People change; plans change; visions change; basically everything changes. I once wrote a blog about how the only thing that’s constant in this life is change. Being in a constant state of evolution isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, I believe that being in that constant state of evolution is the outward portrayal of an inner openness, an inner enlightenment, an inner state of being constantly aware.
Wood and Water is no different.
Once upon a time, Wood and Water was a coffee shop, then a bookstore, then a photojournalistic documentation of our travels across the United States. At one point Wood and Water was a wilderness retreat, offering a safe place for others to come recharge their batteries, escape from the constant stressors of “everyday life”. This was the vision for Wood and Water when we were camp hosts in the Sierra Nevada mountains, just 30 minutes south of Yosemite.
Being camp hosts was a cherished time for us. We fell in love with our coworkers. We adored being outside. We felt it our duty to take an evening stroll throughout the campground every night, chatting up the talkative, pouring one down with the drinkers, toking up with the stoners; just to make sure all of our campers were enjoying themselves.
There was one family in particular that was there for about a week, and their campsite was directly in between our travel trailer and the kiosk where I spent my days; so naturally, I walked right through and made friends in doing so. On one of my treks through their campsite, we made plans for us to come over that evening, have a couple of drinks, just hang out for a few. So we did.
Over the course of conversation, we found out that the patriarchal figure of this family was an early retired Wall Street broker, and had done fairly well for himself. Being ridiculously excited about our vision and ideas for Wood and Water Wilderness Retreat, we shared our thoughts with him, a man of success, a man of experience, a man who no longer worked for the man.
He tore our ideas apart. Not really, but that’s how I felt after he spoke. He told us to not rush into anything. He told us we were young. He told us not every business is meant to be a success. He told us to not take any steps toward our vision until we closed our eyes, walked through every scenario in every plausible way, and once we were at the end of the journey to sit down and have a cup of tea.
I remember walking away from this man and that conversation feeling enraged. How dare he challenge our ideas, our passion? These ideas we conceived were all we had. Looking back now, I understand that’s why I felt so defeated, like someone was ripping a piece of me away, not even giving it a chance to grow and become a healthy part of me.
Time went on, we moved from the pines of California to the desert of Arizona, and Wood and Water evolved some more. At this time I was in school for herbal medicine making, and falling deeper and deeper in love with the healing powers of nature. Wood and Water transitioned from a wilderness retreat into an herbal product line, helping people heal naturally, without applying harmful chemicals in and on their bodies. We moved from the desert of Arizona to the pines of Colorado, and Wood and Water found roots in the community of Pagosa Springs.
Over the course of the next few months, Wood and Water gained some interest, and was asked to be a part of an art fair in Denver. We applied, got accepted, and then started the process of preparing 26 different products to sell at a market that we had never been to before. That market turned out to be one of the best things to happen to Wood and Water, as we gleaned information from other vendors, learned about what our consumer wants, and the best way to give it to them.
From that art fair, Wood and Water evolved again. We spoke with trusted sources, we met with marketing professionals, we sought out those who could guide us in our journey. We phased out most of our products that were not necessarily doing that well, or that did not give us the best return, leaving those products that made the most sense logically both as a producer and a consumer. We knew we needed a special niche, and herbal tea filled that niche quite well.
Since February of 2017, Wood and Water has developed into southwest Colorado’s premier provider of organically sourced and wild-crafted herbal healing teas. We have both left our jobs to focus 100% on our endeavor, and have definitely learned a thing or two in working for ourselves. Because of certain restrictions in the state of Colorado, we are only able to sell our product directly to the consumer. This has allowed for us to promote our teas through fairs and festivals, Pop-Up shops, and home-based tea parties.
The other day I was looking through some old pictures, reminiscing about our time in June Lake as camphosts, and I remembered that man who shredded our ideas about Wood and Water Wilderness Retreat. I smiled, as I remember his voice echo so clearly in his command to close our eyes, walk through every scenario in every plausible way, and once we were at the end of the journey to sit down and have a cup of tea.