What’s up, everyone? I’m Austin, long-time friend of Carter’s and I’m buzzing to join Loma Apparel for the latest blog post. I was definitely inspired by Loma’s first post and I can’t wait to share the latest story with everyone. I think you’ll love it.
Having been friends with Carter for a number of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see Loma grow and evolve into the awesome company it is today. It’s the perfect vessel for Carter to spread the same messages that he has been sharing with others for many years! So when he first floated the idea of this blog post, it was hard not to get excited. The “Choose Life” video and Loma vision was brilliant: inspiring, beautifully crafted, and full of good vibes! I was happy to help in any way I could. That excitement was met with reservation, as I had some biggg shoes to fill after the first post. Carter knows I enjoy writing, but I don’t consider myself a writer (only a serial Ringer reader). As soon as I had the opportunity to hear from the familiar faces behind the latest video -- Carter, Forrest, Rando, Lucas, and Taylor -- I knew this Loma story would all come together.
Over the past year and a half, the guys shared phone calls, hosted Skype sessions, and exchanged texts. Despite living in different places, maintaining a sense of togetherness was always important. The guys (seriously) joked to me, “Any time we had any excuse to get together, we would take it”. When Carter laid out his vision for the next video, there were no questions asked. Taylor captured it best when he said, “It all sounded great, so right then and there, we planned out the weekend, marked our calendars and booked flights for everyone to meet up.”
Lucas shared many stories that resonated with me throughout this process. The first was a quote from Deuteronomy 30:19 when I asked him about the message Loma wanted to convey. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"
"So many people see awesome videos and experiences shared by others and think, “that’ll never be me. Why not?" Lucas went on, “You don’t need to be some epic son-of-a-bitch to spread peace and good vibes!”
That really resonated with me; it’s how I always try to live my life. We all have a choice: to turn a bad day into a good one, to really plan that dream trip, to work towards that elusive goal. Why not start today? No matter what life looks like for a person, Loma aims to show people they can walk into any situation. There is nothing holding us back.
The Live Loma video aimed to embody that message. I can’t think of a simpler way to put it then Rando when he said, “We basically did what we would normally do, just wearing Loma”. This was actually the first time that the entire crew from the first video would meet Carter in person. The awesome thing was that all of them mentioned how the weekend spent together felt like old friends catching up. This wasn’t forced or scripted. There were no guidelines for what was going to happen. It was simply the coming together of like-minded individuals who aimed to inspire, leave lasting memories, and have a good time along the way. Now tell me that isn’t the Loma way.
First off, my name is Carter Redd Rhoad. I am the founder and owner of Loma Apparel, and I'm humbled by the fact you have taken the time to read this post. I wanted our first blog post to be epic, and I can't think of a better story than this one.
One year ago I found myself stranded at the Ft. Lauderdale airport awaiting my much delayed flight to Atlanta, where I would be seeing my family for the first time in a long time. Eight months prior I had purchased a one way ticket, packed two suit cases, and moved to Guatemala in hopes to play professional soccer. The airport was having lots of trouble with flights, and all the gates were overflowing with people and there was virtually no space to sit. I spotted a kid with long hair, Rainbows, and a backpack. Having long dreadlocks, Vans, and an overflowing backpack myself, it was a great match. I plopped down next to him on the ground thinking we could trade a few stories to pass the time as we waited. Maybe two minutes into the convo, I could tell this guy was rad by the way he expressed his love for traveling. He was just finishing an epic adventure in Costa Rica! His name was Forrest, and he was super cool, he was humble about his travel experiences, despite having been on escapades across the globe, and planing more to come. I could tell there was something special about this guy, and I wanted to somehow be a part of it. I had known him for all of 20 minutes, and I felt like I could pack a bag and go on an awesome voyage with him. There was something calming in the way he described his travel, yet the travel itself was full of risk.
One thing I specifically remember was Forrest complimenting me on my shirt. I just happened to be wearing a Classic 3/4 Sleeve Loma shirt that day. I began to explain that Loma was all about making a difference, not just in giving back part of the money earned, but also in everyday conversation with the people who we cross paths with, inspiring those like-minded enough to go on adventures, and inspire others in the process. I knew God had a plan for the two of us to cross paths that day, and I was just excited to see what that would entail.
As another hour passed, trading stories back and forth, Forrest began to tell me about his plans to meet up with his best friends and go on yet another epic adventure. He explained that this time he and his friends would be doing a trip through the states long boarding, high lining, hiking, and just pure adventuring. Forrest's crew would be made up of himself, Rando, Lucas, and Taylor; all of which were awesome photographers and videographers. Their purpose was to get out there and inspire others to do the same! This hit home with me. I felt Loma Apparel was preaching the same message, and I wanted to be involved somehow! I'm honestly not sure who said it first, but it was obvious to both that some kind of collaboration had to happen.
A few hours had flown by and It was time for us to part our ways, Forrest to Colorado, and myself to Atlanta. Many emails and phone calls later, I would meet the rest of his crew via Skype. We were able to connect and brainstorm ideas for their epic adventure, what they saw happening and how Loma could be a part of that.
In a later conversation Forrest explained to me that "a good connection is when you aren't wanting them to sponsor you, rather when they want to be a part of what you're doing." The crew picked up two sponsors for their trip! First a household name and epic company Boxed Water, they are the real deal. I snagged a quick description from their website which says it perfectly "We started with the simple idea of creating a packaged water brand that is kinder to the environment and gives back." They are a company based on the idea of making change and stepping outside of the box, or in their case, in it. Loma is based on the ideas of giving back, and living a purpose-filled life, I couldn't think of two better companies for this crew to pair with.
For myself and the crew, we felt as though this was a completely mutual deal. They had been on plenty of adventures and taken lots of footage, but this would be their first time going with the purpose to share and inspire. Myself and Loma very similarly had lived authentic, but never been a part anything like this, and the best part was that both of us wanted the other's dreams to come true. I wanted to see these boys have the experience that they would propel them to create an amazing piece of work and showcase them as professionals. They on the flip side wanted to see Loma become a household name in the clothing industry.
I believe that one of the main reasons why we connected the way we did was because we left the bullshit aside. This wouldn't be a company sponsoring a videography team, this would be one team coming along side another, being real, being relational, and putting the other's needs first.
With over 1,400 shares, and 180,000 views and counting, their video "Choose Life" has done that. The first time I watched it, it gave me chills and that feeling of needing to explore. I'm honored that Loma was able to deck them out in gear, and help provide a platform of exposure for their trip. Honestly more importantly to be able to foster a relationship that would live long past a layover in Ft Lauderdale.
One year later the video is done, I have four epic friends, and the birth of Loma's Collaborations.
On a side note, one of the members of this epic crew, Taylor, is in India documenting life and culture over there. I happened to catch this photo of him in action on my Instagram feed.
I didn't ask him to bring that shirt along for the trip, take any photos, or tag Loma in anything, but he did exactly that. I am beyond thankful to have guys like these constantly surround me.