There are some stories that are worth telling….some that are worth telling over and over again. The story of Brave Girls Club is one of those stories…
It’s a story of doing it anyway, of moving forward despite obstacles, of finding a way, of following your heart. It’s a long story, but so worth the read. I hope you love this story as much as I do.
Whether you’re a dreamer with big plans or not, this story will show you that impossible things might not be as impossible as they seem…
Brave Girls Club was founded my my mom, Kathy Wilkins and by my aunt, Melody Ross.
Sisters who love life and have a passion for spreading goodness and kindness wherever they go.
2006 – 2009
In 2006, Melody and Kathy went to work together for Chatterbox (a scrapbooking company that Melody founded and successfully ran, but that now belonged to someone else). Every day for years they worked together on projects for Chatterbox, they spent all of their free time dreaming and talking about something new….they called it “project x”.
Here’s something Melody wrote on her blog on December 5th, 2006…
I just can’t hold this in any longer….but, I also can’t tell anyone exactly what I am talking about…so, today, I am going to introduce to you PROJECT X (obviously, not the real name…) because I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT IT…..so, from now on…
When I talk about PROJECT X, just know that it is something SO HUGE, SO WONDERFUL and SO EXCITING that it will blow your mind…….AND….all of you are going to be the first to know about it and to have the opportunity to ‘participate’……..it’s something you have always wanted, always needed & it it will truly CHANGE THE WORLD and make your life a lot more fun, too….and, who doesn’t want to change the world for the better?
….if you’re gonna be alive and going through the day, you better make it meaningful, right?
I am so excited about this……….and, it’s a milllion of my dreams, clear back from my little girl-hood, coming true……I want to talk about it in the upcoming future because I know that YOU all have big dreams…..and I want us to help each other to know that anything is possible….to help each other make all of our biggest dreams come true.
Believe me…I wish I could tell you more…..but….it’s just too important that we don’t reveal it until it is time………..and believe me, it will be worth the wait….it’s been worth the kajillions of years (it seems like) that I have waited and worked for it (and lots of other phenomenal people, too).
Being Kathy’s daughter and Melody’s niece, I was in on a lot of the conversations that went on…or I at least overheard a lot of them. Watching Melody and Kathy talk and plan was like watching two little girls plan their dream birthday party. They were full of excitement…they dreamed of finding women all over the world and of teaching them the truth about how spectacular and loved they are. They dreamed of hosting retreats and inviting women to come and be taken care of. They dreamed of sitting down with these women at beautifully set tables, where Kathy dreamed of serving delicious meals. They dreamed of teaching women the truth about who they are and what they can accomplish in life….of shining light on the dark and scary parts of life. Melody dreamed of teaching women to heal through art and journaling….
and for years that’s all it was….a whole bunch of dreaming….
Kathy tested recipes…
Melody journaled and made art…
and even though it seemed impossible they kept dreaming….
Til it finally felt like it was time….
Melody and Kathy still worked full time and then some…but it felt like time to start, so they did it anyway…and that became their mantra…
Melody described how it felt to finally be moving forward on her personal blog in July 2009:
This little piece of metal art I made a few days after I was faced with a giant, enormous, life changing and absolutely devastating/wonderful decision…and everything flowing out of me came out in plain words, ones that I could not MISunderstand…..most of them were FLY FLY FLY and GO GO GO and biggest of all….IT IS TIME…..but…here’s what I made…..
Can you see that it says WON’T BE BACK? -can you see there’s a big diamond in the middle of the cage??? …… can you see that the rusty old tarnished birdie is ME??? why would I fly away from a safe cage with a diamond in the middle?
Because it was time.
Well…….at the moment that I made this little cage.. I was making a contract with myself that no matter what happened…..I would stay true to the decision I had just made……
And…let me tell you, it has been hard to not fly back into that cage….or some other cage….cages typically come with a hand that feeds them…..free birds gotta make their own way…. Times are tough for a free birdie these days……
HERE’S THE DEAL…
It still has not been made public so I won’t go into all of the details, close family and friends know…but as of last April…….I am no longer with Chatterbox….the company I founded and built and love, and after I was done running it and owning it, I had a wonderful contract to lead the vision of it and design all of the products….in April, it was time for that to be over…..not sure the future of my tender and sweet and oh-so-been-through-the-ringer company….but, I will sure let you know as details unfold…I really love and respect the people who own the brand now, and know that they will do what’s best for Chatterbox…..For now…the information that is mine is that as a family, it was time for me to go and to do what’s been in my heart for a very long time…..
WHAT IT’S LIKE….
Well, holy moly…I sure didn’t know that it would be like this. I knew I needed to get out of any restraints, any confines, I needed to be able to do and say and create and build what has been stirring inside of me. I knew we needed to have our own business again. I think that a part of me expected that once I made that really really REALLLLY hard decision, that the hard part was over….but man, oh man…I’m here to tell you…the hard part is STICKING with the decision.
….it would be easy (or easIER) if things were easy on the outside…but as I wrote about in the last posts…..we have been confronted with these decisions, which feel more like little “tests” at the craziest possible time…I mean, I still don’t have a car….we are still living on a shoestring…………and, hey…I don’t need to mention the economy…….seems like I should take a really great job offer when it comes up….but, where does that put me? Back in the cage….distracted from the stirrings deep in the beat of my heart that I know for sure are coming straight from heaven….
