ONE-Y-ONE
[WHUN-E-WHUN]

SACRED THOUGHTS

A SIMPLIFIED LIFE - PART 01: SHOES

WE KNEW LIFE ON THE ROAD WOULD REQUIRE US TO ADOPT A WHOLE NEW LIFESTYLE THAT WE’VE NEVER KNOWN OR EVEN IMAGINED BEFORE THIS TOUR, WE JUST COULDN’T COMPREHEND HOW MUCH.

THE PROCESS TO SIMPLIFY STARTED IN THE SUMMER OF 2016 WHEN I LISTED MY CONDO FOR SALE IMMEDIATELY AFTER WE STARTED THINKING ABOUT DOING THE “50 STATES: VETERANS + ARTISTS UNITED” TOUR FOR [HAS HEART]. I DIDN’T WANT ANY REASONS OR EXCUSES NOT TO MAKE THE JUMP, AND A MORTGAGE WOULD HAVE DEFINITELY BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGER ANCHORS HOLDING US DOWN.

ALTHOUGH IT SOLD JUST A WEEK AFTER I LISTED IT, FAR SOONER THAT I HAD EXPECTED OR WANTED, IT DID PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY TO SELL AND DONATE ALL OF THE STUFF THAT I SIMPLY DID NOT NEED. I WENT ALL OUT — I SOLD MY FURNITURE, INCLUDING MY BED, CLOTHES, SO MANY MISCELLANEOUS “THINGS” COLLECTED FROM MY TRAVELS, AND SHOES… LOTS AND LOTS OF SHOES.

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ANYONE WHO HAS KNOWN ME WITHIN THE PAST DECADE WILL LIKELY KNOW ME AS THE “SHOE GUY,” NOT A TITLE I PICKED FOR MYSELF, BY THE WAY. I STARTED CUSTOM DESIGNING SNEAKERS IN MY FRESHMAN DORM IN COLLEGE AND THEN LATER BECAME A SHOE DESIGNER (LONG STORY SHORT). WHEN SHOES WERE MY CAREER, IT WAS TOO EASY JUSTIFYING HAVING CLOSE TO 200 PAIRS. SINCE I WAS SAMPLE SIZE, I OFTEN TOOK HOME BOXES OF PROTOTYPES EVERY SIX MONTHS AS WE’D MOVE ON FROM ONE DESIGN DESIGN TO THE NEXT. BUT THANKS TO HAVING ENOUGH SAME-SIZED-SHOE FRIENDS AND THEN HAVING STOCKED THE NEARBY THRIFT STORES, I WAS ABLE TO UNLOAD THE VAST MAJORITY OF MY GROWING PILES. BUT THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST ROUND OF CUTS, BECAUSE I STILL HAD TOO MANY.

THE SHOES THAT I DID REALLY APPRECIATE OR FELT THAT I MAY WANT IN THE FUTURE, I DID KEEP THOSE. I MEAN, I’M NOT STUPID. BUT ONCE I BEGAN PACKING FOR LIFE IN AN AIRSTREAM, MY SELECTION HAD TO GET CHISELED DOWN EVEN MORE. OUR TRUCK BED IS LIMITED IN COVERED STORAGE SPACE AND OUR TRAILER IS ONLY 25-FEET LONG WHICH EQUATES TO MAYBE A COUPLE FEET OF AVAILABLE SHOE STORAGE — NO PUN INTENDED. 

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THIS DECISION PROCESS DEFINITELY CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE ON SHOES, AND SO MUCH MORE, BUT FOR THIS POST, LET’S JUST FOCUS ON THE SHOES. ONE STEP AT A TIME - ;) PUN! SHOES WERE NO LONGER MY JOB, THEY WEREN’T A PRIMARY RESEARCH METHOD FOR ME TO WEAR TEST AND FEEL THEM OUT TO MAKE ANY PRODUCTION ADJUSTMENTS, AND THEY CERTAINLY WEREN’T A STATUS SYMBOL OR AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT. INSTEAD, THEY BECAME AN ESSENTIAL UTILITY FOR WHATEVER WEARING OCCASION I MIGHT FIND MYSELF IN TRAVELING THE COUNTRY. FUNCTION FIRST, FORM SECOND.

I WILL ADMIT: I STILL HAVE TOO MANY SHOES. I WOULD LIKE TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD A BIT MORE. BUT HECK, IT’S A HELL OF A GOOD START FROM WHAT I HAD BEFORE. AND I PROMISE YOU THIS: ONCE YOU DISCOVER THE FREEDOM OF NOT HAVING TO CHOOSE WHAT SHOES YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR, IT HONESTLY WILL SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE AND ALLOW YOU TO FOCUS ON THE THINGS ARE TRULY MATTER.

