The Story of Kikadoju
Kikadoju came to be as a result of a continuous unfolding of rather unique events that seemed to create a place and purpose for its existence.
Recorded here is the happy and mysteriously interesting story of Kikadoju’s unfolding; which includes the story of the development of the Crancy Kilt. It is rather lengthy so consider having your favorite drink in hand if you adventure on. This is not intended to be a concise explanation of who we are and what our purpose is; but rather a recorded history of the interesting events that have made it what it is.
The story begins with Nancy, whose bio is here, and encompasses many others along the way… Nancy has always dreamed of many things, and always saw herself as involved in her own business some day; she just had no idea in what field that would be. She was always interested in “everything”, so that made it tough to focus directly on any one thing; she loved it all. Her primary interests in high school were art and science; then later she learned about architecture and design, and then after that the healing arts. Intuitively she felt that if she could hang in there, she would find her place in exactly something that she would love, but it would have to make its way to her, not in her finding it, as the world seemed too vast to figure it out. She often felt it was sometimes hard as an adult, “Not yet knowing what I want to do when I grow up.”
So here is where it all started, such a small beginning that it was not even recognized as a start…
IT ALL BEGAN WITH A WORD
Nancy got her first computer in the year 2000. The first thing her computer asked for was a password. This fascinated Nancy and she took it utterly seriously. She spent hours just dreaming about the most perfect password that nobody would be able to figure out. Then it came to her, to make up a word using the first two letters of each of her four animals’ names: Kiwi, Kayenta, Domino, and Judah. Kikadoju. Wonderful! There was something really engaging about that word. Excitedly, she decided to tell her significant other at the time, and he remarked, “Interesting… that would make a great company name.” That was intriguing, but fell flat on Nancy who was currently employed and had no idea about any “company” per se that it could be used for, so it remained just her secret password. But she never forgot about that statement.
Years went by; Nancy left full-time employment at her company, struggled through the process of growing up, and finding peace with who she really was, not who others said she was/or should be. She did some traveling, both abroad and in the U.S. She began doing her own fine art painting, and produced both her art and photography on note cards, while at the same time she worked freelance for several corporations doing product design work. In 2006, she was ready for a change; she had been contacted by a head-hunter who was looking to fill a design supervisor position in NYC. She decided to apply, and a couple days later attended her weekly spiritual group meeting. She told the group that she would know in two weeks if she got the job and would be relocating. The leader of the group turned to her and simply said, “NO, you will not be getting that job, God says ‘Baltimore'”; what Baltimore meant, Nancy had no idea. Two weeks later Nancy got a phone call from the design company letting her know that they had not chosen her. That did not surprise Nancy because of her group meeting, but she still did not understand the reference to Baltimore. A few months later a friend asked her to attend a special movie showing in York, PA. They signed up for the free raffles, giving their names and contact info. Two weeks later she got a call from the Baltimore School of Massage, sponsor of the event, asking if she would like to come in for a visit. She went, liked the facility, but did not really think this was a good time in her life to go to school because in her mind it was not financially feasible. Quite in turmoil about it, she prayed for God to give her an answer about whether to go or not, and then dropped thinking about it and began to clean the house. While vacuuming, she became aware of a pile of books that seemingly had one “glowing” in the middle of the pile. Curious, she stopped and pulled it out; it was an old journal. She flipped it open-right to the page where she had journaled six months prior, on the day she had attended the spiritual group meeting where the leader had said, “Not NYC, God says Baltimore”, (Baltimore School of Massage – ? Oh!). She took that as a sign and enrolled.
A BRAND IS BORN
So while she was in massage school in 2007, she was consumed with learning about aromatherapy and decided to create her own line of Essential Oil blends…just for fun. As she made her second blend, she realized the need to label them to tell them apart from each other, and so she labeled them #1 and #2. And right then, because she was trained as a graphic artist, she thought it would be fun to have better looking labels rather than using pieces of tape; so she stopped the blending process and went to the computer to create professional-quality labels. This “scope creep” led to about eight hours of designing an entire marketing brand for this new product: how it should look, showing the oil blend name, background colors, typography, aesthetics, information, and a company brand name. And right then it came to her; she remembered her significant others’ idea and thought, “Why not use the name Kikadoju for the brand?” She typed it on the label and it looked great, just like it was meant to be there. Kikadoju as a company name was taking its first baby steps, some seven years after the suggestion was made.
The very next day after conceptualizing the new brand idea, Nancy went back to blending the oils, and received a phone call in the middle of the day from a friend who was having a picnic that very evening, and asked if she would come. Nancy went and took her newly branded bottled oils for show-and-tell. Oddly enough, only one other person showed up, so Nancy asked the young woman what she did for a living. She explained that she was an attorney in a particular field of study; however, what she really wanted to do was to get into trademarking. If she could find a person who needed a trademark, she would do the legal work pro bono. Nancy inquired about exactly what a trademark was, and was told that it was protection for a unique name of product brand. Nancy produced her samples and explained what she had conceptualized just the day before. The attorney loved the name Kikadoju and asked Nancy if she wanted to be her first trademark client. What are the chances of that “random happening” the very next day after the idea to use Kikadoju as the brand name?
