Project: BareNaked American Pie

Jenn wrote this about Jan 27, 2011 for the 2011 category.

Left the corporate world back in 2001.  Right before the tech bust.  Economy was still pretty good.  Traveled the country with three kids taking a year off between leaving a decade in the rat race to the vision of finding our version of Family business in America.  Going back to the old days one could say.  The quest was fast paced and highly creative.  Many late nights sitting up with brainstorming sessions that would knock your socks off.  Tens of thousands of miles traveled, 43 states visited, and too many truck stops to count.  With views out of the RV windows that gloried the land that we slept on and the symbol of ultimate freedom and opportunity ~ America.  Then 9/11 hit.

BareNakedFamily found themselves at Ground Zero six weeks later loosely helping people through prayer,  visits to police and fire stations with our Dad who at the time was  a Police Chaplain, and even found ourselves drinking with the locals in a neighborhood bar deep in the Jersey City Industrial Park.  A bar that was located feet away from the storage room that housed the explosives used in the first World Trade Center bombing back in the 90’s.  And most of these people in the bar out of work from the collapse of the economy.  Blue collar workers, Real American heroes who were doing work most of us couldn’t or wouldn’t.  Unemployed.  Because of fear.  This time marks the change in our history.  And so begins the story of BareNakedFamily and their quest to get a piece of the American Pie.  With integrity, dignity, and justice for all…of us.

Lots of years we worked on that.  Tried our hands at lots of things.  Some successful, some not.  And the friends.  Oh, the friends we met.  The Families out there we met hungry for change, time together, and purpose in their life.  Just like us.  We used ourselves to connect, inspire, and empower them to take back their lives.  Building a nationwide web of real American Families with amazing stories and beauty.  Our webs through the years on the road and BareNaked projects evolved into the backbone of our current business BareNakedWebs.com ~ web design, publicity, and social networking.  A business that was really special to us because it was a clear culmination of years being BareNakedFamily publishing the stories from the road, from the people, from the adventures of finding small business and working for ourselves through blogging, social media, and personal connections with our audience.  Being accessible for the folks out there became a wonderful part of our life and a strange one at that.  But we’re not really conventional and love being friends with lots of strangers so we embraced living our life publicly and openly always answering days worth of emails and questions all this time later.

The last few months we’ve been talking about having a hard time rounding up work in this economy. In the months previous, our business was thriving even as clients were tightening their belts due to the hard hit restaurant industry.  Had the right amount of clients.  Making the numbers we set out to make.  Moved across the country.  Became inspired again.  Then watched the economy sink again.  In a much bigger metropolitan area.  Where people are out of work in record numbers.  Our marketing that was bringing us new accounts, literally dried up over a few weeks right after Christmas.  Almost going over minutes to no phone calls.  Being freelancers, we adjusted our prices, nothing.  Dropped the price of our websites, our bread and butter that we usually charge anywhere from $300-$1000K to a record low of $150.  Nothing. Outstanding invoices to the tunes of thousands due for work done, stood up.  Scrambling to find any sort of short term cash flow, we started to send out resume submissions on Craigslist all day for weeks.  Have not received one call.  Bank account dwindling.  Landlord works with us on rent.  He’s a great guy/friend.  Says ‘hey send me your resume.  I have lots of folks in the the tech world.  Let me give it out to them’.  Then landlord calls and says that he’ll be sending our resume out along with his, he just got laid off a professional IT career.  Creativity at an all time high.  Heart full of gratitude.  Beer still in the fridge.  Kids cool about it.  Decided to go to an open interview at a restaurant for a managerial position since most of our web, social media, and publicity skills come from working with some of the biggest venues in back in Austin.  We found ourselves interviewing with about four hundred other people all looking for some work themselves.  As Greg was in an interview, Sunny and I were waiting and overheard a guy say that he had been in the restaurant business for twenty years and he’s never seen this many people for an interview.  The restaurant was so overwhelmed with the response that they couldn’t even focus and the interview sucked proving that we have to stick with finding our own way out of this like we always do.

