Celebrating 5 Years of Of These Mountains

Celebrating 5 Years of Of These Mountains

Today we begin the 5 year celebration of Of These Mountains. What started out as a challenge for staff during an end-of-year planning session has resulted in one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life.

Sitting in my living room during the week between Christmas and New Year's in December of 2017, Levi Webb, Maredith Byrd, Tanner Chitwood and myself were looking at how to make 2018 a successful year for my print shop, Impressed.

As we talked, the idea of creating a "brand" kept surfacing. Finally, I put down the challenge. From concept to putting products on the shelf, if we could create a brand in six months, we would move forward with it.

Well, six months and one day later, Of These Mountains debuted and it's been a crazy ride ever since.

Along the way, we met Alexi Calzadilla, a creative dynamo who has been a cornerstone ever since. In those early days, Stephanie Quilliams had her hands busy making sure all of the new embroidery items were taken care of. Today, when something needs thread, I still go to Steph.

When creating the brand, it was important to all of us that it reflect our community, and that has continued to be a driving force over the past five years. 

When asked, I tell people that "Of These Mountains is a love letter to the mountains that surround us." Those mountains give us our livelihoods, our recreation, and our history. They are integral to our way of life, and Of These Mountains is intended to celebrate that.

Another commitment I made when creating the brand was that it would be designed and produced locally. I am proud to say we have upheld that commitment. Alexi isn't local, but she's close, so we count her as one of us. Still five years later, Impressed handles the majority of our printing, and this past year, due to growth, the Ten Roof has been added to our production team.

We really do see ourselves as a local brand highlighting the talents of local people. No matter how much we grow, that love for our locals will always be the driving force behind our designs and production.

After taking the brand online, Farmhouse Donuts on Main Street in Clayton reached out and became the first retail store to carry Of These Mountains. Shortly after, I sold ImPressed, a few more small retail shops picked up the brand, and we started participating in festivals throughout the area. Then on March 2, 2020 (yeah, THAT March, 2020) we opened the very first Of These Mountains brick-and-mortar store in Clarkesville, GA. 

It's been a whirlwind of an adventure, and I'll be the first to tell you that being an entrepreneur isn't for the faint of heart, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Since opening the store in Clarkesville, we have continued to see growth in sales both online & in-store. We find it pretty cool that people from all 50 states (and multiple different foreign countries) currently have Of These Mountains in their closets. 

Our wholesale business has also continued to grow. Today, you can find Of These Mountains in retail establishments in 14 different states including Alaska, California, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and more.

In November of 2021, we hosted the first Of These Mountains MarketPlace, featuring 100 artists, craftspeople, makers and small businesses with a special emphasis on local talent. Our MarketPlace events are now held each May and November, and I am proud of the impact they have had on our community.

March 2022, saw our biggest move yet. We opened our flagship store in Clayton, GA. In the new space at 39 East Savannah Street, we are able to showcase all of our outdoor inspired apparel and designs while also highlighting the work of local artists and makers. Coming home and back to where it all began meant a lot to our business. 

These past five years seem to have flown by, but the thrill I get when I see someone wearing one of our t-shirts or a car passing by with an OTM sticker on the back has not diminished. It is an honor that so many of you have embraced our little hometown brand.

I can't come close to thanking all of you enough for what you have done and will continue to do for me and the Of These Mountains brand. From staff members, friends, family, the Rabun community, and customers near and far, I wish you knew how much your support means. YOU are Of These Mountains.

This month we are going to celebrate all that we have accomplished with a different pop-up shop each Saturday, exclusive sales, giveaways, Facebook Live events, and a special community celebration schedule for the evening of June 21st.

5 years is a big milestone for us and we're excited to use this month as an opportunity to look back as we look forward to what the future will bring.

From the bottom of my mountain loving heart, thank you! The best is yet to come! 

-Kendall Rumsey 

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