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How The Bird & Bear Collective Came to Be

Today marks the first official Monday, as Leader, CEO, Girl Boss, Creator and Dreamer of The Bird & Bear Collective. I shared a bit about who I am on my "Hello & Welcome" post, but I wanted to take a minute to share a bit more of how The Bird & Bear Collective came to be.

Picture us meeting for coffee or a martini, and Pink's reimagined version of Million Dreams begins playing in the background {p.s. this is the anthem I've been dancing, crying and singing loud in the kitchen and barn for the past 6 months}. Here is what I'd tell you...

The Bird & Bear Collective is coming into the world after years and years of thinking, hoping, dreaming and lots of big prayer lifting and trusting.

It's voice has been inspired by the countless books, blogs, magazines, conferences, research, jobs, magazines, workshops and stories I've found encouragement in ever since I was a little girl.

I first found it in the barn loft of our family farm, when Pippi Longstocking, Dorothy and Tom Kitten were my best friends.

When I was the age that my kids are now, it was in the adventures of Ramona, The Boxcar Children and Narnia, that I'd read while sprawled across my bed or on a picnic blanket in the backyard.

When I was in Middle School it was on the soccer field, playing whiffle ball with my brothers and in Teen Magazine, A Wrinkle in Time and The Bridge to Terebithia.

In High School I found it while serving coffee at Reed's Country Store, as a Counselor at Camp Putnam, and in my first kiss with my best friend, Wes.

In college, while navigating a season of incredible sadness and loss, during my parent's divorce and the cancer that took Wes' father, I searched for it in my legal and political studies of Plato, Aristotle and John McCullough, but only found it when I met Jane Austen, Anne Lamott and Jesus while studying and traveling abroad.

After college, the country girl moved to the city and found it in relationships with the new roommates she found on Craigslist, but also in managing a checkbook and reading magazines like Boston, Brides and Domino while riding the T to have lunch with girlfriends in the Back Bay.

At my first job, I found it while visiting with my cube mates at Putnam Investments, but also in the leaders who mentored me and entrusted me to lead the "War Room" during the firm's transformational time of scandal and discovery.

When I got married it was in our honeymoon adventures in California, but also in doing life with my best friend as we celebrated the Red Sox 2004 World Series championship, made dinner together and set up our first Christmas Tree in our newlywed apartment.

When I became a mom it was in What to Expect When You're Expecting, Parents Magazine and any Mommy Blog I could find on the internet, but mostly in the exhaustion, the mess and the love that is everything to me.

When we bought a home it was in Martha Stewart and Real Simple, in what we created for traditions and what was captured by photographs to share on my little family blog.

For the past fifteen years, it's been in my profession and the projects, leadership, mentorship and client relationships at Mercer and When Women Thrive, and in the inspiration from visionaries and authors like Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant, Brene Brown, Shauna Niequest, and Joanna Gaines who I'd meet at women's conferences or read while on planes, trains and automobiles in New York, Houston, Chicago, London or Brussels.

And since the fall it's been in my morning devotions when the house is quiet, while planting seeds in the garden, taking photographs of families, leading wellness workshops for women, walking the trails with Gus, healing from a concussion and dancing with friends under the twinkle lights in the barn.


I've always known these voices to be a part of me, but I thought they were just to strengthen, encourage and grow me to live out and love fiercely, my work in corporate. A career I never imagined as a little girl, or as the eldest child and only daughter of baby boomer parents who grew up in Boston, but decided to become dairy farmers in small town New England. Yet it was a career I was good at, and one that allowed me to see, work and collaborate with so much of the world.

Perhaps I'll share more about my career at another time, but what became clear towards the end of last year, and has been affirmed over the past several months, is that it was time to close that door, and open the one that's been pulling on my heart since very early on. And here it is today...The Bird & Bear Collective.


The various pieces (blog, wellness, photography, events, handmade and collaborate) are things I've been passionate about and practicing for years. But when I decided to leave my job last year I was not yet ready to say okay, now I'm officially doing this...all of this. I wanted to live in it for a while, do the research, test the various pieces and take the time to create a brand and platform that knits it all together, as well as anything and anyone that comes its way.

The name, is one that planted in my heart a while ago. The knitting and connections of all the pieces are important to me, hence "Collective" and of course "Bird & Bear" stems from the fierce love and curiosity that propels each of us mama, papa and baby birds and bears of the world.


Some of you who are familiar with "erin's bits & bobs", may note the transition to this new "B&B" space -- one where capital letters and complete sentences will be more the norm. While "bits & bobs" is precious to me, and will remain a place where I will forever keep Defoyd family memories, vacations and family instabits, The Bird & Bear Collective is designed to be a public space and invites others to be a part of it -- to blog, share, host, create and collaborate {gah, I'm so excited about this}.


And so my friends, this is a bit about how The Bird & Bear Collective came to be. A million voices and a million dreams...and now something for the world to see.

"I close my eyes and I can see The world that's waiting up for me That I call my own Through the dark, through the door Through where no one's been before But it feels like home

They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy They can say, they can say I've lost my mind I don't care, I don't care, so call me crazy We can live in a world that we design

'Cause every night I lie in bed The brightest colors fill my head A million dreams are keeping me awake I think of what the world could be A vision of the one I see A million dreams is all it's gonna take A million dreams for the world we're gonna make..."

{A Million Dreams, P!nk}

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