How Amsterdam saved us.
Well hello there! April here and DAYUM! It’s been a while right? I know you’ve missed us and I’ve defo missed checking in with you guys! I haven’t posed in a while for a couple of different reasons but we’ll get to that…
First off (if you follow us on social media then you’re probably sick of hearing about it) Cole and I recently spent a week in the Dam.. and holy hell did it change our lives! But I think it’s important to understand how life was like for us before we went on this little get away.
Before we left I was working two jobs, one of which was draining all my happiness and the other giving me more responsibility than I’ve ever had at work before. On top of this I was dealing with a number of different family/ friend situations all of which were keeping me up at night because of my indecisiveness on how to tackle them. My body confidence was probably the lowest it’s been for a really long time causing me to feel beyond off balance. Trying to deal with all this while keeping on top of OurVibes was killing me, I seemed at sea in a boat made of analytics and mirrors. Things were pretty bad.
Much like myself, Cole was in the process of changing jobs into a management position giving him a lot more responsibility than his previous role; and although exciting it was also hugely daunting. On top of this Cole had been struggling to find his creative spark making working on OurVibes even more difficult for him. Finding the motivation and inspiration was like trying to catch smoke and made him feel more lost than ever. Thing were bad.
(okay I’ma get real up in here so brace yo’self) When we started OurVibes we grew at a really surprising pace and sold out our first clothing line pretty quickly because of you guys! On releasing our second line, we flopped hard. It was heartbreaking to see all our apparel hanging in the office not being sold. Spending hours on Instagram marketing only to have no growth (or sales) to show for it. The worse the situation became the harder I tightened my grip on the insta and less Cole could find the inspiration to keep up with content. But the universe smiled on us and gave us a chance to change our market to an offline, local audience.
The day we left.
The previous night we had pretty much pulled an all nighter to prepare everything for our new physical shop; creating handmade labels and signs. It was probably around 3am when we eventually went to bed only to rise a couple of hours later to start the day.
After downing a couple of power coffees we packed the car with apparel, rails, all our handmade crafts and some bits and bobs our friend had entrusted to us. Our first stop was to drop off all our friends belongings at another friends house, carrying masses of things up a very narrow flight of stairs was not how I quite envisioned the morning starting.
The next stop was a car park on the outskirts of town where we parked up and pilled our arms high with everything we needed for the shop. Although it was morning there was plenty of people to give us funny looks as we made the journey to town apologising to all the passersby we nearly knocked out with our rail. Finally we made it to OurVibes new home.
We had snagged ourself a little patch of the Cardiff Creative store, which houses work from over 40 different creatives. With fumbling hands we put together our stall, arranging then rearranging hats and gloves to build the perfect display. When we were finally happy we bid farewell to the staff, taking a last fleeting look at our clothing before making a mad dash home to pack our bags, get a train back into town and catch the bus to London.
The journey from hell.
As we boarded the 4 hour bus to London it felt as though we had left some weight behind us already. The apparel was no longer sitting in the house, filling the office with the overhanging feeling of failure. Now it was sitting in a shop possibly being sold as we sat not thinking about it. It was a pretty amazing feeling, one which would soon be replaced with desperate tiredness and frustration.
The night fell around us as we pulled into Victoria bus station, spying a pub across the road and deciding to spend our hour between buses by nursing a late night pint. £10 lighter we sat with a couple pints and discussed with excitement all the things we would do in Amsterdam and laughed about how tired we felt.. Little did we know we could feel so much worse.
Another three hour bus ride later we rolled into the airport at 2am. Hoping to dash straight through security and find a nice sofa to snug up on for the night. Power walking, with sleepy feet we nearly smashed right into the sign that told us that it would be about two hours before security would open. ‘Oh..’ seemed to be the only words I could find to express my sadness of a comfy sofa being stripped from me. Trying to keep a positive mind set we did a lap of the giant room all the passengers had been crammed into, finding every seat taken and even more people lining the walls of the room. After our third lap we finally found a little nook we could squeeze into, lying down we were glad to be able to get at least a couple hours of shut eye.
As I started to drift into sleep, a loud cough disturbed my dozing mind.
‘You can’t lie down.’
Both Cole and myself, looked up to find a man in a high vis obviously taking great pleasure in telling us we couldn’t sleep here.
