And here's the post many of you have been waiting for. Here's the post that answers the question: What in the world are you kids going to do with your dag-gum future?!
Well, our plans for the future-future are to run our own business. Our plans for the near future are for one of us to find a job so we can earn some mula, and the other person to be in charge of networking, researching, and ultimately, starting the business. But...we've known that since before we the trip started.
Now for some new news: 1) Nathan got a job! 2) we have decided on a business to start!
Nathan is going to be working for this super cool company called Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne, IN doing IT work. Ambassador is a unique company that is focused foremost on developing its people - their slogan is "We invest in leaders". They are a well respected company, and we are both excited that Nathan has the opportunity work there. IT is a new field for him, but we think it has the potential to be a great fit because of its dynamic, hands-on nature. I think the fact that Ambassador was willing to bring Nathan on when he hasn't worked in IT before is a big compliment to him and a show of their confidence that he has what it takes to succeed! Way to go, hubby!
So this means we're moving up north...right in the middle of February. Living in Texas, we haven't worn coats at all this winter. Guess we'll have to dig those out now. :-) It also means we're moving closer to our families! We'll be minutes from Nathan's family and only a few hours from my family. We've missed living close to our families, so we're looking forward to them being nearby. We'll be leaving behind many things in Texas that are hard to let go of - great roommates, awesome friends, a one-of-a-kind church - but the anticipation of a new adventure has us looking forward to the move.
And now for the other part of the equation: our business. The business idea that we've decided on is one that both excites and mystifies us. It's the same thing that provokes each of those very different reactions in us, and that 'thing' is the fact that we NEVER, EVER, EVER saw this coming.
We're planning to.....*drum roll*.....make and sell bike gear, specifically focusing on panniers (aka: saddle bags, bike bags).
Now many of you might not be that surprised to hear us say we're going into the cycling industry, especially on the heels of our cross-country bike trip, but let me tell you, going into the cycling industry was NEVER on our radar.
Here's what happened: Nathan and I are "do it yourself"-ers. This is a habit we've always had a little bit, but it really took off when we started working on saving money and paying off debt. When we were preparing for the bike trip, we knew we would need panniers, so we started looking online to see how much they cost. To our surprise, they are SUPER expensive! I'm talking easily $100 a piece...and we needed 8 (plus two mounting racks for about $40 each)!! Panniers are important because they carry our stuff, but the thought of spending almost $900 for them and their mounting hardware made our stomachs turn!
So, we decided to make our own. We went to the fabric store for the material and the hardware store for stuff to make the mounts. Short story, we made all 8 panniers and mounting systems for a total of $50! Compared to spending ~$900 in the store, that's some crazy savings!!
Fast forward to the trip, and people started complimenting our panniers. ...Like, a lot. ...Like, every day. ...Like, multiple times a day, every day, a lot. And they didn't just say, "Those are cool panniers." They would usually say something like, "Those are cool panniers. Where'd you buy them? I'd like to get some like that." Yeah, really, they said that! Lots of people ACTUALLY said that!
And then we even had a bike store tell us, "Those are great panniers! If you guys make those, we'll sell them for you!" Yeah, really, they said that! A bike store ACTUALLY said that!
At first, the attention was cool, and it was neat that people liked our panniers.
And then, it was kind-of weird, and we didn't really understand why people thought our panniers were SUCH a big deal.
And then, it was like "oooOOOOOooooooooo!"
You see, we wanted to use the trip to figure out our future and what kind of business to go into, and we had been praying that God would show us His direction and leading for us. And here were all these people who didn't know each other, from different countries, all different ages, but all saying the same thing to us again, and again, and again, and again all the way across the country. We realized that ANYONE praying for direction could only HOPE to receive such FREQUENT and CONSISTENT feedback all pointing in the SAME direction!! If anything was ever a neon sign, this HAD to be one!
...The weird thing was, we already had a bunch of other ideas for businesses we wanted to start and things we wanted to do. We were really hoping that we would get to choose from one of the ones we already had in mind, so this was totally out of the blue, and, at first, not very exciting sounding to us. Panniers? Bike bags? Can we really make a living off of those? We never really wanted to do anything that required inventory before. We never really wanted to do anything in the retail market before either. This is not the business we would have dreamed up on our own, and none of our other, pre-existing interests were similar to this one at all. But, with God's direction for our lives being the most important thing to us, we said OK.
At first we were hesitant about it, willing to do it, but not very excited about it. But then, the more we thought about it, the more cool ideas started popping into our heads about how to have a business like this. And now that we've had a few months to mull things over, we're almost exploding with new ideas that just might have the potential to not only hugely impact the cycling marketplace, but also impact the world. Yeah, the world!!
Now THAT'S exciting!! But what's even more exciting to think about is what God has in store for us in the future that we don't even know about yet! Jesus said He came to bring us life, life to the fullest (John 10:10). That is one of my all time favorite bible verses. Our job is to follow Him, it's that simple, and by doing that, we'll have a life full of adventure, purpose, passion, and...well, life. And that is the kind of life that Nathan and I want. We trusted by faith that God wanted us to go into this industry even when we didn't understand at first, and we are already starting to see the potential, to see more and more of what could be! We don't know what God's got planned for the future of our business, but we are so very excited to start and find out!
And to think it all started like this:
So, now you have some insight into 1) why we are choosing to start a business in the cycling industry selling bike gear and focusing on panniers, and 2) why this business idea both mystifies and excites us at the same time. We will post new news and a link to our new business website - that will hopefully include some panniers - in the next few months. Our goal now is to be up and running by summer 2011. For the time being, we have a small t-shirt store on our blog that you are welcome to check out (Nathan created all the designs himself!).
We are excited, we hope you are excited too, and we hope that you will follow our blog and see what happens...and not because of the panniers, but to see God at work. We are committed to this business not because it was our idea, but because we believe God has called us to it. Watch and see what happens as we endeavor to follow God's leading on a whole new adventure that we never saw coming but can't wait to begin!
Much love; many thanks for your support and encouragement; God bless.
...and remember, adventure is out there!
Nathan and April Reinhard
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