After my husband and I soaked up the gorgeous scenery that I spoke of here, I noticed my true self start to emerge. The mountain girl part of me. I grew up horseback riding in the mountains, camping, four-wheeling in gravel pits, riding motorcycles (the smaller ones), taking long mountain walks in nature, swimming in waterfalls, picking up snakes & frogs, dancing with fireflies, running through cornfields, and all that other good stuff. I am at heart, a true nature lovin- tree-huggin-granola cruncher!
As a kid, every Saturday after church we would go on long hikes in forests with the other church members and friends. It was a lot of fun. We all had our own sack lunch or we'd gather at someone's house before or after for vegetarian food and socializing. To be in nature at such a young age, was truly an education. I believe nature teaches kids a lot about respecting beauty while capturing them in awe. I don't think they can learn that solely from video games or going to the movies these days.
I have lived in the city as well as the country, but admittedly, my best memories are shooting BB guns with my best friend Chris in North Carolina. We never shot animals, we would just line up tin cans along a fence and would aim and shoot for fun. We climbed trees, camped in his front lawn, slid down waterfalls, and ate the can of beans we bought with our "lawn raking money", and played piano afterward together. Life in the country was full of that good ol' country livin'.
So, it has always been my life's plan to get back to the country and have acreage to grow my own food and herbs and enjoy the lush deep forest. My husband and I thought about buying land in Florida, but the cost of land in South Florida, would not make owning acreage of one hundred, twenty, ten, let alone five acres a possibility for us. Then came the pandemic. I know. I hate to even reference it here in this article but it's a real part of life. I promise I won't give it more screen time than it already has, but you'll want to know about this part.
Most of our markets are in South Florida (all of them actually) and of course, we sell online as well. Most of our customers have learned about us by either living in (or visiting) Florida or having friends that live in Florida who gifted them with our artisan soaps etc. We have customers in many other states (and a few countries) however, a majority of our income was from farmers' markets. When those came to a screeching halt in the middle of March of 2020, we figured we would be okay for a few months. We had been saving to buy our land, but then the months started dragging out. Our warehouse rent and overhead were costly even for a large business let alone for a mom and pop specialty handcrafted artisan shop like ours. We were able to survive thanks to our loyal customers (thank you!) who have come to love and depend on our brand along with their family and friends who shop online (thankfully).
As I write this blog (August 11) South Florida is still only on phase one of the re-opening and while we were hoping for phase two to start, we aren't sure when that will be. So, instead of relocating in one year as we planned, we decided we better move fast before all of our savings dried up. So, when I took that trip up to the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, we spotted a new location that we could still manufacture our products in. We found a rural property that fits our budget and needs and we have already completed that purchase! Yahoo!
It wasn't easy but with a little planning and prayer, we are getting through the move and are thankful for the help from wonderful long time friends and family who also helped to make this transition possible for us. We knew we wanted to stay in business and this is how we plan on doing just that. We would never leave you high & dry without all that natural products and skincare that you've all come to love and count on, no siree! As long as we have your continued support, we will remain up and running, and please know that we truly appreciate your continued online support during this unpredictable time. We cannot do it without you so please share the links and products, with friends, family, social media, etc. That's the best "thank you" can give us!
Since we have moved, I have found that my spirits have elevated and I am thankful for the many wonderful people that have encouraged us in this new stage of our lives. We are not far. You are all still with us every step of the way. We will continue to listen and provide our entire line to everyone through continued online shopping on our website MEANDATREE.com. We value your continued support!
I slathered on some of our awesome Summer Passion Sunscreen we make and rode the "biscuit" behind the wave runner above! It was so much fun! The scenery was captivating and the weather was gorgeous! I needed that after all that's been going on and I just want to remind you-
Don't forget to take a break from the news and media and get your own peace-of -mind and joy back. "Unplugging" really helps to renew and refresh your soul from the negativity. Also, don't forget- "this too shall pass." Did you miss part 1? Click Here to Read it Now!
You are all in our thoughts and prayers and we ask to be included in yours as well. Big Hug! Many Blessings to you and yours! We are in this together! We are better together! Thank you for your support!
Stay tuned for our next adventure!
Michelle & David