Adventures in Costco-land December 23 2011

We've all been in a little bit of a frenzy these past few weeks. Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It's because we totally launched our Greenlight Apparel retail line in three Bay Area Costco stores! For the past two weeks we've had a roadshow going on in the San Francisco, Mountain View, and Danville stores and it has been all hands on deck.

After helping Perry out with a photo shoot in the Berkeley hills on Friday (It was beautiful and I learned how to use a reflector to bounce the sunlight. Actually, it was mostly me holding it at random angles and Perry having to come over every five minutes to adjust it. Also, I almost fell off a hillside. So all-in-all, a pretty typical morning for us). Anyway, after "helping" out, I hopped onto BART (yay public transportation) and headed to the Costco in San Francisco to keep tabs on everything and make sure the display stayed pretty.

Stepping into the Costco it was so amazing to see the Greenlight logo from afar as I caught my first glimpse of the signage hanging above our display racks. Two snazzy looking mannequins were placed in front of the racks with crisp, clear photos hanging above rows of zip t's, jackets, and--my favorite--the Momentum long-sleeved shirts. I'm trying to be humble here, but it looked so awesome. Good job, team.

With the flurry of Costco shoppers, the set-up definitely needed some periodic love so I spent the day rearranging hangers, sorting sizes, and just talking to people. I like to talk so I was happy as a clam (weirdest. expression. ever.)  answering people's questions and taking the opportunity to tell everyone about Greenlight Apparel. I got a lot of satisfaction out of telling people the item of clothing they were holding was made from recycled plastic bottles, but not as much satisfaction as telling them that 25% of our profits go to education and microfinance programs.

I was wearing the Greenlight Momentum shirt (think Snuggie comfort level meets hipster yoga look) and everyone kept complimenting me on the shirt. It went to my head and I haven't taken it off since. I'm wearing it right now. I wore it yesterday and the day before and if I didn't need to wash it, I'd wear it again tomorrow. We've had people tell us they would like a shirt in every color and I'm right there with them. In fact, we probably need to get on that soon or everyone is going to start thinking I only own one shirt (Not true. I own at least three).

When I got tired of trying to see how many ways I could creatively display the tank top and t-shirt boxes (pyramid displays are so hot right now), I wandered around Costco trying free samples and intermittently texting everyone I know. Unfortunately for all of my friends and family, I have unlimited texting and can barrage everyone incessantly with illuminating questions and commentary like...

"On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you think we need a $350 blender? It's on sale at Costco."(Response: It better make the best smoothie of my life)

"Just undressed the female mannequin. Lot of snickering going on." (Response: Wait. Where are you?)

"Guy just walked past me with nothing but chocolate and alcohol in his cart." (Response: Marry him)

"I just tripped over the mannequin while trying to help a cute guy. I fail at life." (Response: Did he at least help you up?)

While staying on your feet all day in Costco isn't an experience I'd want to live every day, I really enjoyed getting to meet with people and hearing their feedback on our apparel, our set-up, and our company philosophy. Don't roll your eyes, but I actually had a lot of fun helping people pick out styles and sizes and it was incredibly encouraging to see how excited people got when I told them about our work with the Women's Microfinance Initiative or the One World Children's Fund. So many of you had your own stories and ideas on how to give back and I was really touched and inspired to hear all of your thoughts!

So, for those of you who were able to come see us in Costco, thank you for your continued support. You rock! For those of you who we met for the first time, it was great to meet you and thanks for taking the time to learn a little more about us! And for those of you scattered across the globe, we'll have our online store up and--wait for it, wait for it--running soon (Get it?).

Ten Things We Learned at the California International Marathon December 08 2011

Soooo....we were responsible for creating the official California International Marathon merchandise this year (This shirt is my favorite). In light of that, the Greenlight team headed to Sacramento over the weekend to man the CIM merchandise booth at the two-day race expo and at the race finish on Sunday morning.

Here's what we learned from the experience...

Mannequins Are Awkward
There is absolutely no way to appropriately wrestle a mannequin into its position on the stand. No matter what you do, your coworker will turn around and lock eyes with you just as you’re awkwardly wrangling a pair of running tights onto the damn thing or struggling to lift it up onto its stand, your hands inappropriately placed. Those things are heavy and expensive. Collapsing into a fit of laughter while carrying one can turn disastrous very quickly. I wish I could say we refrained from all manner of juvenile jokes, but I can’t because we didn’t.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall or…You Know, Not at All
So it turns out that when people are trying on shirts, they want to see what they look like. Well, at least prior to running 26.2 miles. After running 26.2 miles, they don’t really care about anything other than sitting down. Either way, we totally forgot to bring the mirror. Oops. Sorry, guys, but thanks for taking our word for it when we told you that you looked fabulous. You did, but next time, we’ll have a mirror. Promise.

