Upon occasion, people will ask me how Hummingbird and Holly got started. Like most career paths, it was a series of events that led me there, and two of those events happened over a decade ago. Before our company was even an idea, two moments pushed me closer to my current path.
In 2005, my first husband died. I know, some of you are like, “Wow, things just got dark really fast!” But don’t worry, that is not the end of my story. That is not even the beginning of my story. To get to the beginning of this story, you need to go back to a month before my husband died, to the spring of 2005, when my son was seven, and my daughter was nine.
During this time in our lives, my husband had four great passions—me, his kids, his dog, and motorcycles. He loved motorcycles! He loved racing at Seattle International Raceway. He loved long conversations about ceramic-coated tail pipes. He loved scenic Northwest rides, and sometimes, over the course of a weekend, he would take his entire motorcycle apart, piece by piece, and polish every little nut and every little bolt, and put the whole thing back together again.
If you were to come across him on a sunny afternoon, what do you suppose was his favorite compliment to receive? Nice Bike. Nice Bike!
Now, during this time when my husband loved me and motorcycles, I taught English at Interlake High School in Bellevue, and when I was a teacher, I did a fair amount of public speaking. The principal I worked for at the time had just completed an extensive survey of our entire student body to see how they were feeling about their high school experience. She gave me the results of the survey and asked me to present the information to the staff.
At the risk of sounding less than humble, I will say to all of you–I was a pretty good teacher, but I worked with phenomenal teachers, which was why I was so surprised by the results of the survey. These kids that we devoted so much time and energy to actually felt disconnected from us. The survey indicated they felt unrecognized, unnoticed.
The week I was putting the survey results together, I went to a teachers’ conference and heard a motivational speaker talking about how Nice Bike was the best compliment you could give a motorcycle rider. That rang true to me and maybe that was the answer to our challenge at Interlake. We needed to “Nice Bike” our kids more. We needed to acknowledge them and appreciate them for the things that mattered most in their lives.
A few days later, I returned to my high school and told the staff that we needed to “Nice Bike” our kids.
Now, I know many of you are thinking, are we still talking about Hummingbird and Holly? Yes, yes we are! I am going to circle right back to that. But now I am at the point in my story where my husband dies. One month after I gave my “Nice Bike” speech, my husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. I’m sure you all saw that coming, but in 2005 I did not see that coming. I really did not see that coming.
I won’t dwell on it for too long except to say that being a young widow with two small kids is like treading water in a hurricane, and the hurricane is taking place at your dinner table; it’s in bed with you at 3 AM; it’s in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. The hurricane is relentless, but obviously people walk through storms every day; I am certainly not alone in this particular experience.
And I always told my kids, we have to set our compass to happy, and no matter how far off the path we go, no matter how deep in the dark woods we are, if our compass is set to happy, we will eventually find our way back. And we did!
I got remarried, and my amazing second husband adopted my two kids. (By the way, finding amazing husbands in my superpower; I am undefeated in that category.) At the age of forty, I had another baby, and I left teaching to have what I called my year of bliss.
One year of bliss turned into two years of bliss, which turned into three, which turned into six, but by my sixth year of bliss, it was not so blissful anymore. I was a little bored and a little restless, and I wondered what my next challenge would be. My dear friend, now business partner, Krista Golden, was in a similar situation, and we started having conversations about businesses we could start together. When we landed on the idea of care packages, I thought, that’s it! That is my company. Hummingbird and Holly is a vehicle for people to Nice Bike the ones they love. Hummingbird and Holly is a vehicle for companies to Nice Bike their employees, customers, and partners. Hummingbird and Holly is a vehicle for people to Nice Bike their neighbors, moms, and best friends.
You could say we sell gift baskets, but that is not what Krista and I say about ourselves. We believe we are in the business of gratitude distribution.
When a gift leaves our office we are delivering someone’s gratitude; we’re delivering someone’s appreciation; we’re delivering someone’s acknowledgement.
A gift from Hummingbird and Holy is your love delivered in the most unique way.
You can read Kate’s original story in Glamour Magazine by clicking HERE.