We've learned a lot building Chasing Tides, and met people along the way that have enlightened us to some pretty amazing things. The couple behind Amabile Co. are two of those people. For starters, take a look at the company's vision, "The waters we share with the world will be safe and clean for all life; present and forevermore." We hope you enjoy this feature, it's an important one.
What does sustainability mean to you? Don’t worry, that’s not a loaded question - but it is one that deserves some intentional thought. So, really, what does it mean to you?
Methinks sustainability is a word that means different things to different people. To us, it denotes caring for the environments we spend our time in enough to mitigate our impact on them. As humans, we’re all victims of over consumption in one way or another. It’s virtually impossible to live in modern day society and not deplete the resources around you in some way, shape or form.
Here are a few common things you might do daily that cause harm to the environment.
Wash your clothes in hot water. Fun fact, 90% of the energy consumed in washing your clothes with hot water is used solely to heat the water.
Use microbead infused cosmetics. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good face scrub, but these tiny plastic beads don’t actually dissolve in water, so you can imagine where they end up once they go down the drain.
Overcharge devices. Full disclosure, I’m a serial over charger - I promise I’ll be better. Leaving electronic devices plugged in for longer than they need to charge causes unnecessary strain on power grids, and smartphone charging is trending towards massive generations of carbon dioxide.
Long story short, we can all be a little better. Recently, we were fortunate to meet some truly inspiring folks that are taking sustainability into their own hands. A couple months ago we met Adrian and Katie Amabile, co-founders of Amabile Co..
Adrian and Katie started Amabile Co. in 2020, and after speaking with them, we were immediately drawn to helping spread the word about their business. Their story is compelling to us for two main reasons. First, is their mission:
“Amabile Designs provides beautiful sustainable products that create awareness, funds, and connections for local people to organizations focused on cleaning the waters they call home.”
Second, is the fact that they’ve gone all in to build their business full time, right out of their own home.
Katie and Adrian repurpose recycled silver, glass, and rescued nylon fishing nets to craft a line of artisanal bracelets, all made by hand in their home studio.
Additionally, a portion of every purchase goes to one of Amabile’s 19 partner organizations. These organizations are dedicated to the preservation and restoration of our nation’s waterways. The coolest part of their business structure is you, the customer, get to choose which organization to support upon purchasing a bracelet.
Curious about how the Amabile’s got started, we asked if there was a specific occurrence that compelled them to start the company.
“Each year we take a family trip to OBX with my [Adrian’s] parents; the timing of that year’s trip was not ideal, it was just days after hurricane Florence hit the coast. When we got there, we expected to see debris scattered from the hurricane but had never seen anything like what we actually saw,” said Adrian.
“Down the beach was a row of plastic bottle caps about three feet wide and as far as you could see. We’re not really sure where they came from, but for the first time ever, the coastline broke our hearts. It wasn’t the first time we had seen litter in the water, but this scene just hit our hearts hard,” he explained.
"For the first time ever, the coastline broke our hearts."
For two people that grew up with such close relationships to the water, that was a heavy sight to come across. Adrian lived and experienced the best our waterways have to offer growing up on the Carolina coast, in the Blue Ridge mountains, and many places in between. Katie grew up spending countless hours at her family’s lake house on Lake Wateree, South Carolina.
“With memories like that, which are all built around the water, the waters themselves start to draw up emotion. It’s like a happy memory tied to a certain smell or sound, the water just brings that to both of us, and as we share all of this with our children, we can see it in their eyes too,” Adrian recalled.
He continued, “that’s why we want to make a difference for our waterways. It’s not just about our experiences on the water; it’s about preserving it so our children can experience that same emotion. It’s about taking care of what we have so that many after us can enjoy it.”
We quickly realized how driven the Amabile’s are to protect the waterways they love so much. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit that the couple realized the true motivation behind pursuing the business full time, their children.
“During the 6 weeks of quarantine, I [Adrian] got to see our second son take his first steps; something I regrettably missed with our previous child,” he described.
“I missed out on a lot of family things due to my work schedule and commute. But seeing those unbalanced steps in the sunshine of the back yard was gold; that was the push I needed. It was a hard decision to leave the security of a full time job, but with all the encouragement surrounding the idea of Amabile Co., we knew it was the right thing for us to do.”
Motivation is one thing, but turning that unpolished purpose into a successful business is something else entirely, not to mention, inspiring.
“Life is all about balance, and finding that when you own your own business is hard to do,” says Adrian.
Often, the most difficult part of operating a small business is simply knowing when to stop. especially if the office and your home are on the same property.
Adrian explained, “The biggest obstacle we have to navigate is knowing when to clock out. When you’re working for someone else, it’s easier to walk away and turn off the working side of your brain. But when you're home and have an idea for the business, even if it's midnight, it’s hard not to start working on the idea.”
After putting effort into acknowledging the situation at hand, the Amabile’s have a recommendation, “Our advice is to set aside time every day to have ‘off time.’ Play a game, watch a movie, have a conversation where you don’t talk or look at business. Having boundaries around personal life and business life are a must.”
On the flip-side of that equation are the benefits to working for yourself. Adrian and Katie’s favorite part about owning their own business is the flexibility it provides.
“We are constantly thinking about the next steps and new ideas to try, but we also have the ability to really take time and enjoy the moments in between,” they said. “We can now take spontaneous day trips to the lake or a day hike by the stream to build new memories with the family and maybe catch a few photos along the way.”
Likewise, the Amabile’s have a tremendous amount of pride and purpose in what they now do for a living.
“Knowing that our business is doing something to protect the wellbeing of our planet. It really is something we are so proud of and just love sharing with our children.”
Let's end where we began. We asked Adrian what sustainability meant to him.
"Sustainability is about health, the health of the environment and all living things. If we can use what we have without negative consequences to the environment, the environment will be a healthier and safer place for all to enjoy. To us, it’s responsibility; it’s the standard to strive for, not just in business but everyday life."
We learned a lot from our discussion with the Amabile's, but part of that quote has stuck with me, and has impacted my day to day thought process. Sustainability is the "...standard to strive for..."
Wearing an Amabile Co. bracelet is like carrying around a constant reminder to be better and more conscious about sustainability. It makes you think a little harder about the small changes you can make to reduce your own impact on the environment.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Want to learn more about Adrian, Katie, and Amabile Co.? Check out the latest podcast episode with our partner Zach over at Along The Keel.
Take a look at our Amabile gallery below, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest releases, podcast episodes, and articles.