Verse on our hang tags...What's up with that?
We have gotten so much love for our knits and for that we thank you. One thing I wanted to call your attention to is the hang tag. On one side you will see the BGG logo and on the other, a scripture that says: "Never cease to do good for in due time you shall reap a reward. Galatians 6.9
What on earth does it mean?
Well, to be honest, sometimes I wish I didn't know what it meant so well. But I will take a stab at explaining it to you and will also share why we chose it as our launch verse.
BGG Knits was an endeavor that took over 5 years to launch. We had the idea, mostly from our interaction with the cooperative that needed work and had amazing talent...we just needed to assemble all the working parts. We encountered obstacle after obstacle every year from conception to execution and I will be completely honest: it was draining!
Picture it: we had a God dream. We had an idea that would help his people by giving them work. They had the God-given skill to create beautiful knits, my business partner and I had the skill set to run a business and experience to start it from the ground up, but all we needed was a willing public and a way to plough through all the obstacles.
Well, every year we experienced hardship and losses. First, the co-op was not understanding our designs: some were not practical enough causing oversized sweatshirts to get misinterpreted in production. Some were too unrealistic to execute especially from two business owners who didn't know how to knit themselves!! Then, after we got passed design interpretation problems, we encountered sizing and quality control. The idea that an item must be usable for a group that has been knitting for craft was not an easy concept to instill. There were gloves that were asymmetrical, arm holes that were not big enough for human wear, and neck-holes that were best for a 2 year old. These were some of the problems we encountered around year two - four!
Couple that with alpaca shortages in Peru and yarn sourcing problems regarding consistency of dyed fibers (very hard to do with natural pigments), and we were just so disillusioned!
Were we crazy? What were we trying to do? Did we presume too much? Was this really a God-given dream or was this just us? Did God have any involvement in this?
All I kept on hearing during that time in my private time with God was: "just keep going."
Mostly due to insanity (and the faith of my business partner, Cess), we did. I wanted to give up folks, many, many times...almost every day!
Then came the day that one of the co-op's worker's husband burned ALL of our in-house samples, patterns and business notebooks. He essentially burned EVERYTHING we had at origin (in Peru).
Jaw dropping. This was the perfect time to give up and let the dream go. We had been paying out non-sellable samples to the co-op for about four and a half years, had no yarn to continue, no more money because our savings had been dried up, and such little will in our tired little hearts. I started to articulate my desire to let this idea go to my business partner and to the co-op. What happened afterwards was amazing. My business partner, and her amazing gift of faith, was not on-board to let go, not yet at least. She was almost there but she still had hope. The co-op definitely was not there. They did not want to give up and still had a lot of fight in them!! I was the one that had to make the call, as founder and majority owner and co-op manager, the decision really was up to me. To be fair to everyone involved, I went into prayer for weeks to figure this decision out. Every ATOM in my body wanted to say: "we tried, time to accept failure and move on!"
But something happened on my knees everyday that I cannot take credit for. I went from an extremely decisive “NO” to an extremely decisive "keep going."
I don't know how to describe what happened other than, every time I prayed, I still wanted to hold on to my "no," but something shifted to make that "no" less real.
Then, several weeks later when I wanted to make the announcement at a co-op conference call, I couldn't even make the "no" come out of my mouth. There was nothing in me that that felt "no" anymore. I don't know what happened or HOW things changed but I couldn't be dishonest with myself or everyone else. All I thought was that we will keep going until we can't and if there was still some will inside of me, then we could…. so we did.
Now, five and a half years later I get why we chose that scripture. It was so prophetic for what we would endure bringing this company to life. Never cease to do good for in due time you shall reap a reward….simply put, it was something we lived out the last six years!
People, listen up:
You WILL have callings in your heart that are illogical and seem impossible. Some will have abilities to do amazing work in the private sector but an even greater longing to serve in the public sector and your heart will want to make the bold choice to serve others but your fear will limit you.
My advice to you is to never cease to do good. Keep going. Make the decision to believe that our amazing Creator put that dream in your heart and will guide you through it.
Obstacles will come: never cease to do good.
Fear will set: never cease to do good.
Impossibility will reign in the logical sphere of life: never cease to do good.
You will want to give up: never cease to do good.
If your goal is to do good: guess what happens? Some time down the line you are so convicted to doing good that you don't care about the reward but guess who does? God. Our Creator sees the works you do in secret and rewards you for it. He rewards your heart and that is pretty awesome.
Back to our BGG story. So now that we made it to our launch, we are not rich and we still have obstacles but the rewards have already begun!
The day we had the conference call with the co-op, the day we decided to continue, we heard the stories of how many ladies could now afford to give their kids money for school supplies. We heard the stories of wives with drunk husbands that now had money to buy food and support their kids and who no-longer had to tolerate an abusive husband because of lack of money. We heard stories of women who never learned anything other than knitting and who now felt so knowledgeable in doing something that helped support their families economically. We EVEN heard stories of husbands who worked for the municipality of where the co-op members live that wanted to JOIN the co-op because their wives were paid more than them and we paid reliably!!
Yes folks, men asking their wives to teach them to knit! Goodness.....all this is a dream, I swear. Other rewards came in the form of prayer and encouragement the day we launched at Catalyst Atlanta 2016. We had so much support. People came up to our booth and asked if they could pray over us and the business. People came up to us and bought things for their college kids. Pastors asked if they could have their youth work with us. And, the most touching was when a nun came up to us who had collected money from her monastery to support the women at the co-op.
Never cease to do good for in due time...you shall reap a reward.
This may not seem like the reward you dream of but it is "A" reward and if we keep not ceasing, others will come.
We are not yet profitable as a company but what God gave us on launch day was certainty or what business folks in social entrepreneurship call: concept proof.
We have touched people’s lives, both co-op and BGG Knit buyers, and they have touched ours. Thank you people for helping us realize our dreams in "never ceasing to do good." ~Jen