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ONE DOWNSIDE TO HAVING LESS SHOES IS THAT IT DOES TAKE SOME EXTRA EFFORT TO KEEP THEM CLEAN. WHENEVER WE GET TO AN AREA WITH DECENT WEATHER AND OUTDOOR SPACE, I’LL PULL ALL OUR SHOES OUT AND GIVE THEM A SCRUB, BRUSH, AND/OR POLISH; WE’LL EVEN THROW OUR FLYKNITS INTO A LAUNDRY MACHINE ONCE IN AWHILE FOR AN EXTRA KICK OF FRESHNESS.

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HAVING TO REFINE MY COLLECTION OF SHOES INTO A PACKABLE BUNDLE THAT COVERS ALMOST ALL WEARING OCCASIONS, IT MAKES YOU REALIZE YOU DON’T NEED MUCH. PLUS, HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU DO HAVE MAKES THEM THAT MUCH MORE MEANINGFUL TO YOU — IT PROVIDES A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP AND VALUE THE MORE YOU WEAR THEM IN AND MAKE THEM YOUR OWN WHEREVER YOU VENTURE TO.

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Tyler Way
PRONOUNCED “WHUN-E-WHUN”

IN THE HILLS OF CÁRTAMA, SPAIN, WE HAD ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL MOMENTS TOGETHER. HAVING JUST SAID "I DO" A WEEK EARLIER BACK HOME IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, WE FOUND OURSELVES IN A STATE OF PEACEFUL BLISS WITHOUT ANY DISTRACTIONS OF LIFE.

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LIKE MANY NEWLY-WED COUPLES ON THEIR HONEYMOON, WE DISCUSSED ONE OF THE BIGGER LIFE QUESTIONS A COUPLE COULD FACE TOGETHER: WHAT DO WE ENVISION THE NEXT 70+ YEARS OF OUR LIFE TOGETHER? RULING OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THE LOTTERY, WE FELT THAT THE BEST WAY TO LIVE WOULD BE BY DECIDING THE TYPE OF WORK WE WOULD POUR OUR HEARTS INTO, THE PEOPLE WE GET TO WORK WITH, PLUS THE WHERE, WHEN, AND ABOVE ALL: WHY.

COMBINING OUR EXPERIENCES FROM THE FASHION INDUSTRY AS A FOOTWEAR DESIGNER AND A LUXURY RETAIL BUYER, IN ADDITION TO OUR DEGREES IN COMMUNICATIONS, PUBLIC RELATIONS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND SPANISH, WE BELIEVED WE COULD PROVIDE A UNIQUE AND MEANINGFUL PERSPECTIVE IN EVERYTHING WE DO.

BRAINSTORMING WHAT OUR IMAGINARY BRAND NAME COULD BE, THE NUMBER "11" BUBBLED UP TO THE TOP. WHEN WE FIRST STARTED DATING, WE DISCOVERED THAT BOTH OF “OUR NUMBERS” HAPPENED TO BE ELEVEN. FEELING DRAWN TO ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND VERSATILITY IN REPRESENTING BOTH US AS INDIVIDUALS AND NOW AS A DUO, WE STARTED SPLASHING AROUND SOME VARIATIONS. "ONE-ONE" AND "ONE-AND-ONE" KEPT CIRCLING BUT DIDN’T QUITE SPEAK TO US. THEN KENDRA MENTIONED "ONE-Y-ONE” (PRONOUNCED “WHUN-E-WHUN” AND WE BOTH IMMEDIATELY FELT ITS WARMTH AND ACCURACY IN REPRESENTING "US" AND THE SPANGLISH CONVERGENCE OF OUR BACKGROUNDS.

WANTING TO BE SURE EVERYTHING WE DO HAS MEANING AND PURPOSE, WE FELT INSPIRED BY STAINED GLASS AND WHAT IT SYMBOLIZED. IT REPRESENTS SOMETHING SACRED, IT’S MADE UP OF IRREGULAR PIECES THAT COME TOGETHER TO MAKE A BEAUTIFUL MOTIF THAT TELLS A STORY, AND WITH A LITTLE LIGHT SHINING THROUGH, CAN INSPIRE OTHERS WHEREVER THEY’RE AT IN THEIR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY.

THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED ANOTHER INDEPENDENT CREATIVE BUSINESS TO MAKE THINGS PRETTY, BUT JUST MAYBE IT COULD USE ONE THAT GOES BELOW THE SURFACE AND WORKS FROM THE INSIDE-OUT FROM START-TO-FINISH.

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Tyler Way