Bloggers are a dime a dozen these days. Style websites and feeds blur in the ocean of over-saturation. Everyone is trying to be a social media influencer, the next Instagram celebrity, or a work from home prodigy. And fact is, this is actually happening for a handful of creatives out there (even gifted influencers we now call friends). This desire for an innovative outlet or entrepreneurial lifestyle is certainly not bad, but we definitely feel a lot of the why you’re doing what you’re doing can easily get lost in the greed for more.
We wanted to share a short and sweet post that gives you a behind the scenes glimpse at how we started this space, why we continue to share these words and images with you (hey, thanks for sticking around!), and some changes we’ve made that make blogging more joyful and less of an obligation to keep up with the crowd (also known as: how we stay sane in a field that constantly begs for comparison, competition, and keeping up with The Jones’).
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It was my junior year of high school. I was in youth group. Yadda yadda, chatter chatter, Human what? Human trafficking? People are sold, forced to have sex, forced to work excruciating hours? Millions of people? Here in America, too? As William Wilberforce so eloquently worded, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” At a young age, when I probably should’ve been more concerned with zits and homework, my mind couldn’t stop pondering one of the world’s largest, most gruesome and prevailing crimes happening in our own country’s borders. It’s estimated that there are around 27 million modern day slaves forced into manufacturing and labor, sexual exploitation, and flat-out horrific situations in our world today.
It wasn’t until high school that my simple, safe, easy Christian world was cracked & stretched; God lovingly opened my eyes to the truth and stirred my pounding heart for justice. After focusing my senior project on companies that were notorious for using sweatshop labor, I later dove head first into the only alternative I could find: shopping and living ethically. What did this mean? While I still tinkered with the fast fashion machine, I tried my best to circumvent the beast and shop secondhand. At this point, I had no idea how many companies and organizations already existed with a heart for enriching their workers with opportunities and stability instead of offering them the bare minimum.
Fast forward: Several months after returning from a 6-month adventure living in Uganda, I vowed to only shop secondhand or from brands I knew used fair labor practices. A few years later, Nick made his own decision to stop shopping from fast fashion brands (Note: If you try to force your spouse or loved ones to live a particular way, change won’t last. Living by example is the best way to encourage those you love to investigate a more ethical lifestyle!) This space may have started as my own investigation into the world of ethical fashion, but has slowly morphed into a collaboration of both our passions for research, writing, and style. A Day Pack was crafted and has been a growing experience ever since. We will never claim to be experts, but are simply learning along our journey of living more slowly, thoughtfully, and intentionally.
IS BLOGGING YOUR JOB?
The simple answer: No. We both have other layers of life that keep us busy. Nick works for a granite countertop company and desires to become a journeyman someday. He is in the works of becoming an associate pastor at our rad church and even tutors ESL students on the side. I am a nanny for the most adorable infant there ever was a few days a week, and the rest of my time is kept busy being the social media marketer and a florist at Petal + Vine. We team up to lead the youth group at our church, host dinner parties with friends, regularly invest in our familes, play and write music (bass, drums, guitar), read, write, create, and dream big. Our lives are so much more than blogging. Yet, blogging plays a significant role.
We love A Day Pack. We love connecting with our readers. We love sharing about new ethical brands we find. We love styling new products. We love being a little different in this oversaturated blogging sphere, where the latest clothing hauls are a must and everyone begs for your attention. We may not be your typical blogging couple, but we think we’ve got a good thing going!
DO YOU GET PAID TO BLOG?
We made a decision a long time ago that we would not take any financial compensation from our blog, other than gifted ethical items we have personally selected. We completely see why other ethical bloggers create media packages and deserve to be compensated for their time and effort they squeeze out. Right now, for us, it just doesn’t feel right to ask for compensation for our posts. We feel we still have a lot of areas of growth before we start asking for finances for our work. This is completely a personal decision and in no way is intended to question or offend the financial compensation of other bloggers we love and respect. We have a plan. Eventually, we will create a media package. Right now, we truly love blogging and the time and energy we put forth feel worth it, regardless of compensation. Sometimes when you get paid to do something, the fun can be zapped right out of it! We’re exploring this season, taking our time, and enjoying this process of becoming ethical social media influencers.