‘you can sit but you can’t lie down, okay?’ It was more a statement than an actual question but we nodded and he moved on to tell the next groggy couple they couldn’t sleep here.
So we sat. Taking up the same amount of room as we did lying down feeling even more tired than ever.
4am and the security gates opened. We shuffled our way through to the airport lounge, spying a juice bar with comfy looking sofas. After spending far too much money to sit in we plonked ourselves on the sofa and prepared ourselves for the gruelling wait till 10am. It was honestly was the longest six hours of my life. taking it in turns to grab 20 minute power naps while the other person battled to keep their eyes open.
Finally it was time to go to our gate where we were shoved onto a plane. It seemed as though I blinked and suddenly we were touching down in Amsterdam. I looked with confusion at Cole as I tried to figure out if I had just figured out how to time travel.
We were exhausted but we had made it. Stepping off the plane it seemed like we had been transported into another world. Walking in awe of our new surroundings we found the bus stop where our shuttle bus to the hotel would pick us up. Suddenly tons of different buses rolled in, all with different hotels painted on the side of them. We stood confused and stressed not really knowing what bus was ours or if our bus was even there yet. One of the drivers spotted our troubled looks and approached us; asking us if we were okay. When we asked if he went to our hotel he took one look at the side of his bus, looked back at us and said, ‘I go to the places on my bus, if it’s not on there i don’t go. Life is simple.’
And in one sentence this bus driver literally changed everything! Life is simple so why had we been spending so long overcomplicating things? Not just buses but with everything! As he drove away and our bus pulled in, his words rang on in our minds making us think about all the choices we had been making lately.
After a long ass sleep we set off the next day down to the tram lines by the hotel. Not understanding how the trams worked we were unsure if the one pulling into the station was going into Amsterdam. We asked the driver if he went to the city centre and much like the bus driver. He laughed and pointed at the tracks in front of the tram.
‘The tracks point this way so I go this way’
life is simple I whispered to myself as the tram driver wished us good luck and let us on the tram for free.
A new way of thinking
I could sit here and type out all the different things that happened that made us realise we had been overcomplicating things far too much back home, but I would be here for hours! (and ain’t nobody got time to read that!)
Every person we met was just so chill and laid back, all of them seemed to live by this new philosophy, ‘life is simple.’
Back home we had been indecisive, not knowing how to tackle any of the problems that we had been facing when really it was easy to figure out. If you want to do something, do it. If you hate something, change it. If you can’t find the answer on your own, talk about it!
So that’s what Cole and I did.
In a bar built with scrap metal sitting in the middle of an abandoned shipping yard we sat with some (very strong) pints and talked like we should have done back home.
We came clean with each other about how we had grown to hate OurVibes, loathing how it had only become about sales and the perfect Instagram grid. We had completely lost our way and in doing so had lost the personality that had made OurVibes unique in the first place. It was there that we vowed to let OurVibes do its own thing and grow naturally. I went through our followers and got rid of all the dead accounts, posted a picture explaining the break through we had and from then on have been posting real photos of us, not modelling shots. It was time to take OurVibes back to being fun and real!
With this new mind set all our issues suddenly seemed like they were so much easier to deal with and as we sat there and talked all the weight of the past month slipped off our shoulders and we left lighter than we had felt for months!
The trip made such an impact with us that as soon as we were home we went straight to a tattoo parlour and got tattoos to represent this change of mind set as a reminder to never overcomplicate things again.
So where have you been?
I know what you’re thinking.. ‘So you guys had this massive epiphany where you realised you needed to get back to the real you… but you haven’t been posting blogs? What the tits?!’
I know, I know!
To be completely honest, finding the motivation to sit and write a blog has been really difficult to muster since getting back home. Life is moving at full pace! We both started new jobs, have been working really hard on the new clothing line (turns out moving to a physical shop was the best thing we could have done for OurVibes) and we’ve also been trying to live life to the fullest. Although my mind is constantly full of blog post ideas, finding the time to write them down has to take the back burner for now.
Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t hear from us for ages because just writing this post is inspiring me to get back on the blog game! I just can’t promise you weekly blogs because I would rather post real blogs like this one than pump out ones because I have to.
So I’ll see you when I see you.
And remember life is simple.
Peace and love for you all