.

As a result, I spent a great deal of time, sourcing French children’s clothing by Petite Bateau, ironically meaning “little boat” in French, when my kids were small, not to impress, but to have my children in natural fabrics. All of this long before co-founding Ocean SF.

When my daughter brought this up I asked her if she would talk about it in a video and when she came down to see our boat, Solana, and she did.

Join me in necessitating the change that must happen in our homes, our lives and our environment.

Love and blessings to all.

Big Vision

OceanSF Spring 2017-7

I’ve been told many times that I am a visionary. And it’s true, I can see things in my mind before I create them.

When we were in the early stages of planning our launch of Ocean SF, I could see my daughter standing in the red jacket with the Golden Gate Bridge behind her.  I could see it in my mind; the ruby red, her dark hair, the fog and the bridge.  I knew exactly how it would look, and predicted the atmosphere of that cold January day.

On the day my friend Nick Firestone took the photos, everything magically fell into place.  Nick, being the kind soul that he is drove all the way from Half Moon Bay to meet us.  As we pulled in and parked, I could see Nick walking toward me.  We literally took 100 shots in an hour and they were all beautiful.

My daughter and Nick Firestone, Marin County, January 2017

After, we went to lunch in Sausalito at a resteraunt called, Napa Valley Burger Company. I’ve noticed in my life that the things that happen easily come with a certain blessing. Anything, I have tried to force or control has backfired. The things that I approach with diligent planning, but a hopeful calm come easily into fruition.

Siena and Nick, Napa Valley Burger Company

From the beginning I’ve held a big vision for Ocean SF, as has my co-founder Andrew LaCenere.  We have taken our time creating our brand.  It took us an entire year to research, evaluate and then custom mill our own fabric.  We did eight months of research and testing before deciding on the Merino wool fleece that we now use.  The weave is tight on the exterior to block the wind, and soft and fuzzy on the inside to trap warmth.  We tested the men’s jacket for six months offshore and inshore on three continents.  This is not so much a company as it is a calling.

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy, there have been days when I wanted to turn back and do something easy and safe, but instead persisted in building our vision and our brand.  It has slowly taken shape with the help of our many friends, family and trusted advisors.

There is no way to play it safe in this life.  We may think we are safe, but we are not. Create your own vision, see it in your mind, and make it as big and beautiful as you can.

Love and blessings to all.

 

 

Interuption

My daughter Paris in Ocean SF

I was sitting on a sailboat, in the middle of the Bay, just off of Alcatraz, waiting for our race to start when my daughter text messaged me that the FedEx package containing our first prototype had arrived. It was June of 2016. At 11:11 a.m., at the exact moment the gun went off to start the race, she sent me back a photo of her wearing the jacket. 

June 2016, Alcatraz

In entrepreneurial circles there is much talk of interrupting certain industries, or changing the world. Andrew and I simply want to make technical adventure clothing that aligns with our sustainable point of view of beautifully designed clothing made of natural fibers like; Merino wool, linen, silk, cotton, and cashmere blends. 

I had arrived in LA with a bolt of orange Merino wool fabric and a poster sized drawing. Later, I created seams on my prototypes with dental floss and pins. I redesigned the jacket several times, and the sleeves alone several times, adding zippers and then a hidden waterproof pocket to the neckline. Nothing, had ever been more enjoyable and fun for me. 

Earlier that spring, Andrew and I met at our club in Berkeley with a roll of butcher paper and a package of pens. We outlined our products, he drew them, and together we gave them names. 

In one corner, we listed all of the possible names for our company. I remember we liked the name Hook, but passed on it, and thank goodness. We brainstormed dozens of idiotic names until Ocean SF arrived from the ether. As soon as we added it to the list, we knew it held a certain je ne sais quoi that the others did not. 

From the very beginning the brand had its own personality, and everyone we talked to loved it immediately. Ocean SF had a magic since inception that made it easy to get people to join us and contribute their unique talents to our efforts. 

Often, I tell people to find the thing they love the most in life and do that. If you do this, and you surround yourself with people who share your vision, you can achieve almost anything.

Water your seeds with hard work and determination and they will eventually bloom. And, you might just interrupt an industry, or save the world.

Love and blessings to all. 

