I will be honest. I needed inspo&grace. To this day, it is actually incredibly therapeutic for me to sit in the living room with a candle glowing, light music in the background, and let the words that I need to hear/read flow from my own fingertips onto the page. The idea started from something I was searching desperately for: the good. Not just like brunch on the weekend good, but good people doing good things, even when their circumstances are challenging, type of good.
I digress. When I started inspo&grace, all I knew was that I wanted to blog. That was my only “plan,” but I knew I wanted it to somehow grow. The only reason I have a website and not a blog-only is because I got a package website/blog template during last year’s Black Friday Sale from the AMAZING ‘with grace & gold’ gals. So, viola! I also had a website. When I was creating the various tabs on my website, I was trying to think of what all I wanted. Sure, an “about me” page was standard, as was a “contact” page. The “blog” link was an easy one. But what else? That was the very first time the thought went through my mind of wanting to start a shop someday. I thought it would be really amazing to sell shirts, and someday even just simple prints that were meaningful. But reflecting back, I never knew how meaningful this would actually turn out to be.
I have been blessed throughout my life to meet some incredible people. But maybe none as impactful as those I met through a local refugee ministry.
The people who ran the organization, the ones who tutored children all year long, the ones who started classes to teach the parents English, and the ones behind the scenes making sure any families in crisis had the support they needed. These people were doing so much good every day of their lives, and never once would ask for accolades or acknowledgement. They were as humble as they were kind. But beyond the people from the organization, were the girls that I had the honor of tutoring for one summer and one school year. They were incredibly intelligent, funny, humble, and worked 10x harder than a native English-speaker in school without complaint. I left my nights tutoring them filled with awe from the strength of their morals and character, not even considering what extremely challenging life circumstances they had lived through up to that point. As I was getting closer to my husband’s and my wedding, and new life together as newlyweds, we had to start making some changes with how we spent our time/energy to make sure we had enough to pour into one another. Tutoring would have meant an extra 1.5 hours of driving for him those nights to get to/from the place we tutored at. So with tears shed, but a grateful heart, I had to close that particular chapter of experience.
I knew that I was being called to do something to give back to these humans, but I had to figure out a way I could do it from home and in collaboration with my husband. And that is where the pieces finally fell into place. A boutique that could be used to help fund the costs of inspo&grace, in addition to giving a portion of the proceeds back to the ministry. The ideas were stewing around in my head, and then I got the swift kick that I needed to get going! Maribeth Sublette, one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met, was closing her printed clothing shop. She happened to have a ton of extra, non-printed shirts, and was selling them at a heavily-discounted cost. I snatched up as many of them as I could afford at the time, and got to make a new, sweet friend along the way. I will be doing an exclusive sale someday with those shirts, that were such a blessing and confirmation to me that I needed to make this happen.
I wanted this boutique to be a blessing to others, whilst not feeling like a burden to me. So I gave myself the gift of grace in the form of TIME. I started dreaming of this just under a year ago. But, I refused to get so stressed about it that it turned into something I HAD to. Rather, it has been something I GET to do. What a huge difference that made as I took small steps over the course of months to make this happen.
I hope and pray that this boutique will grow and take on a life of its own. The words printed on these shirts are the words that I need as reminders in my heart every day of my life. I figure, if I need them that badly, someone else out there probably needs them, too. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head as to what may come of all of this, but I will start by being grateful for today. Less than one week before the launch (that this blog is being written), I feel at complete peace (with a ping of giddy, nervous excitement in my stomach!) with the launch of this passion project. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for the support. The support of the message of inspo&grace, the people who will be impacted by the donations of this line, and even by providing business to the amazing employees of OpportuniTEES. I hope the clothing means as much to you as it does to me. This is: for YOU, for THEM, and for GOOD. <3
XoXo Lindsey Sholtis