Buy us a coffee …..

As we prepare for the continuation of our Appalachian Trail adventure this year, friends and family have asked how they can help us while we are on our six-month-long walk in the woods. Last year we were faced with this same question and had several folks plan to send us care packages at certain points, give us gift cards to stores like Walmart, even reach out to people THEY knew who lived somewhere along the trail and ask them to offer help if we needed it.

All of these things were (and still are) GREATLY appreciated and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we received from people we know and love, and from complete strangers! The thru hiking community, especially the community surrounding the AT, is incredibly helpful, kind, generous, and loving and we are still in awe of the love we were shown last year and know we will encounter again this year.

Here are some things to consider when thinking about helping us (or any long distance hiker) out, specifically touching on the previously mentioned ideas:

Coordinating random care package mailings is tricky on a long distance hike because we will rarely know for certain when we will be in a town to receive the package. Then there’s making sure we are there when the post office is open. Some small towns have very limited PO hours and we could find ourselves spending an extra day waiting to pick up a box.

Giving us gift cards to stores like Walmart, for example, is a great idea but stores like Walmart are not always available, or the best option, in town. Sometimes the local grocery stores cater to thru hikers and have more options than the bigger chain stores.

We love the idea of having friends of friends help us out and enjoy meeting new people. Relying on their willingness to lend a hand is asking a lot of people who we don’t personally know. Folks are usually very excited about the idea of helping out when they first hear about our journey but that excitement can be lost when, 3 months later, some strange gals send them a text asking them to drive an hour to bring them a pizza at a trailhead.

How do we make it easy for you to help us out? A donation page where folks can send us a few dollars whenever they feel so inclined is a simple solution. After researching several options, we decided to ask you to buy us a coffee!

Our Buy Me A Coffee site allows you to donate a set amount per “coffee” (in our case, $5) and you can “buy us” one, two, three, TEN coffees if you want!

Visit our page and donate as may times as you like – once a week, once a month, whatever feels right to you. You can tell us your name or make your gift anonymous (we’d love to know who you are though so we can say a proper thank you!) and, if you choose to leave your email address, we will be the only ones who see it.

Buy Me A Coffee allows you use your existing PayPal account or a credit/debit card and they do not store your card information – all payment processing is handled by PayPal. Also, you do not need to create an account or sign up for anything. Just visit our site and make a donation. Simple.

One thing we want to make clear is that we are in no way asking you for donations. We created our Buy Me A Coffee page as a way to simplify the process for those who have asked how they can send us a little love while we are on trail. We also may pay it forward at some point if we should run into another hiker who is having a down day and needs a cup of coffee themselves! 

Click the button on the left if you want to buy us a coffee or two. We appreciate every cup!

We Have Merch!

Last summer, Shari and I started kicking around the idea of opening a merchandise (merch) store. We wanted to have a way to bring our creative ideas to life and give us an opportunity to share those ideas via an online store.

The first step was finding a platform that would allow us to create designs that could then be placed on t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc. Having no graphic design background, we needed a user-friendly site that would allow us to use existing graphics and customize them to fit our needs. After playing around with several options, we settled on a company called PlaceIt.

After a few days of spending hours in front of the computer (and maybe uttering some bad words) we learned the basics of working with the pre-made templates and had several designs that were ready for the next step – create our merch!

Right off the bat we knew we did not want to maintain inventory and handle orders and shipping, so we spent some time researching our options for online, print-on-demand companies. We were also looking for a place that offered a built in storefront presence that would allow us to add our designs to multiple products and integrate them right into a sales page.

There are many out there, all with their own pros and cons. We decided to try two of these, and set up our shop on Teespring (now “Spring”) and Redbubble

Once we were happy with the look of both stores and had a feel for the process of creating individual items we ordered a few things for ourselves to check quality and fit.

Originally, we thought we would have one store that would handle all of our items but found that we liked things about both of them! We determined that we liked the design process and the quality of the clothing items better on Teespring, so that’s where we will be sellling most of our items.

The options for stickers, and the quality and price point, were better on Redbubble so that’s where our sticker shop will be!

We are still learning new and better ways to create designs and Kris is starting to work with GIMP, a program similar to PhotoShop that will allow her to do things like remove the background from an image to create a sticker, for example. 

We’d love it if you’d browse our stores to see what we’ve created up to this point.

Click here to visit our Merch By The Girls store for shirts and mugs. From now until March 21, 2021 you can get 10% off by using the promo code PREAT2021 at checkout.

Looking for a sticker to decorate your water bottle? Click here to visit our sticker shop.

We will add new designs as time allows (we’re going to be a little busy for the next 6 months you know!) and hope you find something in our stores that makes you smile!