WHAT’S WITH YOUR PHOTOS?
Ah, so glad you asked! 😉 We previously took every single one of our own photos. From flay lays to lifestyle shots, all images were our own pride and joy. We literally started taking photos on an old iPhone 4, then bumped up to an iPhone 6. Later we were given our dear friend’s used Nikon SLR (that’s right, it’s pretty vintage, so it wasn’t even a DSLR yet!) We are certainly not photographers, but absolutely enjoy taking and editing photos. A few months ago, we realized that 1) though we can take a pretty darn good image, there are others whose complete livelihood is focused on being a photographer and 2) we could actually support a small business owner by compensating that creative to take our pictures.
You might be thinking: “What’s wrong with you!? You can’t do it all? How dare you call yourself a real blogger.” We proudly admit that we can’t do it all. And though we adore taking photographs (and still do!), our dear friend Moch Snyder, from Jon + Moch Photography, is an extremely talented photographer who captures breathtaking moments with her camera. You want to know something amazing? By paying Moch to take our photos, we are supporting her family business, we’re providing exceptional content for each brand that partners with us, and we have more time than ever.
Because we’re not expert photographers, taking photos of one another would take hours. Sometimes we would return from a shoot, only to turn around the next day and retake all our images. We always strive to produce quality images, even if it means several tries. Our weekends would slip through our fingers. We felt that we had less time than ever to mature in the other half of our blog that we cherish: writing! We would often bicker because we just felt that the blog was taking up too many precious moments. The blog was becoming unhealthy. The blog was interfering with what mattered most in life. So, we made a small, but powerful, change and hired a photographer. We are completely content with our decision, knowing it was made from a place of prioritizing relationships over “being a jack-of-all-trades.” We can’t do it all. Thank goodness we have rad, gifted friends who enjoy partnering with us!
WHERE IS A DAY PACK HEADED?
Perhaps a trip to California. We’ve chatted about heading back to Leavenworth near Christmastime. Europe is definitely on our dream list!… Oh, you didn’t mean literally?
A Day Pack is headed in the same direction it has always been running: “To learn the truth and share it artfully.” This is our MO, our mission, our values, our passion. This is what keeps us going, what motivates us when we feel a bit tired or worn thin. While other bloggers may rely on their own stamina, we are fighting for something bigger: we are fighting to see a shift, a change, in culture. We are contending for individuals we’ve never even met before. We are writing, styling, and creating our way to a world more aware and aligned with love and justice.
We have a bounty of incredible brands to share with you in these next few months! We will be sharing a peek into our home, several more idea based posts, and of course, a handful of style features. We cannot thank you enough, our readers and followers, for joining us on our journey. Every message, text, comment, and like encourages and spurs us on. You may only be one person, but you have more power in the process of chance than you could ever imagine. Take yourself more seriously: you’re so loved, so gifted, and so needed in this adventure of life.
PS: (Because all good hand written letters end this way!) What’s with our blog name anyway? A Day Pack? Like you smoke a pack a day? Hardly. Our last name just happens to be Pack. We chose this title with two thoughts in mind: 1) Our blog is a little glimpse into our lives. So, you know, A Day (in the life of the) Pack(s). 2) Another way we look at our blog is that everyone carries some kind of pack or bag with them on the daily. We often fill our packs with items we need for the day, things we love, or goods we find and discover throughout our adventures. If you took our “Day Pack” and dumped it out on the floor, our blog is the pieces (the items we need, the things we love, the goods we discover) that would fall out. Our title may be a bit cheesy, but we secretly kind of love it.