It’s Possible to Valet a U-Haul Van
When we finally finish breaking down the merchandise booth at the expo and relocating it to our spot near the finish line, it’s close to 9 p.m. on Saturday and everyone is seriously ready for dinner. Circling around downtown Sacramento as we look for parking, Perry and I are in the U-Haul van and Sonny and Monika are driving just ahead of us when they pull to the side of the road.

“Guys, let’s just valet the U-Haul,” suggests Sonny.

I start laughing because I think he’s kidding, but as we pull up to the restaurant and Sonny jumps out to ask the valet guys if they can valet a U-Haul, I realize he’s serious which just makes me laugh harder. I’m now pretty much certain that Sonny can convince anyone to do anything because 30 seconds later, we’re handing over the keys and walking into the restaurant. What can I say? We like to shake things up.

Sacramento is Cold
We’re from the Bay Area. We do fog and drizzle very well, but when it gets below 60, we have problems. Sacramento was “cold.” I know all of you who actually live in places where winter isn’t just some vague concept are scoffing at the poor Californian who thinks Sacramento is cold, so I’m putting the word in air quotes. Just for you. Seriously though. I actually had to put on a fleece jacket. Can you imagine? It was even colder early Sunday morning while trying to coax race t-shirts onto ice cold hangers with stiff, frozen fingers.

The CIM is Badass
Eight men and twenty-five women qualified for the Olympic Trials, numerous qualifiers for Boston, a marriage proposal at the finish line, and a fireman running with all of his equipment (including the oxygen tank)? That would seal the deal for me right there, but aside from fast runners, superhuman feats, cool costumes, and just being incredibly well organized, the race had a great laid-back feel for such a huge event. They even got the weather gods to cooperate with a perfectly clear and crisp day. Not sure how they swung that one. Sacrifices?

Square is Also Pretty Badass
We’ve been using the Square application for iPhone. I’m not plugging anything, but that application is pretty awesome and really easy to use. After using it a few times (Apparently, I'm a slow learner), I start getting excited when customers pay with card rather than cash (I'm also a simple soul, easily delighted by new things, cookies, and sparkly objects). When people say, “Wow, that is so cool,” I can’t help responding, “I know, right?!” Because it totally is.

All Marathon Finish Lines Need Couches
The next booth we have at a marathon, I vote for couches and not just so I can take a nap, although that is a primary factor. After an hour or two of us hopping around trying to keep warm, runners start to trickle in, hobbling unsteadily with tired, but triumphant expressions. It’s painful to watch them teetering on spent legs as they try to reach up and grab a t-shirt in their size. I know that despite their enormous grins, their legs are throbbing and every movement elicits protest from trembling muscles. I know this because the last time I ran a marathon, my body was pissed. A couch directly after would have been a nice peace offering.

Grilled Cheese for Breakfast
…is a genius idea. We were conveniently placed next to Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen food truck (I had nothing to do with that. Honest). Think 9 a.m. is too early for grilled cheese? Think again. That’s my new go-to breakfast food.

We’re Kind of Hilarious
I laughed a lot this weekend. Not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but in addition to creating awesome racewear, we’re also pretty much hilarious. Between the mannequins, the U-Haul valet incident, and trying to figure out how to set up (and break down) Container Store organizers, there was ample opportunity to illustrate how ridiculous and insanely funny we are.

Next year. Hats.
I have no idea how many times runners asked us if we had hats, but it was a lot. Point taken. Next year, we need hats. I'm going to push for the ones with beer can holsters. I'll let you know how that goes.

US Half Marathon SF November 02 2011

We had a beautiful day for the amazing course over the golden gate. It's hard to imagine a nicer day for a run. The race kicked off on the waterfront in Aquatic Park on historic Muni Pier with sweeping views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Marina, Crissy Field, the Presidio and across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, exposing breathtaking sights of the San Francisco cityscape. Back along the Golden Gate Promenade, up through Fort Mason and to the grand musical finish in Aquatic Park. Not too shabby!

Thi Nyugen and Frances Uribe have "been been friends since we were 6 years old - over 22 years of laughter and fun!" Thi moved here from Dallas last year, so Frances flew in from Texas so they could run this race together.

feeling good after the race