If I have learned anything in developing Gypsy Cup, it is to always expect the unexpected. Trying to predict or even more laughable, to manage what is coming down the pipeline, is a futile effort at best. I could have NEVER predicted that I would be asked over and over questions like "how do you do it?", "what made you decide to do this?", "this is so inspiring to me. Tell me more". This is an attempt to answer some of that.
I was hesitant at first to share this. I want to be as transparent as possible. It isn't something typical businesses owners do. Share the nitty gritty. But I have learned SO MUCH about life and myself in this process. I feel like there is a shortage of content about what it is like on the journey. The actual process. Not the one that we curate on social media. So I will share mine. I will be vulnerable even though it terrifies me. How we came to be, my mission, my purpose, my goals, my struggles. Hopefully it will inspire others on their own journey. One thing that made me feel good when I was in the muck is to know that the world around you was created by people no smarter than you are. If I have what it takes, anyone does. So here it is. Round one.
One of the fundamental things that had to happen early on was a reconciliation between who I thought I wanted to be and who I actually was. This sounds simple. But think about it. I really had this idea of who I thought I should be. I live in the suburbs. I have three kids. I am in my 30's. Those labels bring societal expectations. You may even have a snapshot of who you think I am just from those statements. So step one was getting really real and honest with myself. There was a canyon in-between who I actually was and who I was beating myself up for not being. So, I started the process of stopping that. I am still working on it, it is a daily process and a cha cha back and forth sometimes before I get it right. I started on this journey of self acceptance and living more in alignment with my values. I had a notebook I literally wrote a list of who I was down so I could read it back to myself. My thoughts could not be trusted to be honest. This unbecoming had to be written and the paper didn't lie. After a lifetime of doing what I thought was expected of me, what I thought I should do, worrying what people would think, using the whole "but I'm a mom" thing, I shockingly knew very little about myself. I resolved (still do) to change this.
Motherhood is a tricky space for me. I never imagined something could be so equally fulfilling and completely draining. First, I had three babies in 5 years. We had moved 3 times in that time frame. My husband switched jobs twice. I quit my job in 2012 after our second child to stay home. I looked at this as an honor (and it IS) because I really, truly was, grateful to be home with my 2 kids under 2. Looking back, I also really, truly hated the job I left, which made the switch easy. Going to work every day sucked the life out of me and left me SO unfulfilled. Couple that with leaving babies that desperately needed me made it doubly painful to go sit in a cubicle and waste away. Back then, it felt like the right thing to leave and it was.
Fast forward to 2014 after the birth of our third baby. I began to feel really....... lost. I didn't want to say it out loud because I was home with my kids. I knew I was lucky. I didn't take it for granted. And being home did make me happy in SO MANY ways. I was really, really thankful the kids didn't have to go to daycare like I did as a kid. I liked being home. Kind of. It was such a strange feeling. I wanted to split in two. One Linsay to be the caregiver and another Linsay to create. It was an identity struggle that came to a head around that time. I worked my butt off previously to put myself through college, left a good paying job that I hated (but still) and now I was drowning in motherhood. But I also didn't really want to be anywhere else. Seriously. I wanted to stay home and not stay home. Does that make sense? NO? It does not. But that is motherhood. Or at least it was for me.
It didn't help that our third born was the.worst.sleeper EVER. And I like sleep. A lot. She was horrible. HORR-i.BLE at night. And I tried everything that I was comfortable with trying. I knew the tricks and after 3 kids. I also knew that it most likely was just something that would have to pass. I just want to set the stage for you in complete honesty. I was a pretty happy, suburban, college educated, drowning, absolutely exhausted mother, slowly losing anything that resembled herself 5 years prior. I spent a lot of nights on the couch, holding my baby in that day's preferred position. It changed constantly. I usually ended up in some contorted one arm, baby hold. One night, after a particularly long no-sleep phase, I sat on the couch, holding a baby on one side and my iPhone on the other. I was scrolling through Instagram, it was 1 AM and the only thing I could do with one hand and half awake brain. I can't say that I remember exact details of that night but I know that I just felt....... lost. And guilty. Because I love my babies SO much. Even the non sleeping one that was making me nuts. I needed something. Anything. And that night I got it.