We found ourselves feeling grateful.  Grateful for who we and what we have done.  Grateful that we are smart.  And honest.  And hardworking.  Grateful to be BareNakedFamily.  We found ourselves thinking about all those other people who are in the same boat.  Thinking about the woman that we stood in line with who told us about her husband who was helping expand the Panama Canal and would be gone for two years leaving her in America with the kids.  She was applying to be the baker.  Greg and I looking at each other I’m sure thinking the same thing.  It’s time to get BareNaked and make some shit happen.

We smile, say goodbye, and head home where we discover over a couple of beers, photography stills, and humble pie that we have what it takes to take our lives back once again.  And by tomorrow you will get your fair share of what it’s like to live publicly and honestly as BareNakedFamily.

Because if those guys back in that Jersey City bar taught us anything…it’s that we’re all in this together and we take care of one another.  And we’re badass American folks…

16 Responses to “Project: BareNaked American Pie”

  1. Carolyn Sasek says:

    You guys are awesome! I know that more fantabulous (inspiring) adventures are just around the corner for you all.. oh yeah… with some opportunity to create income to pay the bills. Keeping you all in positive thoughts and prayers! ((hugs)) –c–

  2. dave says:

    I’m on the edge of my seat quivering in anticipation.
    Can’t wait to hear the plan.

  3. Jenn says:

    Thanks! Not only for your kind words, but for being a BareNaked reader, friend, a part of the Family all this time. It’s folks like you that inspire us to continually set the bar higher, to dig down deeper, to love whole heartily.

    Thank you!

  4. From the time we “met” I have maintained that BNF is an extraordinary example of family and true parenting, values which much of the modern world, sadly, seems to have forsaken. Children don’t do as they’re told, they follow example and do what you do – and the BNF parents instilled in all their children a reverence for life, excitement for living it, and character and backbone to make sound choices. Whenever I have time, I follow your stories on FB and I am regularly in complete awe of the absolute trust you continue to place in the universe to supply your every need. I know there is a book here – and a GREAT story to tell. Instead of getting if officially published for now, consider writing an E-book and getting it out on the Net – that can make you instant money and who knows where things might go? With your kind of energy and commitment, the sky is the limit – and besides you are beacons of light in so many ways.
    Elfreda (Big BNF fan)

  5. Jenn says:

    Elfreda, I’m literally fumbling for words right now.

  6. Jenn says:

    Dave, me too…;) But in all honesty BNF projects seem to have a mind of their own. We’re just along for the ride…

  7. Lol – it is from the heart.

  8. Jenn says:

    And the heart…it’s a strange, yet beautiful thing!

  9. Sarah says:

    Prayers up for you and your family, that I don’t know as well as I should. Can not wait to see how this works out…I’m sure it will be “epic.”

  10. JC Cobb says:

    Hi, looks tough up there. We have space behind the barn for the RV with water, elect, sewer, and trash. No fee. Someone told me there are 81 restaurants in the area. Don’t know about other opportunities here. The base is retirement (blue hair). You might have to make the kids do slave labor driving the tractors mowing here,etc. You are not alone, you have options, Vicki and I will do what we can to get you back to Texas.

  11. Emily says:

    Love you guys and your amazing attitude despite the work climate being so rough! Any luck with Elance.com, Odesk.com, or Guru.com? Or Etsy? Miss you guys like crazy!!!

  12. Vicki says:

    Please know that JC’s comment comes from both of us. Just so you know you have an alternate place to land!
    I love what Elfreda had to say. Hope
    it is inspirational!!
    Love you guys!
    Grammy

  13. Just Greg says:

    Thanks you Gramps and Grammy! What a wonderful message to receive from two of our favorite people in this great big world! Sure love you and glad to know that you love us the way you do. It’s a downright honor!

  14. peanut says:

    An insipiration. Read everything you guys post. Thank-You.

  15. Traci says:

    do you know about http://www.kickstarter.com/ seems like lots of BNF projects would work using this kind of funding model! love you and miss you

  16. Jenn says:

    We’ve used that to help donate to causes and albums by other friends and artists. Think you’re right…We’re just about to launch the plot behind the BareNaked America Pie, so that usually means the plan will follow. Might be able to tie this into some of our ideas. Thanks doll! Love and miss the Wammo, Jackson, and baby Cici Fam…so much!

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