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Because so much effort was being put into trademarking Kikadoju, Nancy pondered whether she would change the name of her current businesses to Kikadoju. For at the time, her art/design business was under the name NS Design, and her growing massage business was The Healing Arts Studio. Nancy felt that Kikadoju could bridge both these businesses, but she did not want to rock the design clients’ boats with an unnecessary change. So as fate would have it that week, her login failed for her email ‘ns.design’. The internet service provider told her that her account had been disabled. She asked why they did that; the technician explained that “they” had not done it, and suggested that she had, which of course she had not knowingly done anything. Nancy asked him to enable it, and after several attempts at trying, he said, “We’re sorry but once an account is disabled it can not be reactivated.” Nancy’s irritation with the issue began to rise. Then he said, “You will have to choose another email address, do you have anything in mind?” At that moment her feelings shifted as Nancy perceived that something greater than her was guiding these events. Everything seemed to be saying, “The time is NOW to make the change. You were unsure, so we did it for you”. So confidently she said, “yes” to the technician, and opened a new email account for her business under the name Kikadoju. Now she would have to send an email informing her clients of the unexplained disabling of her previous email address. And this would provide the perfect moment to introduce her new company name in a seamless way. It all seemed natural; there was no going back, this situation had made that clear, and apparently Nancy had needed a little encouragement. As all these events continued to unfold, the apparent irony dawned on her quite often, and it always made her smile. She had worked so hard and passionately back in 2000 to come up with a “secret password no one would ever know”, and it was now going to be presented to the world for all to see…and many circumstances were making it happen. There seemed to be something very funny in all of it.
HIKING CLUB HUBBY
In 2008, Nancy was single and in the Adirondacks of New York, climbing a mountain and talking to God about her desire for a lifelong companion who would be a great match to her new-found self that was emerging. Near the end of her hike, she heard what seemed like an audible voice say emphatically and with direction, “Go back to Pennsylvania, and join the local hiking club.” Nancy believed this directive was related to the next stage in her personal development…nothing else. She was completely unaware that in the next few months, she would meet a man in the hiking club who would become her husband. This too seemed to require another act of God to complete, obviously Nancy could not see it. It so happened that her roommate at the time, who was not a hiker, asked her to show photos of her recent hikes. Her roommate noted one particular man in the photos and asked Nancy about him, and then said, “You are going to marry him.” Nancy thought that to be a rather unusual and bold proclamation. However, six months later she was asked out by this “Craig”, and 2-1/2 years later they were married.
ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME
Because Craig and Nancy had first met each other in the woods, they had discussed hiking the Appalachian Trail at some point. They initially discussed a plan: Starting a hike unmarried in Georgia, hiking to Pennsylvania to get married, and then to continue hiking on to Maine, married. This sounded awesome, but the logistics seemed a bit too much. Planning a wedding seemed to have enough moving parts as it was, without the planners themselves also being moving parts. Just how would they pull all that was needed together while spending the previous three months deep in the woods without much communication? It could be done, they just decided not to do it. But they did decide to take three months during the summer after they got married to hike at least half the trail (with their dog)…that was their plan.
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION
So immediately after their wedding, Craig and Nancy began training for their upcoming trail adventure. This required getting comfortable with managing hiking gear, and selecting what they would need for the trip. Nancy had TWO BIG PROBLEMS. The first issue: Peeing in the woods with a backpack was nearly impossible. She tried holding her bladder…agony. Drinking less water was not an option, as it was really important to stay hydrated…and that meant peeing a lot. Once her pack was on and settled, it felt comfortable. It was not a happy thing to take it off before she was at the final destination, because when she put it back on, it took a long time to get comfortable again. And it was impossible to squat and pee with the pack on. Nancy had tried a female urination device for standup peeing, and she liked the idea of it. But it did not work well with the combination of pants and a pack, and she filled her boots with urine more than once with that method. The second issue: trying to access items, like a handkerchief, that she had put in her pants’ top pocket. Once the pack belt was around her waist, it eliminated all access to items in her top pockets. This was frustrating, and Nancy knew that it need not be this way.