I have been working my tail-feathers off, though….freelancing like crazy from home for lots of different companies (which has been so fun but OH SO MUCH WORK!) and getting OUR big projects (project x) off the ground with all the time that’s left….it’s just things that have required sacrifice and discipline. Me + discipline = STRUGGLE……but, I am learning learning learning it…..I AM BEING BRAVE. I have been managing all of my own deadlines and putting my own deals together and I am actually pretty darn proud of myself for not missing a deadline yet!
So…anyway…here’s more….I go through ups and downs…….pretty normal. I kick myself some days for taking the road less traveled. I get scared. I feel stupid and worn out lots of days……I feel utterly paralyzed some days with the sheer vastness of the open skies once you are out of a cage…………where do you fly to? Where do you build a nest now that you are a nest person? Where do you get your food? Where does the wind go when you are riding it? How does all of this work??????? Each of these questions are equally lame because WE HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE…it’s just that….last time we were here…we were young and naive and had no kids and didn’t know how mean and crazy and dangerous the world could be………and, I just have sorta forgotten the answers to all of these questions….
But then I just get really really really quiet. And…I even started to just watch what birdies do…I don’t think they really ask these sorts of innane, time-wasting questions….they just listen, they have instincts….they don’t worry (or at least I coudln’t tell if they were worrying) We are people though…we don’t have bird brains…..we have big hearts and big brains and books and other people and we can do it……..we ARE DOING IT….
“Project X” got its real name….Brave Girls Club…and Brave Girls Club got a logo…
…and a website, which was super simple at first. It only included the logo and a place to sign up for the Brave Girls Club mailing list.
In September of 2009, Melody and Kathy announced the very first Brave Girl Camp by sending an email out to the people who’d signed up for their mailing list. They were nervous and scared. They had room for 20 people at the cabin they would rent for the event, but told themselves, “if ten people sign up we’ll do it.”
Before those ten people showed up it was time to put a deposit down on the cabin that they’d chosen in Garden Valley, Idaho. They’d looked at several other cabins, but this one just felt magical…
The deposit to rent the cabin was $600. Money was short…really short, but their dreams were big. On the day the deposit was due, Kathy put the only $300 she had into her purse and drove over to Melody’s house. When she got there, Melody pulled the only $300 she had out of her pocket. They put it together and paid the deposit with only the HOPE that their hard work and their hard-earned money would turn into something beautiful.
October 2009 – The Very First Brave Girl Camp
They’d said that if ten people signed up they would do follow through…they ended up filling every spot at Brave Girl Camp, and having to start a waiting list for future camps.
With a small budget, but an enormous desire to provide an incredible, life-changing experience in the most loving, nurturing environment they could provide, Melody and Kathy scoured thrift stores for beautiful dishes and linens and they spent hours creating hand-made decorations and art.
They got their friends and family together to help sew handmade bags and gifts for the women who were coming…women they already loved and felt they’d waited their whole lives to meet.
Brave Girl Camp came. It was more than any of us imagined it would be. It was magical and life-changing and filled with a soul that was just beginning to grow.
Melody and Kathy had a great desire to share goodness and light with the women of the world. They wanted each woman to know her infinite worth, and to give a daily gift to women everywhere…That’s how “a little bird told me…” Daily Truths started. The mailing list was still small, but they sent their love and all the truth that they wanted to share every day in these little emails…
4 Brave Girl Camps followed in 2010
As Brave Girls Club began to grow, Melody and Kathy became more and more anxious and ready to nurture it full time. They both had secure jobs that came with guaranteed income. Quitting would mean letting go of surety and security…and saying hello to freedom and to what they really REALLY wanted to do with their time and with their lives.
They took the risk and both took a leap…Kathy quit her full time job and Melody stopped taking contracts and they turned all of their attention and time to Brave Girls Club.
By March 2011, Melody and Kathy were both being buried alive in their homes by Brave Girl STUFF. It was obvious they needed to move on and find some space…and the dreaming began again…
They wanted a place where they could do all their art and sewing…where Melody could record videos…a place with enough space for to store all the things they’d picked up along the way, and all the things they planned to pick up.
So they leased a building…a warehouse really….with cold cement walls and really nothing else. And in true Brave Girl Style they turned this:
In 2011, Melody and Kathy hosted 5 Brave Girl Camps…still debt-free and still bursting with happiness and excitement for what was happening with Brave Girls Club.
Kathy and Melody launched “Soul Restoration 1” – an online class about finding your own unique and individual truth – that has already changed hundreds of lives…
In July of 2011 came “Soul Restoration 2“…because once you have found your truth, you’ll want to follow it. Soul Restoration 2 teaches you how, and has helped women everywhere get on the path they want to be on…living and loving life!
Brave Girls Club introduced “Life Art A La Carte” where they offer even MORE amazing online courses…
Melody and Kathy are now in the middle of their very first “Body Restoration” class…teaching women everywhere to love the beautiful bodies that are homes to their beautiful souls…
Whew! All that and it’s only been 2 years! I’m tired just reading about it all! Can’t wait to see what the next 2 years holds and the next 22!! Here’s to Brave Girls Club and to Kathy and Melody and ESPECIALLY to dream building and dream following!!!