Shell obsessed, salty mama of two mermaids + our 2 GSDs, married to my twin flame. We asked “why not?” and two years later made our dream to live by the beach a reality. But every happy ending needs a dreary beginning, right?
The Storm That Led to the Sunshine
All my life I’ve been a creator and a dreamer. So, when I joined the Navy my friends and family were shocked. Shoot, so was I! Always a trouble maker, the thought of conforming to military life was never an aspiration. I’m sure my family thought this was just the thing I needed to save me from myself. Honestly, it just happened as a way to get out of my sleepy beach town, where I had made a mess of things.
An incredibly hard 8 year journey began where I had the opportunity to work with my hands welding on U.S. Naval Ships. I grew the thickest skin and sharp wits learning to maneuver working in a man’s world.
I traveled the world. I gained experience, courage, and skills as a leader. I learned that there is so much more in this world than what you see right in front of your eyes. I learned that people are amazing, and cruel, and sad, and inspiring. I learned that culture is beautiful, and art is amazing. I found a love for color and textures while traveling overseas.
When my husband tragically died while we were stationed in Guam, I made the decision that it was time to leave the Navy. I wanted to focus on what was the most important thing in my life, my daughter. I was so scared to leave. How would I pay my bills, where would I live, how would I take care of my 3 year old alone? It was the most challenging period in my life to overcome; death, moving overseas, changing careers, single parenthood. I broke. Utterly and completely. Over and over again.
Looking into my daughter’s eyes, I knew that I had to be strong for her. So I did, and we moved forward with our lives the best we could.
After my daughter’s father died she began to have nightmares. I felt horrible that I couldn’t console her. Creating had always been a way for me to release my emotions, so we made her a dreamcatcher using vintage doilies and lace. We enjoyed it so much that we continued to make them for friends and family.
Some time later, I married the most amazing and supportive man that I could ever wish for. He loved my daughter like his own. He healed our broken hearts and taught me how to love myself. He challenged me to chase my dreams.
I wanted to open my own brick and mortar shop carrying only handmade items from local mothers. I read books, researched small businesses and reached out to local artist. I purchased $3000 worth of local handmade goods and vendor supplies as a trial run at craft events and farmer’s markets. It was a total failure.
Except for my dreamcatchers. And the experience.
My biggest fan, my husband, urged me to go off on my own and sell my dream catchers. With the help of my little 4 year old entrepreneur we began creating bohemian dreamcatchers to fill up my shop.
As my journey continued in the entrepreneurial world, and mother hood with my second child, I felt lost. I had not fully grounded myself from the years of pain from my past. I reconnected with my first love, the ocean, driving an hour to just to walk in her salty elegance. As I spent more time connecting with mama ocean I felt more like myself. That was the turning point when Salt Hippy was born.
At times I am soaring in pure bliss at how far we’ve come. Other times juggling two kids, pets, household duties and trying to run a small business from home can be overwhelming. But when my little girls tell me, “mama, I want to sell things when I grow up,” I know I am on the right track.
Our family has grown from two people to four, plus our two fur babies. From Guam, to California, and now with roots grounded in our dream home in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Our little business continues to grow and transform into something I could have never dreamed of. We pride ourselves in ethically hand-collecting our shells, and drift wood with the help of my two girls, and my husband (who lets us fill his pockets with sea glass and shells, thanks babe :).
We collect only empty shells, every beach trip is an opportunity for a beach clean up and honoring this healing gift, the ocean. We hope to share our love for the ocean with you and spread the word of ways to help save her before she is too far gone.
We thank you for coming on long with us on our journey and we hope that we can inspire others to follow theirs.
Live simply, so you can really live.
Love Sophie & The Fam
– Salt Hippy