Nancy thought constantly about what could make her upcoming 90-days in the woods more pleasurable than she imagined, given her current issues. She had been in the process of trying to rework and change some of her existing clothing, but was not having great success until she had the thought, “Don’t try to fix up something you have. Start new with your own idea from scratch”. Shortly after, she awoke one morning with a clear picture of a hiking garment in her mind. She drew a sketch of it, and that was exciting. It was a garment in which she could easily pee standing up with a female urination device, and it had lots of pockets that would be accessible while wearing a backpack. Motivated to action, she immediately made a prototype from an old bed sheet. It was nice, but needed more freedom of movement. The next morning she made a second prototype, and this one worked perfectly. Elated, she showed her husband her creation and announced that she was going to hike the trail in a cleaned up, nicer version of this garment. Although her prototype was very lacking in aesthetics, Craig understood the concept, and said, “Wow, I would like to hike in one of those also!” Nancy was amazed, she had just “sold” one of her new creations! That next week, Nancy took the ‘crafted white bed-sheet prototype with lots of pockets’ with her to test it on a cross country skiing trip. She wore this “wrap”, as she named it, on top of insulated ski pants. It functioned well for accessing her ski gear, which was the intent. And surprisingly she got a lot of recognition and comments; people were really interested in this new “thing” she had on. She did realize that she probably looked ridiculous in this ‘not-well-sewn-fully-pocketed-white-bed-sheet-prototype’, which definitely attracted attention. But the comments were genuine and she knew it.
SUCCESS AND RECOGNITION
Nancy found a tailor/designer to make the first garment for herself; it was made of a red waterproof breathable fabric with yellow pockets…yellow only because she wanted to test a separate type of fabric at the same time, and yellow was the only color option. Nancy watched how he did it, so when he could not make the second one for Craig, she and a friend were able to create Craig’s garment one week before leaving for the trail; it was entirely red as Craig did not want yellow pockets. So Craig and Nancy began their hike in Georgia on May 14, 2012. Surprisingly, every week brought people commenting positively on their garments, even the yellow pocketed one, and asking where they could purchase them. Hikers kept referring to their garments as “kilts”, and so Nancy let go of the name “wrap” and they became “hiking kilts”. Craig and Nancy became known as the “Kilt People” on the trail that year, and Craig had been given the trail name “Kilt”. Nancy had been given several trail names, all very fitting, but had yet to decide which one she would accept. For Craig and Nancy, the kilts had performed wonderfully; they were convinced that it was an excellent garment to backpack in. The original design had passed the 90-day test fabulously, pretty much as is; there were only a few modifications to be made to the closure mechanisms. And that winter season, the red kilt with yellow pockets made its appearance for another test run at the cross country ski center, collecting more comments and exposure.
Craig had his degree in Business Administration, but had never applied this knowledge to anything directly, as he had eventually chosen a career in the Information Technology field. He saw the excellent potential in the hiking kilt because of the feedback they received, and decided that he would like to use his business knowledge to make this venture a go. He would scale back his IT job to four days per week, and dedicate one day per week to this new business of producing hiking kilts. Thankfully his company agreed to this, and Craig took it on, or it might never have happened. Nancy was all about the designing phase, endlessly perfecting it. She wasn’t really on board with taking it to the next level that needed to happen…fear perhaps. This caused some friction between them as they both learned more and more about each other and had different ideas about how things should be moving or not moving along. 🙂 But they worked it out as they grew and learned with the entire process, which was quite an undertaking.
ENTERING THE APPAREL INDUSTRY
Being new to the apparel industry, Craig’s only thought was to follow up on info given by hikers on the trail. That eventually led to their first contact with a new start-up sewing business in Asheville, NC. The factory contact was really interested in working with Nancy and Craig; but in the end, the product was outside their core focus. The NC sewing business was very instrumental in improving the construction of their garment and produced an upgraded “orange” prototype. Orange had been chosen for the first production run, primarily because of its visibility in the woods during hunting season. The color selected was a gentle engaging orange, not the standard fluorescent hunter orange. The orange prototype was also taken to the cross country ski center on a trial run that winter. Craig then found another apparel business in Huntington Beach, CA, which eventually took their garment to the final product. It was decided to name the kilt “Crancy Kilt”…catchy, and a word blend of Craig and Nancy, who had together originated it. Craig, by initiating the Appalachian Trail 90-day hike, and Nancy, by responding with the idea/design of the kilt, and Craig by following the process through to completion. While designing the Crancy Kilt label, Nancy was looking for a unique line that would be associated with their kilts and would describe the fun easy nature of the outdoor enjoyment that the kilt would facilitate. It was Craig who came up with “Feel the Breeze”. Nancy loved it…it was perfect!
