Do More of What Scares You

Do more of what scares you, because that’s the thing you must do.

By: Abby Fountain

Did the title make you believe we’d be writing about a perilous journey in a kayak down the Nile River or a life-or-death climb up Denali? Good. Thanks for joining. This article is not about either of those things. It’s about an internal journey over peaks and through valleys, exploring unknown territory and wanting to throw in the towel but knowing that pressing on is the only option. Specifically, we’re sharing a story of a spark, fanned into a flame, that drew in a whole bunch of people to see the world through this new, glowing light.

A Birthday Wish with a Ripple Effect

On her 30th birthday, Revel Gear co-founder Kody Plavnicky made a promise to herself: to spend the next decade doing more of what scared her, of leaning into things that she wanted to dash the hell away from. In honor of this new promise and to seal the deal, Kody and Brian went for a nighttime snorkel that was equal parts terrifying and electrifying. 

With only one jellyfish sting and flames fanned, Kody set to work seeking out experiences that would create discomfort and thus, growth. This was at the end of 2019, only months before we all went through a grand, prolonged period of discomfort, strife, and growth. With many of life’s habits and normalcies on pause, Kody took the time to settle into an internal world, knowing that there was no need to add additional challenges to an already tough time. She worked, checked in on loved ones, and, like so many of us, felt the struggle to remain connected to community while socially distancing.

Let’s Get the Girls Together

So, she set to work again. Months prior, an ember of an idea smoldered in her heart, and Kody felt that now was the perfect time to stoke it. Revel Girl would be an online marketplace featuring women-made goods, making it easy to shop from and support women. She’d also connect women business owners through virtual and (hopefully) in-person meet-ups. Since this was to be a lady-focused business, she knew the perfect gal to help bring this brand to life. 

With Laura Bukowski’s badass graphic design, and Kody’s visionary magic, the two began creating a brand identity that would set this business apart and allow Revel Girl the flexibility to embody all sorts of feels – just like women do daily. In conjunction with this project, Kody knew that she, and all of her creative female friends, needed a space ASAP to come together and talk through professional projects, personal problems, and everything in between. 

She brought in her friend Bara, founder of Bara Co. (@baracobara), to collaborate on creating a structured, safe space where their friends could authentically show up and share. Together, they hosted bi-weekly chickchats that encouraged women to tap into an internal fire so they could enter every space fully alive, conscious, and loving.

Momentum > Speed

Now that this magical machine was in motion, there was no slowing down the momentum. Kody began to realize another long-time dream of putting inspirational phrases on hats so that the wearers would be a walking beacon of said inspirational phrases out to the world, inspiring joy, curiosity, and laughter. “I love hats, I’ve always worn hats, I think it’s a great place for messaging to live. Hats are a fun accessory you get to pick for yourself that elevate your message even more. Are you serious, are you calm, are you friendly – like a personal billboard.” She didn’t want to pick just any hat, and so a new quest began. 

This entire initiative was women-led and so the hat company needed to be too. Kody discovered VimHue, a woman-owned hat company whose mission is to change the female cap market by engineering a new cap that actually fits women’s heads. The founder of VimHue, Katy Craft, would be at the 2021 Outdoor Retailer showcase in Denver and Kody just had to meet her. Armed with designs and desire, Kody met Katy and kept the ball rolling.

Designing Apparel Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

We’re serious. Have you tried designing a shirt, hat, or socks from scratch? Colors in the digital space don’t translate to the embroidery space. Fonts are unavailable, artwork is too detailed, and companies that pay fair wages can be hard to find. But Kody was determined to find another women-owned company to put the design on the hats she had secured with VimHue. 

Four Hands Embroidery, founded by Natalie Ochoa and Amy De Stefano and based in New York, was up for the task. Months of back-and-forth were spent hashing out colors, finalizing phrases and artwork, and creating prototypes. After almost two years of effort, thoughtfulness, and heading back to the drawing board, Kody, with the help of Laura, Katy, Natalie, and Amy, had realized a dream.

What Are the Elements of Adventure?

To us, it’s going somewhere that is unknown without having the faintest idea of what to expect. For Kody, that meant embarking on a journey in which she’d learn more about herself, the women in her community, an entirely new industry, and the grit it takes to stick to stay committed to a pursuit, an adventure, even when the going gets tough. What will you do with your next two years? Here’s our challenge: set a goal, unearth a long-time dream, throw a dart at a map, and begin to chart your course.

Shop the “Shine” Athletic Cap

in Black or Raspberry, and receive a poem written by Kody with your purchase!