Micro Entrepreneurism, Simple Living & Art
RAGGEDedge Gear has a history that goes back to 1996. That is the year my mom made the first official RAGGEDedge bag. At the time, we lived in this really cool Victorian style house, built in 1902, that just so happened to be waterfront property. It was the house she bought after her first divorce, back when waterfront property was still affordable to poor single moms. I believe the year was 1989.
As my mom says, the house had character, the kind of charm that only oldness can bring. It was pea soup green on the outside, and a collection of off whites, mustard yellows, and more pea soup greens on the inside. It was awful. But she saw the potential, a talent that eventually I picked up on.
When we moved in, we all slept in what would become my bedroom, because it was the first room my mom had painted. At the time, I was obsessed with purple and teal. So my mom, never having been afraid of a little color, painted my walls teal and the trim purple. It was outrageous, but I was pretty sure I had the coolest room ever, even if the rest of the house looked like a dump.
But that dump turned out to be one of the best experiences of my childhood. The dump became a house, and it became our house. My mom put my brother, Zak and I to work. I have no idea how she had the patience, but she taught us how to scrape, sand and paint. We helped, in some form or another, repaint the entire house. It was a family project when we tiled the bathroom floor and the kitchen back splash. And when I couldn’t help with the actual work, usually because it involved ladders or power tools, I was excited to be the designated gopher: getter of all things needed by person doing actual work, sandwiches included. That house is where we learned to work together as a family on a common goal and to take pride in that work. I don’t know if my mom knew what she was doing, and what she had set in motion when she bought the house, but I have a feeling she figured it out. It has taken me 13 years to realize the infinite beauty of what that house project instilled in us as a family.
By the time we moved, in December of 1996, the house was a work of art. The outside was now painted 2 different shades of beige, with 9 different trim colors, all inspired by the sunsets we saw everyday from the front porch. Colors which she had agonized over for months, getting to know the guys at the paint store up the road on a first name basis in the process. The gardens had become perennial flower beds with the help of donations from neighbors and friends. And we had a white picket fence out front, which I was most proud of because Zak and I had been responsible for the rebuilding, painting, and making of a new gate, us getting to know the guys at the hardware store.
The inside was a whirlwind of color in every room. No two were alike, very little was white, and to make it even crazier, Mom experimented with all sorts of fancy painting techniques- rags, squeegees, sponges, in an attempt to make the uneven plaster walls less noticeable. It was eclectic for sure, but it was us.