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
Woven throughout this entire story, Nancy was continuously engaged in her personal development process. Not everything was going well, and she often felt overwhelmed by life. Something was bothering her that she just could not put her finger on. Unknown to her, there was a continual undercurrent of negativity in her life, and it was sabotaging her happiness on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be until she recognized this in herself, and not outside of herself that she would be able to begin to do anything about it. On top of all that, or maybe because of it, she simply did not understand the point of life; and something in her really felt that she needed to understand-in order to make any real forward progress. This underlying drive to know what was really going on soon became what she cared about most…not about making money or a living, but simply about finding something that actually made sense to her. She had been involved in several spiritual/religious organizations, but what ‘others believed’ and what seemed to work for them, was never making any real sense to Nancy deep inside where it all mattered. Although she tried to make this work, it eventually did not work for her completely and she had to find her own way. Nancy greatly appreciates these groups and feels that it was not a matter of one way being right and another wrong; she simply needed to find a way to see it for herself. And so she continued to explore in order to gain a greater perspective on things so as to have a better context to evaluate all her findings. She would not be where she is now, without walking those paths, and in an interesting way, everything seems connected, even now… The end result of all this ensuing confusion within herself was that she went through some financially lean years and felt that many around her did not understand why she would subject herself to this. In her mind, she was accepting the process that was unfolding before her. Somehow she knew there was necessary learning to be found if she stuck it out, and so she continued on; but it was tough, and she often thought about quitting. She had left ‘normal’ status quo living long ago, and there was no going back, only moving forward; to what?…she did not know. That in itself was so unsettling at times that it stirred fear of the future. There was also a lot of family upset in her life, and this troubled Nancy. She never knew what to do about it, or exactly why it was happening. Living life with others most definitely had its unique challenges especially when misunderstandings, different perspectives, different expectations, beliefs and ways of thinking enter into the ebb and flow of human relationships. Untangling this kind of mess can be quite daunting, even for the most courageous.
So all this personal difficulty began a sincere quest in Nancy to find answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. Nancy had never been interested in philosophy ever in her life; she never saw the point of it. But now it was knocking loud and clear. Without even knowing it, she was heading straight into philosophy as she began reading, studying, and searching herself and anything she could find to provide answers to what she was looking for. She had studied so much outside herself in the past, it was now time to look within. For now, this was her most important quest; her sanity seemed dependent on it. She knew not what she was looking for, but she ventured on courageously year after year, knowing that what she was looking for would have to someday appear. She began writing her thoughts down on “little white pieces of paper”, everywhere, all the time. As she organized them into piles, she could see a direction to a path emerging. Things were beginning to make sense to her, and she began to follow this path. This led to an awakening experience and the desire to know more, which has been ongoing ever since. And…as a natural result, Nancy applied these new insights to the business and defined Kikadoju into four distinct interrelated areas, which would all lead to the same end result-being a way to experience and enjoy life to the full: 1. Awareness/WRITING – A platform to begin a blog of insights on the mind and emotional/soul aspect of life for those who are searching for meaning in life in a similar way. 2. Wellness/MASSAGE – Bodywork for the physical/form part of us to enjoy optimal health. 3. Creativity/ART & DESIGN – Ultimately, a venue to encourage everyone to tap into their own creative passions and expressions. For the present moment, it is a place to promote the creative work that Nancy has to offer. 4. Adventure/TREKKING – Though still being defined, an area to share with others who love the outdoors and the wonderful soothing, calming and invigorating effect that nature offers; as well as a place to offer helpful tips and ideas that have been learned while living “out in the bush”.
In a rather funny way, as if to unwittingly sum all this philosophy up, Nancy finally decided to accept the trail name, “Lighten-Up.” It was given to her initially because she had started out on the Appalachian Trail with a pack that was way too heavy for her stature. And so in order to continue hiking with any measure of enjoyment, she had to remove a lot of unnecessary items; and she had been found one day on the trail in Fontana Dam, North Carolina, removing all the padding from her shoulder straps in a desperate attempt to “lighten-up” her pack weight- it was this act that had precipitated being given this trail name at that time. But now this name has taken on an unintended second meaning, as she now realizes, in a subtle way the joke was on her, in that she had been carrying a life-load that was way too heavy and she never knew it; and so her current personal focus is to “lighten up”! 🙂 And with each new day that she is able to lighten-up a little, life grows increasingly more delightful, she can see it and feel it.
It took two years and two sewing/apparel businesses until Nancy and Craig had their first production run of hiking kilts delivered and were ready to begin. This time lag was excruciating at times, but absolutely necessary for many other subtle things to come to fruition. In hindsight this was clear. Nancy continued to grow up and express the breadth of what she felt Kikadoju was expanding to be. Also in this time, Craig was learning IT skills to develop a website that could handle eCommerce.
The final production-run-orange-kilt got its inaugural wearing at the cross country ski center on January 31, 2015, where those who had been following their progress through the multiple iterations over the last few years celebrated with them, the amazing completion of a very long development process… both internally and externally.
And so now here we are. It is the end of a lot of happenings, but really it is only the beginning…as the path will continue to unfold…and we will follow it’s unfolding…enjoying the journey along the way.
Thank you for visiting. May you be blessed on your life’s journey into your own wonderful expression.