When we first started Catch Some Air, we were giving away and selling white t-shirts that we colored on with sharpies and splashed with watered down acrylic paint. It was super goofy and fun! However, the day we made our website live, we had more orders than we could handle making from our hospital room or during times of Kristine feeling crappy from chemo at home.
Kristine told me, "Well if leukemia doesn't kill me - making all these t-shirts will!" Our fun little hobby had turned into a second threat of death, and I knew it was time to call it quits. Handmaking t-shirts came to a quick halt. We decided she would still sketch her happy goofy designs, but just once - and on paper. I would get them produced on shirts for the masses. Only hold up was I had no idea how. Which brings us to the great Andrea Lake.
I was not even looking into the 'how' of branding and mass t-shirt production yet, but by a crazy act of God, I stumbled across Andrea Lake - Founder of TEEacher ...and founder of lots of other things (total badass) like StickerJunkie! She taught us everything we needed to know, answered our millions of questions, saved us from making unwise choices that would have tanked us from the beginning, made learning super fun, put our nerves at ease when we (or rather, I) got stressed (I don't think I've ever seen Kristine stressed - it's probably all that coloring), and believed in us 100% from the start. But the best part of all - she became like another big sister during the process.
All the learning at first had been virtual, but we really wanted to meet Andrea in person (one of those people you can just tell is genuinely cool). So, we got ourselves invited to her house (blamed it on her awesome Sedona view that the cancer patient wanted to enjoy - tried to not sound like total creepers. Gotta work that cancer card where you can ;).
The visit was better than we dreamed and totally blew our expectations. Honestly, we figured Andrea would be super busy running four companies and all - so thought we'd just meet her and mostly do our own thing and enjoy that incredible porch view (which we would have been stoked with that alone). Well, the flowers and our favorite chocolate sitting in our room when we got there was the first indicator that things might be different. The first day I got to go on her morning routine: get coffee and take Rico and Lola to the dog park. So fun hanging out and talking business (my fav!). Once Kristine woke up, we'd drive back, pick her up, and Andrea would take us out to the best breakfast joint in town. In the afternoon she brought us on the most amaaaazing hikes that are only accessible by super vehicles - one of which she has. Then Kristine and I would chill for awhile in front of that gorgeous view of hers only to be delightfully interrupted for a killer home cooked dinner. But it doesn't even end there. In the evening Andrea hung out with us and played games...like those cool but sometimes awkward games where you really get to know people. It was the best ever! And it was like this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY we were there. Oh, and not to mention the super thoughtful gift she got us each. Plus stickers!
Andrea, thanks for loving us well, believing in us, inspiring us to dream bigger, being super fun, treating us like the most important people around, making our first vacation after diagnosis one of the best, and being the most kick-ass mentor ever. We love you lots big sis! <3
- Brianna Tesauro (the sister who does everything else)
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