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?
My high school boyfriend taught me how to ski by throwing me down the face of Mt. Bachelor. He took me down a treacherous black diamond trail, ironically called Texas, that ran from the top of that mountain straight down to the Lodge. It was one of the most terrifying episodes of my life, but I soon mastered the basics and was hooked.
At Oregon State, my then boyfriend, took me on a ski trip my freshman year. There was nothing about it that I didn’t like. I loved spending time in the cabin with friends, skiing all day with the snow falling, and sitting at the top eating lunch overlooking a vast and pristine valley.
Many ski trips followed, including one to Whistler, Canada with my Alpha Phi Big Sis Susie White, also an avid skier. We could not of had more fun.
I didn’t think of myself as an environmentalist then. I only knew that I loved nature. And there wasn’t anything I enjoyed more than skiing down a snowy mountain with the people I loved. I realize that what I valued most was the serene and unspoiled beauty of these landscapes. I was blessed to be able to share this love with my own children who spent the majority of their childhood in Lake Tahoe, winter and summer, either skiing, hiking, or paddle boarding.
When I found sailing, I felt the same way about it. I love the beauty of the ocean, the gorgeous Islands that sit off of San Francisco, the inlets around Tiburon and the incomparable beauty of sitting on a boat as the sun sets behind the Golden Gate Bridge. These settings and the people I am with have combined to create some of the most priceless moments of my life. So, that is why I am an environmentalist. I think in many ways, we all are environmentalist, we have to be, it is no longer a hobby, but a necessity of this life.
The Trident Project, our nonprofit, has an Ocean clean up scheduled for the end of January, 2018. We will be partnering with Save The Bay, and will provide an environmental education component geared toward the elimination of plastic usage, as well as a clean up effort to remove plastic and other garbage from San Francisco Bay (I will share more as we get closer to the date).
Along with all the other environmentalists, or nature lovers, I will dedicate my life to preserving these beautiful places for the people I love, my own children, and all the children that come after them. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my life.
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.