On the Nightshift.
I drank my first coffee, in high school, at the Athens Waffle House right beside I-65. It was weak but it was the strongest thing I'd drank up to that point. It was cooling down while Willie Nelson was coming up on the juke box and it is a memory I've had burned into my brain since. I spent all kinds of nights there in the years since, as a young guy then as a college guy, then as a married guy, then as a father, then as a father twice-over. There ain't any close to us here in Boston, but you know right where to find me when my travels take me back home. At a booth in the back, with a pot of coffee, a table full of friends, and a plate of hash browns all the way.
Several years ago at the Thanksgiving table we started talking about names for our first child. Pops brought up a bunch of different family names. Since our family is Cherokee there are some great ones and one name in particular stuck with me: Billy Bible. I thought it fitting for this print that has six crosses. Crosses being the Native American symbol for stars, representing high ideals, that appear on the state flag behind the peace pipe and the olive branch. Printed up with blue, to represent devotion. Our child didn't end up being called Bible when it was all said and done, but we still point her to those high ideals on which Billy and our people set their hope.
I look at our 1946 Greyhound roll sign and don't see beautiful type design. I see those Freedom Riders who would've caught this bus, in Atlanta, or Nashville, and ridden through Alabama cotton fields. Heading to those places that live in history as waypoints in the civil rights struggle, but then were just a bus stop on that long, hot, thankless ride South. Black and white letters, coming together to form town names. Black and white folks, coming together to change history. Y'all have been asking for years, so we printed them up. The story they tell means a lot to us. We hope it does to you, too. Link in header.
The other day, a big paper in New York City decried the disappearance of manners. And not just folks' manners north of the line, but Southerners. Well, Momma didn’t raise no heathens, and we thought this would be the right time to remind us all of what she and Daddy taught us. Manners might be going out of fashion up here, but they aren’t going to disappear from the South. Not on our watch, they’re not. No ma'am. Link in header.
The foods I love best are those that have a partner. The caloric analog of Bonnie and Clyde. If there's one thing I miss living up here, it's the eats. Momma's cooking and those mouth watering hole-in-the-wall Meat and 3s from Texas all the way up the Eastern seaboard. While you might find cornbread from time to time (though it's more like cake) you can't find a decent biscuit up here. These here won't replace a good dinner, but they sure will make good dinner conversation. Eat up. Time's a wasting. (Link in bio.)
For the last 18 months, I didn't feel wind. . We'd ridden a five year wave of being new and getting good press and the South being on trend and the maker-movement and USA Made and Mom & Pop and God Bless The Little Man and small batch and artisan and then it just stopped. . No one was writing. No one was shopping. No one was searching. . We've always hovered around the same revenue each year (I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to grow this damn thing), but we ended 2016 down 18% from our slowest year. It was scary. Old Try pays our rent. And we just bought a house. It was disheartening. Who can motivate themselves to create new things when they can't sell the things they've already created. It was humbling. Maybe Old Try wasn't an important as I convinced myself it was. Maybe I thought a little too much of myself. . It was motivating. I'm a runt from North Alabama, and if there might not be food on the table, I'm gonna fight. I sweated it. I thought and I tried things and I saw how they worked and I scrapped the things that didn't work and double down on the things that did. I worked more, later. I tried to drum up more business. More collaborations. More print releases. I came home from my day job and I put the kid to bed and I checked out on my wife night after night and I tried to right the ship. . Marianna was huge in this. She supported me and she worked just as many late nights and she rarely complained and she questioned my decisions and got us to better ones. She kept us pointed in the right direction. . Last night I ran the numbers, and this year finds us 25% up on last. . We didn't have any wind last year. So we learned to row. . #letterboardfridays
Piracy! Scurvy! Sirens! When a Charleston sea captain would return home from a long voyage, he’d spear a pineapple (in those days an exotic souvenir) on his fencepost to let folks know he’d arrived back safely. It was an invitation to come over and hear about his wild months and port calls and white whales. Over time we’ve grown more insular and more distant from our neighbors, even as we’ve gotten more and more crowded. So we made this to put in your foyer, by an open door, and invite those neighbors in. Now for sale. Link in bio.
Run, do not walk, to you local gift shop. Ask if they carry @breathlesspaper. If yes, tell them to stock up on the handsome Old Try & Breathless Collaboration collection. If no, tell them they need to get hip to it quick.
Run, do not walk, to your local gift and card shop. Ask if they carry @breathlesspaper. If yes, ask them to start carrying the Old Try & Breathless collaboration collection. If no, be the one who makes the hip to a great company.
You ever heard "Grow Old" by Florida Georgia Line? It was written by Nashville songwriter @zkale. We've been friends since we were 7 and I'm damn humbled he writes the hits under one of our prints. #printsgoinghome
I know three sure things about Sewanee. 1. You leave your angel at the gate. My friend who went to high school at St. Andrews taught me the first time I visited in '94. 2. Ole Miss always ranked in the top party schools, with an asterisk. It said we’d be one spot lower if they ranked the University of the South, but professional party schools don’t count. 3. One of our most loyal customers, T. Mulloy of Laurel, Mississippi has been asking for a print of years for his alma mater. I’m glad to finally oblige. #ysr
This Father's Day I'm riding as a father of two in honor of my mom's daddy who died in 1983 of lung cancer. We left Colby College this morning for the last 60 miles of the 180 mile Trek Across Maine, to raise awareness and funds for the American Lung Association. Hug your daddies tight for as long as you can. Next stop: the ocean.
Jack Kerouac seems fitting for today's #letterboardfridays. I biked the first 64 miles of the 180 mile Trek Across Maine for the @lungassociation. It rained for almost the whole six hours. But I'm done and I'm warm and I'm safe and I'm tired. Onward!
We got our Marrying Type print up in time to be late for wedding season but early for your paper anniversary. We first made it with @erinapier and @scotsman.co before they got @laurelmercantile off the ground, and now you can grab one over on our site. Calligraphy by the one and only @scriptbysimone. Link in bio.