I joined the Navy right out of high school. While stationed in San Diego I met some friends that had their own businesses. I got to see firsthand what that life was like, and the opportunities it afforded. Having worked for Uncle Sam for a few years, not having to answer to someone and control of my time sounded great. But what would I do? I spent quite a few years trying to figure this out, but didn’t have an urgency at the time. I loved what I did in the Navy and had a huge sense of purpose as a Leading Chief Petty Officer. I took care of my sailors, and I accomplished the missions. Once retirement came and I didn’t have a Unit to take care of, or a mission to complete I felt as though I lost my sense of purpose. I honestly believe this is a critical point for many of our service men and women. I had trained and taught other sailors on reaching out for help for years during these times, but now it was my time to reach out and I am thankful I did.
"It may sound funny but in the process of finding a sense of purpose, I found Handkerchiefs."
I have always been a maker/crafter. I love figuring things out, and teaching myself new things. Aside from the mechanical repairs and rebuilds I performed in the Navy. I have made my own award winning beers, wine, and ciders. I have remodeled houses, built furniture, taught myself cooking techniques. I have even gone as far to make my own beard oils. So it was no surprise to my wife Cindy when I told her I wanted to tinker with my mom’s old sewing machine and make some nice Every Day Carry (EDC) handkerchiefs. I was looking for an outlet, a hobby. Something that would allow me to be creative, and work with my hands. Something to keep my mind busy, and I could be passionate enough about to maybe start a business of our own. For some strange reason I loved the idea of crafting hanks. There was this whole EDC community that cared about quality, unique, hand-crafted items. Something that was a priority to me. So I made a few more handkerchiefs, and I handed them out to others I thought would enjoy the idea. The response was positive, and genuine. Cindy and I talked.
She had been doing graphic design for others for years, but this would be different, this would be ours. We could not only make a difference for us and our immediate family but this would also allow us to give back, and be socially responsible owners. Before we even had our name, we talked about how we could give back to the community. Our name, it fits. Not Your Norm, it’s a fun play on my name, but it stands for so much more. Our path through life has not been “The Norm" but we wouldn’t change a thing. I would think that those who would put one of our hanks in their back pocket, find themselves living in a similar “Not Your Norm” way. Our hanks are not the thin cotton squares your grandpa used to blow his nose with or the satin hanky with a rose embroidered in the corner from your great aunts purse. Not Your Norm hanks are stylish, quality built, ready to take on the day handkerchiefs. They are handmade in the USA by a Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer.
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