Meet our newest source of travel inspiration that has us feeling like even a weekend at home is too static – the dreamy couple behind the one-of-a-kind shop New Crop. In June 2013, Charmie Stryker and Aaron Warner quit their full time jobs to hit the road, bound for independence. But once the travel bug had bit the both of them, a simple road trip soon escalated into a global adventure.
Traveling around the world in the true gypset spirit, Charmie and Aaron built a shop to share an authentic takeaway from each of their destinations. Enter New Crop – a totally awesome curation of one-of-a-kind global pieces including jewelry, kaftans, clothing, textiles, home goods and accessories – each item a token representing its native culture and country. Plus, each item on the site is accompanied by a thorough description of its origins, history and makers.
We could spend hours on their site, scoping through the shop and reading about their adventures on their blog. Better yet, read our Q&A with Charmie below for a major jolt of inspiration. Their story takes us on a visual tour of India, Nepal and Thailand, and enlightens us on the act of traveling lightly and the art of letting go.
CULT: What inspired you to quit your former job and travel? What was your biggest fear?
Charmie: After graduating college, we found ourselves relocating to the fun buzzing city of Austin. We basked in the sunny days, music festivals and surrounded ourselves with friends who inspired us daily. As happy as we were, we found ourselves in search for something more. We would daydream out loud about “what if we could just up and leave, and do whatever we wanted?”
If money and security really wasn’t an issue and you couldn’t fail, then what would you do?
We daydreamed, we spent late nights talking about it, and sooner than later it started to manifest.
We daydreamed about travel, about discovering and RE-discovering our roots. Hugging family members overseas and sharing stories in person. We wanted to find our creativity in a place we never even thought of visiting, and finding inspiration in places we wouldn’t think to look for. I will admit the thought excited me to the depths of my soul and scared me to tears at the same time. All of it makes you feel so alive. That was all we needed to feel to hit the road.
The road has been our biggest teacher. I’ve learned not to tie myself to anyone or anything. I realized how temporary everything can be and to allow things to happen, to appreciate it and then to let it go.
The act of letting go has made me feel even more connected with everything and with myself. I have fallen in love with our nomadic lifestyle, where our only permanent address is our emails and when the only constant is change is when we feel most alive.
CULT: Where were some of your favorite places that you visited?
Charmie: India thus far is on the top of my list for a lot of things. It’s on top for opening my eyes, for pushing me to my depths, for the frustrations that came along with the wonders. More than any other place visited, it has tested me and expanded my gratitude, patience, and open-mindedness. I discovered more about myself and brought even more curiosity about the world around me. Their strong culture is contagious and their history is captivating.
This place will stay with you much longer after you have left.
Only weeks later will you truly begin to unravel and process your experience. Similar to a good movie that you think about for days after watching it.
CULT: How was the idea to start New Crop born?
Charmie: We knew we wanted a creative outlet, and once we hit the road puzzle pieces started falling into place and it eventually evolved into what it is now. I have definitely found my passion in rediscovering my roots and preserving my culture. Along the way have felt a calling towards discovering and preserving others’ cultures through New Crop. It is still definitely manifesting, and evolving with us and our journey.
CULT: Every item at New Crop holds a story; how do you find and source the treasures in the shop?
Charmie: Our process is a mix of hunting, digging, and nomadically being a curious cat. We prefer to work with independent artists/artisans who’s pursuing their creative freedom by making beautiful items as they visualized it, and want their work to be seen, heard and appreciated as is.We ask a lot of questions because their personal work is also very personal to us. We ask if we can come over to where they make it, and spend time with them making their craft. To witness them in their environment and in their essence has to be one of my favorite parts about what we do. I learn so much about the craft, their culture and them as an individual which bonds us even more with their art.
CULT: How has travel shaped both your business, and you, personally?
Charmie: We’ve learned the true bliss behind simplicity. The simplicity of loving your work, and how it can nurture your soul and can even be therapeutic at times. The simplicity in ways of living. It truly is humbling to have met such talented artisans who are happy doing what they love, living simply and being rich with time.
Because before meeting them I never thought the word working, therapeutic, and being rich with time could ever be in the same sentence.
CULT: Your online shop features a well-curated collection of unique clothing pieces, jewelry, home decor and accessories. What are some of your personal favorites?
Charmie: It changes often, but currently one of my favorite pieces is our series of Mandala Kaftans. It mixes my love for textiles and kaftans into one of a kind wearable art. Each one is different exploring spiritual symbols dancing around woven textile. From the Om symbol to the eternity knot, each one is hand embroidered and spirals around the center of the mandala. I also adore these kaftans because it has been a harmony of artisans that collaboratively made these pieces come to life.
CULT: In the last 24 hours, what has inspired you?
I have realized that though your surroundings and everything in it; the people, the landscape and the vibrations around you can alter your perceptions, it is your internal curiosity, the fireworks in your head, and the chills down your spine, that will inspire you to dare greatly.
CULT: Five things that you never travel without:
Charmie: A camera and an open mind. Everything else you need will come to you.
CULT: Where will the next stamp on your passport be from?
Charmie: The colorful country of Guatemala! We can’t wait to immerse in Their history, their landscape, their textiles…and their smiles.
Words to live by:
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”