A huge part of the joy I get from running a business like Trek Light Gear is the stories. We hear from people on an almost daily basis, sharing their experiences, telling us how our products have improved their lives, made a trip more memorable, or even helped them get through a tough time.
There’s the couple who lost everything in a fire and decided to make their Trek Light hammock the first thing they replaced to make their new home feel like their old home. There’s the incredible Chimney Choir band, who told me they first came together when one of their members was lying in a Trek Light hammock next to a creek. Talk of hammocks and rivers and dreams turned to talk of playing music and the rest took care of itself in that magnificent way life has of bringing people together who belong together.
While thinking about this beautiful side effect of running a business like Trek Light Gear, I was reminded of a story we received last year from Tiffany Mills, a long time customer and hammock lover. Tiffany wrote to us to let us know about how her boyfriend-now-fiancée had used her Trek Light Hammock as the perfect spot to propose:
“Hello! I've written in before and sent you some pictures, but I have more exciting news to share! As I've said before, I am a HUGE fan of Trek Light and my family and I have so many happy memories with our hammock! Saturday my boyfriend proposed to me while laying in one of your hammocks!
Here's the story:
The golden leaves from the aspen forest lightly rained down onto our secluded hammock, as we lay in each other's arms. My head was on Chris's chest when I heard the steady pounding of his heart. "The forest is beautiful but there is one thing missing," he said and then, from thin air, presented me with a small grey box. I think then he asked me to marry him, but I can't remember I was in total shock. I must have heard him though because I was able to choke out, "Yes!" I then proceeded to soak his t-shirt with uncontrollable girlish tears.
Some guys get down on one knee, my man proposed to me in a Trek Light Hammock.”
No matter how many times I hear stories like these I’ll never take for granted how unique and truly special it is to be behind a small business which can have this effect.
I can't exactly explain it, but with no exaggeration I can say that a Trek Light hammock possesses a unique ability to create happiness in those that use it and to bring people together in a beautiful way. I've seen it firsthand over and over again since I started this business and some things simply don’t need to be proven to exist. Every hammock we sell plants a tree, every tree represents another place to hang a hammock and the cycle continues. Each hammock provides another chance to cure a bad mood and give a fresh start, another place to linger and dream, and another place to encounter someone else chasing the same dreams. My favorite stories to hear are those where people have met while in one of our hammocks and formed lasting friendships, relationships, future businesses, marriages, and plans to change the world. Trek Light Gear itself began in a hammock and it's incredible to now see that ripple effect continuing for other people with every hammock we sell.
The longer we've been in business the more fascinating the stories have become: I've heard more than one tale of babies being conceived in a Trek Light hammock (well, they're “pretty sure it happened in the hammock” anyways), hammocks being used as slings and stretchers in emergencies, and even pregnant moms using our hammocks as an aid for home births (a practice that’s actually quite traditional and common in other parts of the world). Ten years ago I never could have predicted that the same hammock that helped me camp lighter and more comfortably would also be responsible for someday bringing life into this world, curing insomnia or providing the means for two people to meet, fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together (and maybe even bringing more life into this world all over again). It's a simple hammock, with a simple design, but it's taken on a life of its own and it's an incredible example of something being much more than the sum of its parts.
Running a small business, or just being part of one, will always be an emotional roller coaster and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Along with all the great feelings when you accomplish something or experience growth comes an equal serving of stress, frustration, doubts and fear that any business owner knows all too well. Since Trek Light Gear is still a very small operation I find I have to measure my profit and success in many ways beyond money - and in that regard it's easy to feel like the richest business owner around. Please keep sharing your stories, photos, videos and memories with us - it’s what keeps the wheels turning here.
If you've got a Trek Light story you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below or send us an email – you’ll make our day just by telling us how we've made yours.