Someone (couldn't tell you who) shared a picture of a vintage teardrop trailer that had been retrofitted as a little coffee shop. It was so cute. Pictured in a woodsy place somewhere. It was like a lighting bolt hit me. My heart started pounding and I knew. This was it. It combined my three loves. Coffee, travel and my kids. I could do all three with this! I could instantly see myself at the espresso machine (never worked one at that point) and my kids climbing those trees, laughing running around. I could see us traveling all over, going to festivals, making great coffee, making adventure a part of our family culture. It just felt right in a way that I had never felt before. I didn't want to copy it exactly.......I wanted to give life to what I felt that moment. I wanted to make our version. I wanted to feel like I did right then, forever. I saved the picture wondering how the hell I would explain this idea to Neil. I went on to day (night?) dream until sleep finally found me.
Beginnings are messy. I would love to tell you I burst up in the AM and told Neil right away and he was completely agreeable and we just decided to "go for it". That stuff is for movies and quotes, not real life. In all honesty, I forgot about it for a couple days. I noticed every time my mind wandered off, it would go right to that little trailer. Later that week, during nap time, folding laundry the name Gypsy Cup came to me. I began texting a dear, dear, friend of mine about this idea. One I knew I could trust with the fragility of this dream that was keeping my mind going.
We met for coffee one morning shortly after my couch epiphany. It was one of two mornings a week the older two were in preschool and I schlepped my tired self and non sleeping baby to a coffee shop to meet her. I finally said my idea out loud while we were standing in line to order. It sounded SO ridiculous out loud. Me. Building a coffee shop. On wheels. In Gilbert, AZ. And taking my kids with me. HA. That is a cute idea. Was I a barista? Nope. Did we have any money? Nope. Lot of debt tho. Did I have any help or someone to partner with? Nah. It. was. nuts. It was a crazy notion. But......crazy notions......... don't you just love those?
Here is the thing about a really good friend. They don't let you off the hook when they see a spark. They don't listen to your excuses and they don't care if you are tired. I sat bouncing a baby on my lap and she got out her phone calculator and speculated about what kind of sales I could potentially do with my fictitious trailer. Answering any challenge I could come up with through my bloodshot eyes and (probably) dirty clothes. She kept pointing to the phone screen. "See, see...... LOOK. Look at this. Not so crazy after all? You are NOT crazy". She told me to go home and start writing down my vision in complete detail. Getting it all out. On paper. She encouraged me to pursue this one relentlessly and immediately.
I get emotional when I think about that day still. I couldn't tell you if it was a Tuesday or a Thursday. I don't know what happened the rest of that day. I don't know that I even did what she said to right away. But I do know how I felt driving home. I felt heard and validated by someone I loved and trusted. I felt like I wasn't completely insane. I felt like I was drowning but just got a gasp of air before I totally went under. Fresh air filled my life. And though it would go back to normal, I would get bursts of fresh air now and again and with that breath came a whole new life. It changed everything for me........that day. It is a powerful thing to have someone show up for you like that in one of your darkest times and light a match. I will never forget what that first breath felt like and I will forever be grateful she brought that proverbial match with her to coffee. Without it, Gypsy Cup may very well still live in the musings of my head. And that is the absolute truth.
So just like that, Gypsy Cup was born out loud. In the most non-Pinterest, unconventional, unexpected way. To someone wholly unqualified, broke, overwhelmed, exhausted and over committed. I am an intentional dreamer that became an accidental business owner. But I knew enough to know, lightning rarely strikes the same spot twice. I had a vision and a mission. And even if it took me forever, I knew, someday, the picture of the trailer on Instagram....... would be mine.