Have you ever noticed how the most profound and beautiful things in this world are also the most natural? A snow topped ridge sparkling in the sun transforms from a solid diamond like landscape into a flowing stream, trickling down the ridge until it reaches a cliff. The cliff, to you or I, would surely pose an end to our journey down the ridge, forcing us to turn around and find another path. But to the trickling stream of melted snow, it poses yet another stage in its ultimate journey, its ultimate purpose. From a singular snowflake, to a snow blanketed mountainside, to a stream, to a waterfall, to a lake, and beyond, the evolution of a seemingly menial "thing" becomes increasingly woven into the fabric of the beauty from which it was created. Growing up Catholic, we are taught to "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Like the singular snowflake, we are born of the earth to play a greater role that is outside of ourselves, that is greater than us alone, that is part of the journey of life we are all challenged to live. Deep, right?
Be that as it may, it is damn hard to see the beauty in the natural. We see the flashy, the popular, the new, the shiny, and quickly our minds stray from contentment to lust, from peace to hate, and from joy to depression. We want for more because others have it. We abandon our values to appease the whims of the populous. And why not? Why wouldn't you jump ship when the social media opposition is telling you that it's sinking? Why wouldn't you abandon your ideology when 3 of your "friends" shared an article praising the oppositions beliefs? It would seem that having beliefs, values, and morals have become trending topics rather than core attributes of a society. We are made to fear our beliefs, fear our natural inclinations, and fear the mob of public opinion. Sucks, right?
When my brother, Tim, and I started this company in 2005, we set out with one steadfast value : design and print shirts that we like, that we wear, and that we are proud of. This unofficial mission statement led to the creation of GreenHouse Clothing and aided in any "success" we may have garnered throughout the years. As we grew as a brand and a company, the advice and opinions of others began to hold more weight than ever before. We, primarily me, began letting the opinions and ideas of others sway our own style. We were slowly succumbing to the populous, abandoning our ideology, and following the trending topics that "everyone" was in love with. We are, for lack of a better classification, a fashion brand, so it's safe to assume that a certain element of trendiness and pop-culture play a role in our design process and style. However, it is one thing to watch the trends and create a style based on them, and it is entirely another thing to succumb to the trend as it passes. Let me put it this way, we were slowly becoming your Grandma joining Facebook, not cool (Love you MeeMaw). Lame, right?
Though the reality of this was slowly starting to sink in with me, we were experiencing huge growth in our custom screen printing and embroidery (find out more HERE) and I wasn't fully aware of how badly we had strayed from our unofficial mission statement. It wasn't until I had two separate, but equally impactful experiences, that I was shaken from my delusion. The first experience was as we were checking in our raft at the Tulsa Raft Race when a fellow rafter and potential customer approached us to talk. She mentioned that she had heard of GreenHouse Clothing and had researched our new Shirt Of The Month Club. We exchanged some pleasantries and then she asked,"I liked what I saw, but can I ask you a question? What makes you different?" I look to Tim, he looks at me, and we both let out a resounding, "Uhhhhh?" Stumped, I quickly give some form data answer about who we are, what we do, and yada-yada. Weak, right?
While everything I told her was true, I felt like a politician answering a question about anything. "That is a great question, thank you for asking it. It is questions like this that strengthen my faith in this country and how we can get America working again. My great grandfather had that same faith in this country when he came here as a migrant sheep masseuse. 'Merica." What makes us different? We used to be 3 dudes printing shirts that we wore and were proud of and would find any excuse to have a party at our house so our friends could shop our "breakfast nook turned boutique" for all of our latest threads. We would hoof it at any local event or concert hawking our wears to any who would look our way. We would post up in smoky bars for an entire night, only to air out all of our remaining inventory on the back porch for the following 2 days. We would drive an hour from Tulsa to Stillwater to print all of our shirts through the night, drive an hour back to Tulsa, sometimes not getting home until 5am, and be at our "jobs" after only a few hours of sleep. We would do it all and not get paid a red cent because we were putting everything back into the company. Awesome, right?
The second eye-opening experience was when a good friend of ours commented on a few of our recent outerwear releases. We were warming up before softball (yes, we are a bunch of has-beens that play slow-pitch softball) and he remarked that he saw some of our new outerwear and liked them. Flattered, I began to say thank you, but before I got it all out, he finished,"I was getting worried about you guys. Hadn't seen anything I liked in a while." As the dagger twisted in my side, I gulped my pride and came to the realization that he was right. Ouch, right?
Here we are, 10 years after starting GreenHouse Clothing, in the first year of our 2nd company, DuPree Sports Tulsa, and we have forgotten our "mission statement", if you will. We have forgotten who we are, who we were. We had succumbed to the mob and become what others thought we should be. Looking to the trending topic to determine our course. Blindly printing shirts without passion, without direction, and without purpose. We had abandoned the natural, the organic, the real. I couldn't stomach it anymore. So began "The Journey". The journey to regain what was lost, calm the compass, and find our "north". Like an overgrown bush or hedge, you can't simply prune a few stray limbs and regain the beauty that once was, sometimes you have to cut the entire plant to the ground. When you take away the growth, the comfort of the shade, and the smell of the blooms, you re-focus your energy on the roots. Metaphorical, right?
We have started out on a journey of rediscovery and growth. We are refocusing our energy on the natural style that was the cornerstone of GreenHouse Clothing. Offering designs and styles that we like, we wear, and we are proud of. With that said, a lot has changed since we were in college. I now have a beautiful wife, two kids, Landon (almost 3) and Lydia (almost 3 months), and a whole different style than I did back then. Jason, Tim, and I are, by most people's standards, men now with personal styles that have matured as well. With this in mind, we have created our own men's wear styles that fit who we are and what we like, with complimentary women's wear styles coming soon. We've also gotten back to the basics of who we are as consumers and what we would spend our money on. We've lowered prices on all youth apparel, because if I wouldn't spend $20-25 on a onesie or t-shirt for my kids, why would I expect you to?!? Also, increasing our focus on seasonal style and fashion with a huge new offering of youth, women's, and men's outerwear and headwear perfect for wherever the journey takes you. Cool, right?
While we know all of the above doesn't right the ship entirely, we are refocused on where we are going and who we are. We will strive for authenticity, originality, and creativity in all that we do, and ensure that it stays true to who we are and where we are going. Our journey started in 2005 and we are thankful for all of you that stayed with us. For those just joining us, we welcome you and thank you for allowing GreenHouse Clothing to be a part of your journey, wherever it may lead. Let the journey begin.
GreenHouse Clothing, LLC
3310 S Yale Ave
Tulsa, OK 74135