Guest Post: Amy Hatch on the Launch of Garage Grown Gear and Pursuing Your Dreams

Amy and her daughter in a packraft. (Courtesy of Amy Hatch.)
I first spoke to Amy Hatch for an interview in 2012. We finally met in person at a small cafe in Idaho this winter over breakfast with her daughter. It was a perfect day to ski and she had plans to take her two year-old out daughter with her.

That day was just one example of how Amy balances motherhood, marriage, and a passion for a variety of outdoor sports all while running, as of today, two businesses. I'm excited to host a guest post from her about all of those things, and to announce the launch of Garage Grown Gear!

When is the right time to pursue your dreams? It seems to me the answer is both never and always. There is never one perfect moment when the process will be smooth, completely funded and fervently supported by everyone in your life. And precisely because there is never that one perfect moment, it’s always the right time to do it.

Over the last year, I’ve been at a cross roads, asking myself this question. I’d recently become a new mama of a thriving, vibrant child. My husband and I felt settled in our recently purchased home. And I held a fulfilling, albeit desk-bound part-time job. Life was good – almost so good that I felt reluctant to rock the boat.

But the dream to launch my own business lingered. It grew from a passing thought to an idea barreling toward me with the force of a freight train, until there was nothing left to do but act.

This fall, Garage Grown Gear went live and our Grand Opening week is happening right now, complete with great giveaways from some of our favorite gear companies. 

At Garage Grown Gear, we connect you to innovative, high-performing and wildly cool outdoor gear made by independent manufacturers. America has a history of great inventions from humble beginnings. Apple, Harley Davidson and Whole Foods started in a garage. Clif Bar launched in a kitchen and Patagonia out of the trunk of a car. We’re scouting for the innovators of today and the icons of tomorrow. Our website includes an online magazine and directory. Stay tuned for the e-commerce store coming soon.

So what’s the on-the-ground reality been like as I navigate family life, entrepreneurship and my commitment to spending time in the mountains? It’s admittedly stressful at times. My to-do list can easily spiral out of control and I often find it difficult to wind down at night. In response, I’ve had to learn to embrace schedules, get into a routine, and set limits. I’ve also had to learn to let it be okay when not everything gets done. And I often have to remind myself to breathe, deeply.

(Photo courtesy of Amy Hatch.)
My ideal week is divided up like this: Monday – Thursday I work on Garage Grown Gear. Friday I spend with my daughter. Saturday is set aside for a more ambitious backcountry adventure, whether skiing, running, hiking, paddling or orienteering. Sunday is the day to take care of things around the house. In between, I weave in focused time with my family, outdoor jaunts, exercise classes and community involvement. I wake up at 6am. I insist on eating dinner as a family. I go on dates with my husband. I spend time with my friends. I joined an adventure racing team.

Being disciplined with my time and having clear, measurable goals helps, but, of course, things don’t always go perfectly according to plan. I’m learning to roll with the punches and relax in the knowledge that I have dedicated space carved out to circle back to what I need to do.

When I boil down everything I want out of life, it can be summed up this way: my life purpose is to connect people with each other and the outdoors. A sticky note on my bathroom mirror reminds me of this when I wake up and go to bed. I feel invigorated knowing I’m on a path that lets me fulfill this purpose.

(Photo courtesy of Amy Hatch.)
I see this purpose taking form through both Garage Grown Gear and Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere. The latter is a company I started a few years back that helps people reinvent backcountry routes with a magic tool, a packraft. (Editor's note: I tested one and it was a blast!)

By nurturing my own professional and outdoor passions, I truly believe that I’m a better mother and wife. When I push my own limits, either by bushwhacking for hours or making that terrifying cold call, I feel daily moments of success. That success builds confidence, peace and happiness – qualities that translate to home life.

One of the joys of this experience is how it all ties together. Going back to that personal life mission of connecting people to the outdoors, the individual for whom I hope to have the most impact is my daughter. Taking her outside is a huge priority. I started carrying her while cross-country skiing when she was three weeks old. She now loves hikes, mud and playgrounds. Even after a full day spent in the mountains, she’ll run over to the door ask for “ouw-side.” That’s the spirit, babe.

Thanks so much, Amy, for sharing your stories with Adventure-Inspired! Head over to Garage Grown Gear for a series of Grand Opening giveaways this week and be sure to visit often for new gear and apparel. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

What's most inspiring to you about Amy's balancing act? How do you balance all of the things that matter to you?