When did Teysha begin...?
It could be said that Teysha begun 24 years ago when we were born. Or 8 years ago when we became close friends and co-dreamers on an environmental science trip to Hawaii. Or 6-8 years ago when we each made our first solo trip to Central America. Or 3 years ago when we were both doing life-changing internships and study abroad in the Americas. Or 2 years ago when we graduated from school, or in January 2012 when we set off to Panama, or in May 2012 when we had our first pop up shop. We're calling May the anniversary, but it's all relative :)
The point being that Teysha, or the idea of Teysha has been inside of us forever because it is what we are meant to do in life. No, not make shoes. But to connect people, to empower others, to travel and explore, to preserve the earth, and to change the world! Teysha is a manifestation of our past experiences, values, and passions, and it is the highest blessing to have the opportunity to bring it to the world and be met with such amazing support.
When we left for Panama in January of last year, I have to admit I was a little freaked out. But with all things in life, being a little scared and taking a big risk usually leads to good things if you have good intentions. We spent those 10 weeks in Panama doing a lot of thinking, a lot of searching, a lot of prototyping, searching for artisans, making friends, writing, planning, being frustrated, being hot, but being really excited for whatever was going to come of this seemingly crazy idea. On paper and in our head, it was simple. There was SO much we didn't know about starting a business, especially a multi-national, cross-cultural, manufacturing and retail business, it was definitely for the best that we didn't know how much we didn't know.
The journey so far has been like a winding road with lots of hills- you feel your destination and vision, but can only see so far ahead. So you keep going, and more and more the next steps become clear. For most of the past year, we had literally no idea what was going to happen further than the next 4 weeks. Every month or every couple weeks we'd reach a new opportunity, or find our selves in a situation that we had not anticipated. Our shoes being shown to Blake Nordstrom two months after our first sale? Being selected as a YouthTrade company? Getting in to ACL?? -- just some of the situations where we were like "woah.... what???". It's truly like being on a roller-coaster. Always exciting, sometimes scary, ever-changing, and wild.
I think there are many points in everyone's life where you don't quite feel ready for something, or you feel a little scared or nervous, but if you just say YES, you will find that you get ready quickly to meet the challenges and opportunities! Whether that's taking a new job, leaving your current work, going on a trip, starting a new project-- take a leap of faith, dive in, follow your heart and through that you'll be where you are meant to be. Share what's inside of you with the world!!
It has been so important for us to keep our eye on our vision and mission- to create a global community of action, opportunity, and respect for people and nature. There have been many challenges, but we've gotten through them with a ton of help from our friends.
We owe so much to all of the incredible artisans who have become our family and friends over the past year. Jorge and Claudia in Colombia, Sue and Rodelick in Panama, Sonia and Carlitos in Guatemala- and the hundreds of other men and women that we've worked with in the past year inspire us endlessly with their hard work, commitment to beauty and community, and respect for the earth.
In the beautiful words of Travis, "Teysha is the world's, not hardly me and sophie's or yours; it's a lot
of people. Everyone is shaping and creating it. I would just like to say
humbly for us all, that Teysha's most inner essence is the Mayan and
Kuna weavers that are our backbone and strength. Their commitment and
humility in their artform is something that we should all strive to
understand and incorporate into our lives. Imagine the patience,
creativity, and time that goes into each huipil/mola. This is an action
that is incredibly far from our understanding and activity in the world.
It is a truly beautiful thing."
I really want to thank our community of incredible supporters this past year. From our first Pop Up Shop at Sno Beach (thank you Elizabeth!!), the love and support of our friends has been truly uplifting.
Every. Single. Person. in this journey is a huge part of our company. I know 100% that we would not be here today if it weren't for all of you. From our families who let us take over their living room and garage as a shoe warehouse (THANK YOU), to our parents with their wise advice and support, our mentors who are there to offer their perspectives on everything we don't know about international development, business planning, accounting, our dear friends who have helped us immensely with everything from graphic design, website building, marketing plans, help at shows EVERYTHING, plus being there to drink beers and have fun, to the amazing women who hosted us for trunk shows at their homes and helped us meet more and more women and Teysha allies, people who have helped us make connections and told us about events, the HOPE Farmer's market ladies and community, thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!!
Some of the organizations or institutions who we want to give a shout out to: HOPE Farmer's Market, YouthTrade, Whole Planet Foundation team, Center61, Academy for Conscious Leadership, our Trunk Show hosts, amazing local boutique owners, fellow Austin social entrepreneurs. <3 <3!!!!
We are also so proud to be building the most kickass team of world changers and entrepreneurs. We are so thankful to have Sanders, Tessa, Hamilton, Clay, Hanna, and everyone else along on this crazy journey with Travis and me.
So we are reaaaaaally really really excited for the next year in Teysha world. Feeling so happy about our amazing products and artisans, our partnerships that we are building, the events coming up this summer and fall, and the opportunity to bring all of you down to Panama/ Colombia/ Guatemala with us!! :) :) Hip hip, HOORAY!
And we wanted to share some pictures of this past year!
I’m so happy for you both! You have the vision and the drive that has made your endeavors a success and has thereby blessed the artisans who make these beautiful molas! Carry on! I know there is more to come!!!
Sofie and Travis, we are so proud of you guys for following your dream and making that dream a reality. You are inspirations!
SO SO proud of Teysha!!! What y’all do is truly inspiring and know that this is just the beginning and can’t wait to see where this journey takes y’all!
You both are an inspiration to me and many others. Your heart is totally in the right place. You are effecting change on a global scale. Go, Teysha!