By Nelson Warley
For almost 15 years of my professional life, I worked for Campbell Soup Company. If you ever lived on the coast of South Carolina—say in the greater Beaufort/Bluffton area—you would have known this to be true. One year for Mother’s Day I gifted my Mom a bright red hoodie with the classic Campbell script on it, and she wore it everywhere. Before someone could even finish commenting on it, she would tell them that I worked there, and then grossly exaggerate my role and contribution at the company. This surprised no one in my family, especially my siblings, who were always the source of such heaping praise.
Parenting can often be about playing to your strengths. An unwavering pride in her children was certainly one of her superpowers. She passed away almost a decade ago, so every Mother’s Day I tell my children stories about her, to enrich their understanding of who she was, and of course to make sure I never forget.
A couple of years ago when we were designing our first product for True Places, there was a story I started telling myself, usually when we hit the inevitable speed bumps on the startup road. The story involves my Mom, with a True Places chair tucked neatly into the carrying bag, walking around town. To the waterfront park, to the playground with her grandkids, to the Publix to the pick up a few ingredients for dinner. She would be begging anyone to ask about what’s draped over her shoulder, so she can quickly take it out and say, “my son designed the red chair just for me”. I could at some point let her know that the color is actually coral, but why stop her when she’s on a roll.