I often talk about how Earth Day has played an important role in Cayligraphy. It was intentional that I chose to launch my Love Your Mother tree planting program on Earth Day 2019 and it's that same intentionality that I use as a compass for my business and life. Does it always point True North? Nope, sometimes I have to recalibrate it and make some adjustments because I'm a human.
Frankly, even though this core value of loving Mother Nature is so intrinsic to Cayligraphy, I have a hard time talking about the intentionality that goes along with it. Talking about my "why" can feel like a marketing ploy and I'm uninterested in any inauthentic marketing. I've had some very loving and kind friends help me keep realizing that sharing my passion doesn't have to be slimy.
I'm adjusting my compass a bit and admitting that I could have done a better job communicating to y'all, so, with that in mind...
Let me tell you about my why.
The idea was simple: Nature is my home, my inspiration, my nourisher of mind and body. I want it to be around and healthy because of these reasons, so it is my responsibility, and my joy, to do what I can with what I have whenever I am able. I love when companies/people/artists/organizations value more than their bottom line. The best companies recognize a rising tide lifts all boats. Early on, I knew in order to not lose my way in the building of Cayligraphy, I had to maintain my core value of doing more than the minimum. I don't think I'm unique in this--actually, I know I'm not because I am a loyal customer to many companies who practice this in their own sphere. If the minimum is making stickers that are fun and look cool so I can sell them and use that money to make more to sell and use that money to make more to sell so I can pay my bills and sell and make more stickers, then doing something more would be taking some profits and supporting something more than myself. For me, it was a natural decision to choose trees. Specifically, reforesting what we as humanity devoured.
I chose to start the Love Your Mother program because I didn't want to wait to be "successful" to give back. If I only planted ten trees through the duration of this program, that would be okay because it was never about the numbers.
Well, it was never only about the numbers. I had to find the balance of supporting something larger than myself and also still putting food on the table so I began by limiting the Love Your Mother program to a few stickers. In April 2019, I had two stickers in the Love Your Mother program. You all showed up in such a big way, I felt I could do more so by the end of 2019, I had 15 stickers in the program. And then y'all kept showing up. So I kept showing up, too and in January 2020, I expanded the program to include all my stickers--which averages around 40 designs in the shop at a time.
Through talking to you over Instagram and in person at The Olive Branch and shows, y'all made me realize that the Love Your Mother program could be more than a fun bonus to purchasing stickers, but a driving force for good. A small idea became a BIG one.
Each year, I write out some goals and some dreams. I keep the goals manageable and achievable and come up with the craziest dreams I can that feel sort of out of reach. One of my big dreams for 2020 was to plant 1,000 trees--for context, almost tripling what we did in 2019. Then someone pushed me to dream bigger and I thought about all the times I upped the game and y'all stepped up with me. And then I started #theyearof3000trees.
This crazy year, #theyearof3000trees, is born from my "why." Loving our Mother is more than planting trees, but it's a great place to start.
At the time of me writing this, you and I have planted 394 trees in 2020 for a total of 746 trees in the last calendar year. It's not about the numbers. But doesn't that just give you goosebumps? You and I are doing that. You and I are helping to reforest areas such as Appalachia, California, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Haiti, the Amazon. If ever there was a time for the music to swell, it's right now.
I'm not naive. I know that 746 trees planted in the face of 15 billion cut down a year barely makes a scratch. Oof, even just typing that was depressing. But this is where I come back to my compass: The best way to effect change is to do what we can with what we have whenever we are able.