How Ocean SF Built the Brand 

My daughter Siena in Ocean SF – Merino wool fleece jacket, cotton shirt and silk scarf
I’ve had an interest in design, and the environment since day one. Growing up with horses as a kid on a farm in the Willamette Valley, then later as an avid skier, and now as a sailor, I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors. 

And, at Ocean SF we truly seek to protect and enjoy the beautiful environment we have inherited.  Recent studies have shown that microfibers from polyester clothing is a pollutant that cannot be filtered from drinking water. Not only that, these particles, are also found in the delicate flesh of oysters and other fish on the California coast, this is not a problem for just the United States, it is worldwide. 

We also wish to work toward the reinvention of the bespoke clothing industry of the past. Where garments were made with care and were not disposable.  

We now live in a culture that is no longer enamored by the previous mindset that adored the ease of care and low cost of plastic based fabrics.  

Ocean SF is a brand for sailors first and foremost, because we seek to prove our technologically advanced fabrics in the most challenging environment possible, off shore, but our clothes are for everyone. 

Please join us in preserving our oceans and buying only what we need. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Gift of Time


There is something to be said for down time. It’s not often a person is handed the gift of time. I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning eating ice cream, red vines, and peanut butter cups while watching Pirates of the Caribbean with my daughter.

I’m typically productivity minded. The only time I relax is with friends at dinner, or at the Yacht Club, or on boats. It’s difficult to multitask on a boat. When I’m home, I time phone calls with chores. I have a set schedule. I feel I have no time to waste. Somewhere along the way, I learned not to relax. 

These last days, while caring for my daughter, I’ve trimmed my roses, weeded my flower beds, cleaned out cabinets, finished my taxes, and reorganized my coffee cups, and cooked and cooked. 

But for hours and hours, I’ve spent time with my daughter. I’ve also spent a good deal of time with Jeff, Dan and Chris, my neighbors and late husband’s golf foursome, who have been a constant in our lives. 

Last night, Jeff brought us dinner, and Chris stopped by, earlier Dan was here with donuts, and his daughter. 

I love my neighborhood, and the kind and supportive people who live around us. Guardian angels all. 

Love and blessings. 

Fear Is The Killer of Love

Fear is the killer of love. I’ve known this for a long time, although staying open to love without fear feels like playing the goalie in a game of ice hockey without any protective gear.

The same is true in business. I’ve been working very hard to bring Ocean SF to fruition. I’ve invested my time, money and heart. Along the way, I’ve tapped some of the best players from my past and have put together a remarkable team.  

We are making some beautiful things, not just for our product line, but from an environmental and socially responsible standpoint, we truly are building something very unique, and creating value not simply in what we produce and sell, but in driving our vision for environmentally conscious businesses in general. 

Our sustainable mission and love for the ocean is part of  everything we do and represent. It is the reason why we do what we do. 

Now that we are long past the point of no return, I am aware of my fear of letting go and allowing the changes that are necessary for a business to thrive and grow. 

A direction must be chosen and committed to, and faith and trust in the unknown is no longer simply an ideal, but a necessity. 

Yesterday, I had back to back meetings, I am hiring people to lay the financial future of the company, as we get in position to take money from investors. Andrew and I can no longer alone, do all of the work required, in every aspect of the business. 

To grow the business we need help, and this means trusting other people, committing to a course and executing regardless of our reservations. We understand that we can endlessly weigh the consequences of each decision, but ultimately we must decide, and each decision at this point, has enormous potential to influence our success and future.

During my morning meeting, as I was listening to my financial adviser talk about venture capital, I was nervously tipping the legs of my chair. My mother always warned me that one day, I would break the chair, but it’s a bad habit of mine, that I’ve not been able to break. Predictably, the chair gave way, and I literally fell onto the floor.  This is not something I’ll soon forget. 

I was unharmed, but afterward, I spent time contemplating the significance of this event. 

In the end, I decided to be fearless. I’ll stay calm, make wise choices, trust myself, and other people. I will remain open to change and be willing to take the risks inherent in moving toward my goals and dreams. This is of course, an evolution of sorts, to find my courage and consistently and confidently act on it. 

Sometimes, our fear is what hurts us the most.  

Lesson learned. 

Love and blessings to all.