you could call it kismet from that day on, but matt and i had very separate journeys in life. we both left home for school; both spent time traveling and exploring.
but it took 20 years until we found ourselves back in our hometown of Henderson, Kentucky, both working for my family’s company, which had coincidentally opened its doors the very same year matt and i met—1986.
in 2006, matt and i were married.
in 2008 our family’s business closed its doors. every one of us lost our jobs.
over the years, i remember a few specific moments where matt and i realized, even without knowing it at the time, that we would create something together.
one of those moments happened in the summer of 2008 at Hotel San Jose in Austin, Texas. exhausted and broke, we found ourselves sharing a room with four other people, all of us together for a friend’s wedding.
our trip was an inspiration—a sensory overload with unforgettable people, colors, textures, and smells. we were inspired by the people we met. people who had built something new and exciting in that city.
the way matt and i operate has always involved a mix of uncertainty reinforced by intuition.
call it a gut feeling.
back in 2008, there was no evidence to prove that our dream of imogene + willie would work. we had no idea where we would end up. we had no idea how we would get there. but we knew what we wanted.
we wanted to make something that would last.
we wanted to make things in the usa.
we wanted to create a space to share.
we wanted to build community.
above all things, we knew we couldn’t do it alone. and we didn’t want to. so we wrote an email to everyone we knew. we told them about our dream of imogene + willie.
on January 26, 2009 at 3 o’clock in the morning, matt and i sat at our kitchen table in Henderson and pressed send.
we started our brand with an online campaign. we sent out a blog two years ago at 3am in the morning in january and told people about our dream.
we just simply wanted to sew a good jean for both men and women that fit perfectly. we hoped that the gas station would become a destination for lovers of denim and other treasures...
at that moment, imogene + willie was a dream that came with no guarantee.
we launched with only a single email. our plan was to try to sell 250 jeans in our inaugural fits: imogene (for women) and willie (for men).
and then it began.
orders started coming in from all over the country, and then from all over the world. we sold 250 pairs in three weeks, then another 250 in the weeks that followed. it was looking like imogene + willie was going to happen.
on one hand, it was almost impossible to believe. but on the other hand, it happened because we believed it would.
after months of planning, building, and cleaning, matt and i set up shop in an old service station in Nashville, TN.
we opened our doors on a warm day in july of that same year. we invited everyone we knew, and a lot of people we didn’t. and we threw a party.
prior to the summer of 2009, imogene + willie was only a gut instinct that we thought we could make work.