When I started this brand two years ago, all I really wanted to do was sell enough gear to produce the next season. To "break even." My intentions never included making money, that's what my day job was for. I'm blessed that I was able to sit in that comfort zone; where I could keep running seasons but not gain enough money from it where I had to worry about it being a source of income rather than an expensive hobby. What I really didn't expect was all of the amazing brands and people I'd meet along the way. I can't thank y'all enough for being so supportive and such great people. I think it's safe to say that at least half of my closest friends nowadays are a product of TBP, in one way or another. To every single person that bought something, said hey at a pop-up and took some stickers, or reached out to bullshit on social media, I am truly grateful.
I believe it's only natural for one's vision to shift over time. When I started the brand I wanted to do something "different" and "original" but all I really did was exactly what everyone else is doing, but in my own way. If you head back to the first blog post you'll see that I had a motive for this brand other than creating my art. And it's taken a full 180 turn since then.
The Beaten Path Distribution will probably never die, simply because I feel that I'll always need to keep making art to make me happy. I haven't designed a new product in almost three months now and it's very clear how much it's effected me. All I want to do is research fabrics and design hats and t-shirts. That being said, there's a reason I've taken a pause.
This October, Claire and I will be leaving Long Island for a bit of an extended trip. We plan to leave all of our belongings at her father's farm while we explore the country. In an odd way, the first chapter of The Beaten Path began with a cross country camping trip, and ends with a cross country camping trip. There's no true plan or final destination, which is both exciting and horrifying at the same time.
We plan to take anywhere between 20 to 40 days to visit a bunch of people and places that we haven't had a chance to visit in the past. We'll both be applying to jobs along the way, and if the right opportunity presents itself, we'll hop on it. Just gonna try to ride things out until we run out of money.
Unfortunately, it's not the easiest thing to run a brand from a tent. And it's not exactly space-efficient to carry a couple hundred t-shirts with you when you're living out of a car. So over the next few weeks we'll be doing everything we can to get rid of as much gear as possible before we leave. Be sure to check the web store relaunch for some killer deals and one off pieces. Might even add some records, vintage gear, and anything that takes up space but can be shipped easily. The more stuff we move, the less we have to bring with us and the more cash we have to keep us on the road.
Eventually, after we do settle down in a new city I plan to get together the next collection for TBP. This will be sort of a rebirth, I'll be taking it a little more seriously from a design perspective. In the past, I would rush designs and concepts just to get them out in time for a collection release. I am very much over that type of scheduling. I'm hoping to make TBP Collection 11 something way beyond what I've done in the past. I've always had an aesthetic in my head, but I've only released maybe five pieces successfully in the realm I want the brand to exist. I couldn't tell you if the collection would be two pieces or twenty. I couldn't tell you if the next chapter includes hats or roasted coffee. I couldn't tell you if the next collection will be out in a few months or an entire year from now. All I really know right now is that I have that need to create, and The Beaten Path Distribution will most definitely see a rebirth in 2017.
Until then, I'll be spending a lot of time pushing smaller items and leftovers. Hoping to bring some pins, patches, stickers and a few caps on the road with us, to help spread brand awareness throughout the US. I'll also be updating the blog more frequently to keep y'all in the loop during our adventures. Photo Journals, adventure logs and interviews will be taking precedent for the rest of 2016 and be the driving force behind the brand for a little while.
Additionally, Claire and I will both be very available for freelance work while on the trip. Between the two of us we can offer a wide range of services from graphic and web design to brand and social media strategy. I work as a marketing designer for a nationally distributed sportswear company and she's currently the art director of a large magazine.. You can check out some of my work here and here, and some of Claire's work here. The more projects we pick up, the longer we can stay on the road. Shoot us a line with whatever projects you have in mind and we'd love to help out.
Once we get closer to our departure date I'll be posting a map and schedule of our plans across all of our social media. If you live near any of the places we post along our route, or know of cool places and people to link up with, feel free to holler. Hoping to meet a bunch of our long time customers on the road, so don't be afraid to say hey. Definitely a fun and scary time for us right now, we'll see you out there and I'll update soon.
Thank you all for the love and support these past two years guys. Truly grateful.
Charles / TBPD