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The Point
...And We're Off to the Races! - 06 / 17 / 2009

So how in the world did all of this get started?

I was the last of my friends to marry and start a family.  I was 36 when I met Russell, and we were married two years later in the greatest, most fun wedding ever.  In addition to Russell, I got then-15-year old Caitlin, my awesome stepdaughter who lived with us until she graduated from college.

Our son, who we call G-man (or G for short), was born exactly one week before my 40th birthday.  I thought I was TOTALLY ready for the whole parenting thing.  It’s not like I didn’t have loads of time to anticipate motherhood and the many changes it would bring to my life.  And for the most part the changes were pretty much as I expected, especially the whole 'no sleep' thing.  But the one thing I didn’t anticipate was the radical change in my consumer habits.

All of a sudden, I was much more concerned about the cleaning products being used on our hardwood floors, countertops, and in our bathrooms.  Buying 'Organic' versus 'Conventional' groceries became a preoccupation.  My husband had always been a recycler (it’s still a relatively new concept in Texas), and I supported him.  But Baby G raised the bar to a whole new level for both of us.  Because nothing – I mean NOTHING – puts a bigger spotlight on how much garbage you create than a baby. 

My media consumption changed, too.  I’m definitely not a prude, but there’s a lot of music out there today that is just not appropriate for little ears!  The baby and I would be in the car with the radio on listening to a song I’d heard a million times before, and all of a sudden I’d think “Wait, that’s what the words to this song are?” and then I’d change the station.  Now all the buttons on my car radio are pretty much set to stations that only play songs recorded, like, 900 years ago.

TV was the same way.  Of course, there’s sooooooo much out there that you obviously don’t want your kids be exposed to.  But Russell and I have always liked to listen to the news while we’re making dinner.  This seemed safe enough for G-man.  I mean, Brian Williams is fully clothed and hardly ever drops f-bombs, right?  But then you really start listening and you realize you can’t get through a newscast without hearing ‘war’, ‘killed’, ‘death toll’, and ‘suicide bomber’.  There went the news.  Nowadays it’s pretty much all Noggin, all the time (“D-D-D-D-D-Dora!  D-D-D-D-D-Dora!") with just enough Golf Channel mixed in to keep Daddy sane.

Thanks to my new Baby G 24-hour media antenna, even the way I look at my favorite magazines has changed.  One of my most favorite guilty pleasures is reading a glossy celebrity magazine while I get a manicure or a pedicure.  I never have time at home to do this, so I love to just sit for 45 minutes and look at the great clothes and read the latest gossip.  I saw it all in a new light after having my son.  I had never noticed how much of the content is mean-spirited.  It’s like they are willing to throw anybody under the bus to tell the story – true or not – about a divorce, an affair, a cat fight, or a trip to rehab.  Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE my magazines, I just approach them with a much larger grain of salt and skip past the mean stuff.

So I guess this is the bottom line:

Becoming a mom forced me to really stop and notice what I was consuming.  At home, I needed to consume smarter and I needed to consume less.  With regards to media, I came to realize that I consumed a lot of it not because it informed, inspired or even entertained me, but simply because it was there: the TV was on, the radio was playing, the magazine was lying there.  In fact, once I started to scrutinize the content of what I was consuming, I actually found much of it to be negative, divisive, and sensational.

So how did all of that turn into a company?

I’ll never forget the exact moment that I decided to start I EXCLAIM!.  I was alone in the car listening to the news (since we’ve established I can’t seem to do that at home).  The topic was what seemed like the nine millionth story about a civil war in which two sworn enemies were killing each other.  I was at a red light and I said to myself, “How can these people keep doing this?  In the scheme of the universe, what they are fighting over is so small!  They are so much more alike than they are different!  Don’t they realize they are killing their brothers?”

The light turned green.  Over the next two blocks the whole idea came to me: I realized I can’t control the world, but I CAN control the kind of messages and energy that I want my son to know.  It had to be ecologically responsible.  It had to be positive.  And it had to be universal, because we are ALL more alike than we are different.  Language isn’t universal, but symbols are.  But certain symbols are so ubiquitous that they’ve lost their meaning.  So, how do you really take ownership of an idea?  That’s where the ‘!’ comes in.  By supporting our products, you make a statement that is understood around the world: I don’t just understand what the symbol represents, but I embrace it, I advocate it, I own it, I live it, I EXCLAIM IT!

I shared my epiphany with three talented friends - Kristi, Lisa and Monique.  As mothers of small children, they embraced the concept and became my partners.  Together, our goal is to bring you products that are positive and guilt-free in every way: positive messages, fair trade practices, and a give-back program to pay the energy forward. 
We look forward to hearing from you!  Please tell us…What do you Exclaim?!

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