MATTHEW AND JOANNA OLERIO

 

We've always been drawn to the city and felt at home any time we visited. We talked seriously about moving to New York for several years and we decided to move her at a time that felt right. We finally found ourselves in a place where it made the most sense - we had just been laid off from our jobs and simultaneously launched our business.  

There was the practical side of coming here to grow the business; but the greater reason comes down to people. We love the concentration and diversity of community that New York offers, it makes life interesting and keeps you on your toes in the best way. New York is full of visionaries. It's exciting to be among that and learn from the people around you. 

Our company is called East Surf Co. We make tools for surfing and are currently expanding our line to include products for everyday life. We've always worked together and had always talked about starting a business in an industry we were passionate about. After hashing through many ideas, East was launched out of a desire to do surf wax (our first product) differently. We loved the idea of bringing a sense of form and function to an overlooked yet essential product like surf wax. 

Having both grown up on the Northeast coast, we share a mutual love for the ocean. Surfing, fishing, days by the water, and the friends and family that surround those moments, have all inspired East. We've spent so much of our lives by the ocean that it seemed natural for us to create a brand that brought those experiences together. 

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Working together has become a vital part of our marriage. There's a fullness in being able to do this part of life together. We're able to bring out more in each other and are able to produce better work. We keep each other in check. It's certainly not easy and we're learning every day what balance looks like, but the process has definitely brought us closer and formed a deeper trust. 

It doesn't always come naturally to equate work to worship. It's easy to separate the two. God is always working though, and His creation is beautiful. Why should we be any different? Design is a constant reminder of the ultimate Creator. 

Work also offers a service of some kind. If we're serving others and not ourselves, it becomes a true act of worship towards God because He has done the same for us. If we design or make something and it helps people or improves someones experience, that can be an act of worship. God is always equipping us with what we need in this life and He loves watching us do the same for others. 

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Obviously this is all easier said than done. As humans, we fall short of living selflessly all the time. Our focus is often inward and on meeting our own needs. We become anxiety driven and end up functioning out of a place of fear rather than hope. God offers a different way through service. There's balance in your work when you collaborate with the Maker of all things. In the victories and mistakes, there's a peace that transcends circumstance. God's model for work is bigger than career or achievement; it's a discipline that draws us closer to Him and teaches us how to live in freedom.  

// Matthew and Joanna Oleiro