It is said that you realize how much you truly miss someone when something happens, good or bad, and the only person you want to tell is the one person who isn't there. Well, that has happened to us recently. And if you will let us explain, we have a story for you.
We love blogging, talking to our customers, and interacting with everyone on social media. And the response we have gotten in the past year has been excellent, especially as we all were faced with something unprecedented. 2020 was a surprise for us all, and while 2021 is shaping up to be better, we still have a long way to go. So in the face of amazing progress at The Montrose Forge, we have enjoyed sharing things with you all. Still, unfortunately, circumstances outside our control caused us to need to break from our regular communications with our fantastic community.
Let me introduce myself, one of the people behind the blog. I'm Chip, also known to many of you as Pup Rok. I am one of the owners here at The Montrose Forge. I am a craftsperson who makes custom leather and fetish gear, a fundraiser, a community organizer, and a passionate advocate for equality. My mother, Jan, taught me to sew to help her keep pace with her job as a seamstress at a young age. It wasn't just a hobby for her, as she became the sole breadwinner for the family when I was just six years old. It was the 1980's, and the bridal and gown shop that employed her revealed that many of the gorgeous dresses she was working on were for drag queens. This news did not phase her in the least, and suddenly, I was surrounded by drag queens and queer people at every turn. These clients turned out to be a powerful force in the lives of our family and taught us a lesson about love and acceptance. A lesson that deepened our bond into one of friendship.
On March 29th, Jan lost her seven-year battle with lymphoma. To say that it was devastating for me is an understatement. My friend and long-time confidant is no longer here for me to talk to, gossip with, and share our daily trials and success. During my grieving, the Team at The Montrose Forge stepped up and kept the store going, keeping customers happy, and helping me in ways that I will never be able to repay. It is a pleasure to work with some of the most amazing people in the community, and I hope you come in and meet them sometime.
A leather rose I made for my mother
Well, without my mother to share with, I am turning back to you: my community. You have been with my husband and me since founding the store in 2015. You have rallied around us as we struggled to keep our employees paid during the height of the pandemic. Without our community, we would not be here. With that in mind, I want to share some amazing news with you.
Darling Way Boutique
Our friend Beth founded Darling Way in the Heights six years ago with a vision of creating a boutique that helped people explore their sexuality in a fun and exciting way. She wanted to take fetish wear, lingerie, and toys out of the feared dark, dingy sex shops and bring them into a boutique. A place where she could educate and share her love of sexy, fun living with everybody. And every BODY. You might say she had a vision not unlike the one we have for The Montrose Forge.
In early 2021, Beth presented us with an opportunity. One that is allowing us to better serve women in our community. We have always tried to carry inclusive leather and kink wear at The Montrose Forge but knew that it would be difficult to strike a balance in making everyone comfortable in one space, no matter how much love we put into it. So when Beth offered us the chance to become the new owners of Darling Way, we jumped!
So, why did we choose Darling Way? Well, we met Beth! Her energy and passion for Darling Way and her clients is refreshing, especially since we have so much in common! We all want to make sex exciting, fun and remove the fear of the unknown from the equation. We share the belief that everybody and every body is sexy, beautiful, and deserving of mind-blowing sex!
We want to continue this set of values, applying our combined three decades of retail experience, and help Darling Way and their clients grow and expand to new horizons. After all, life is worth living... beautifully.
We are thrilled to be taking the torch of Darling Way from Beth as she pursues her goals in education and media with her podcast and online school. But we cannot do it alone! We are excited to get to know our new clients, build friendships, introduce our Forge Family to Darling Way, and find out how to best serve you all in the months and years to come!
So, thank you for listening and letting me share this news with you. I know that my mom would be proud of how much we have accomplished, and I hope that we can make you proud too.
Tank, Beth, and Chip at Darling Way