What Does Mobius Theory Mean (To Me)?
Let's Start Again From The Beginning
I just got done with Mobius Theory's second appearance with a vendor booth at Cooper Young Festival, and I realized that this essentially marks the company's second birthday (or one of a few key dates, at least).
But I also realized there is quite a bit I have been holding back on as far as my story, and why I even started this brand. I can't begin Year Two in earnest without an honest recount of all the traumas and difficulties that got me here.
A year ago, my wife Amanda and I got ready for our first Cooper Young Festival and at the time we had only set up for two prior pop-up events; one was indoors and the other was at the Cooper Young Community Farmer's Market at the beginning of September. As amazing and pivotal as those markets were, they were relatively easy and short days. Cooper Young Fest was the major leagues. It is the largest single-day festival in the state of Tennessee. For many makers and artists in Memphis and throughout the Mid-South, it is their biggest, longest, and most profitable event. This is true for Mobius Theory.
I received some excellent advice and mentoring leading up to the big day, including some suggestions for processes and equipment I still use to this day. However, in so many other ways, we were both so completely unprepared. Amanda wasn't sure she would stay to help the entire time because she never actually lasted as a spectator for more than one half hour. All that is a story for another time, but the most important thing to note is that she stayed with me the entire time during our inaguaral festival vendor experience. We made it! And as a bonus, we made money, which is always nice.
Our Wounds Create Our Gifts
I was encouraged, and the support I got from the Memphis community was overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that I was basically coasting through festivals for the next six months and into the Spring. I never got a chance to stop and take a breath. I never paused to flesh out the manifesto the way I had originally wanted. And as I embark on the busiest 12 weeks of the year, I have to force myself to stop all engines and make sure I don't coast along this path any farther until I begin to accept the pain that brought me here, why I even want to set up at Cooper Young Fest. It is a story that I am sure will span my entire life, and every design and product comes from this place. Over the months and years, I expect to learn and change and grow from this process, and I hope that it will do the same for some of you out there.
For Mobius Theory, these whimsical designs are intrinsically tied to a rich story of darkness and beauty. I honor my friendship with D'Drennan who took his own life many years ago. His is a story of a creativity and passion cut short by an inexplicable wish to surrender. Money, pressure, I honor my father whose retirement has taken a different path than expected. His path is now a retirement suffering with dementia and postponed joy, a joy that never quite materialized in the way we imagined..
As I embark on the second of what I expect to be many, many years with this enterprise called Mobius Theory, I expect to share more about this story and how it relates to where I am now in the city of Memphis. This old city has a beautiful and rich history. Some stories are positive, and some are negative. Some are truly heartbreaking, but every single story is equally important to the narrative of what makes this city so deep and vibrant. I believe the same can be said for each of us, and I am certainly no exception. What we do with that story is the true test. We can honor history without dwelling on it, and we can also forge a bright future without glossing over and suppressing the pain.
All this is easier said than done, but that perhaps is the great paradox of being an adult in this age. I define Mobius Theory as “the ability to exist in multiple states simultaneously, enabling us to regain the awe, wonder, & playfulness we experienced as children.” That is a quick way to describe a brand without getting into a lot of details. An elevator pitch, if you will. But the need to reduce everything into some short pitch compounds the larger issue of just how little time we have simply to listen to someone, even our family and dearest friends. Even when their lives depend on it.
So this is where Mobius Theory’s story begins, an absurd brand for an absurd age. A message for ourselves and others to strive for imperfection, wonder, awe, and curiosity. To make pleasure as important as business. To never take ourselves too seriously. And to always, always make time to listen.