Meet the Cartel: Endure Life
Welcome back to our new interview series Meet the Cartel, a spotlight on Big Cartel shop owners. For today’s installment, say hello to Chelsea Stout, a graphic designer and photographer with an important message to share.
How did Endure Life begin?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to help others. I was raised with a camera in my hand, so I wanted to use photography as a way to inspire others. My main objective was to really capture the beauty of every day life. The nature in every day life is something that so many people pass by without stopping to really, genuinely smell the flowers.
As I was growing up and really getting into photography, I lost my best friend to suicide, which caused me to really struggle with my own mental health. This was at a time when it was unacceptable to speak about mental health, so while I silently struggled, I also silently began creating the idea of Endure to give myself purpose.
After years of dreaming of what I could create, I went to college to learn everything I could about graphic design, web development and photography. I decided to take the next step with Endure and apply for my business license. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew this was something I wanted and I was going to do everything necessary to build it.
As I was waiting for my business license to arrive, I got the news that we lost my brother in law to suicide…the next day I received my business license in the mail and I knew this was my sign to keep going. As much as I wanted to give up, I knew this was what I needed to be doing. So I began creating things to inspire others to push through the darkness, to realize that pain is temporary and to show that no matter what they’re going through, they are not alone. All of these messages gradually turned into the designs we have today! Such as our You Are Not Alone Bigfoot and One Day At A Time designs.
Why did you choose Big Cartel?
When I was starting my online shop, I was working at a small graphic design/web development firm. I was in charge of running plugin updates on our clients’ websites which were usually ran by wordpress or other e-commerce hosting sites and I saw how poorly they were on the back end. I started doing research on other hosting sites that were cost efficient and not overly complicated for no reason. This is when I came across Big Cartel. I started my website that day and never turned back!
Tell us about your most popular item in your shop
Our You Are Not Alone Bigfoot tees and decals are our top sellers! It’s a nice, subtle way to remind people passing by that they’re not alone. But honestly, who would have thought so many people were into Bigfoot?!
And what’s your favorite item in your shop?
Every item means so much to me, but I would have to say the One Day At A Time decals are my favorite. It’s something that I need to be reminded of pretty often, and the mountains and sun are a perfect representation of how beautiful each day can be.
Why did you choose your current theme for your shop?
I chose the Ranger theme because it has all the features I’ve wanted in a site! It’s simple, has a drop down category menu, and a message bar at the top so I can put positive messages for anyone visiting!
Check out the Ranger theme for your own Big Cartel shop.
Which Big Cartel feature could you not live without?
Besides the phone app, I’d say the product group options! Once that came out, it was a real game changer.
What does a regular workday look like for you?
Each day starts with a french press full of coffee and that’s the most regular thing about our days! With my wife and I both running a small business and only having our dogs as our employees (not really, they just beg for treats and nap all day…) it’s always a new adventure! From taking/editing product photos, to making/shipping out orders and keeping up on current legislation, we are always trying to do the most we can each day for our businesses and our community.
We absolutely love the spontaneous nature of being creators because it gives us time to do more for our communities, like set up a hydration station for this overly hot summer, to signing petitions and handing out de-escalating mental health crisis cards. One thing we can guarantee every single day is that we will always do everything we can to help those in need.
Tell us about your process for coming up with new products.
Honestly, I don’t have a miraculous process for new products. Sometimes I just wake up with a new idea in my head, I sit down and start designing. Some ideas never making it beyond that step because they don’t turn out as I thought, but some turn out to be our top sellers!
Who or what inspires you?
My wife is my number one inspiration. She has believed in me since the moment we met, and there was no stopping me from changing the world after I had her by my side. She pushes me to keep going every single day.
I’m also endlessly inspired by people that push through their darkest times to create something beautiful.
What’s a moment in your career, or life in general, that you’re proud of?
I have had people tell me that my work has saved their life and nothing makes me more proud than inspiring others to stay here and keep going. That is the whole reason I started Endure and to see it actually happen is such an incredible accomplishment.
What was the most unexpected challenge you have encountered while running your own business? How did you overcome that challenge?
Gaining exposure has been one of the hardest things I’ve encountered. A lot of people/places don’t want to be tied to something as stigmatized as mental health, so it’s tough to breakthrough in certain communities, such as the outdoor community. It’s a long process because as we build our business, we also want to build a place full of educational tips and resources so that our community can help normalize these topics. But as we continue working towards normalizing the conversation, more and more people are getting on board!
How do you like to unwind after a particularly busy day?
A busy day generally ends with watching episodes of Love Island, cooking with my wife and playing with our three dogs!
Any advice for someone thinking about opening up their own shop?
If you believe in your mission and craft, don’t let anyone’s doubt get in the way of what YOU can do. Creating something no one has seen before makes people really uncomfortable, but that says less about you and more about their insecurities. So be your own hype person, keep going and remember why you started.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Playing/coaching soccer professionally! I’m still currently pursuing those, but not as seriously as Endure because I believe now more than ever that the world needs more hope and positivity.
Twizzlers or Red Vines?
Ooooh! Twizzlers ALL day, cuz Red Vines…ewww #wax
Give us three recommendations… for anything!
- Pachamama Coffee! - they’re a sustainable coffee roaster that fuels our workdays and adventures!
- Sphyrnas - My wife’s company that’s doing big things for sharks and ocean conservation!
- The Charles Roundtree Bloom Project - They are creating a space of communal healing for youth impacted by incarceration by facilitating healing-centered outdoor experiences.