I’ve attempted to write this letter multiple times in my head. And every time I have, I arrive at a great big pause.
What now? What next?
So now, months later as this pause sits comfortably in the cozy and safe place of my insides, in my gut, I’m writing from a place of knowing about just that.
Finally, I’m able to let it out freely, without being held back by doubts and fears that are so good at winding their persuasive tentacles around truth.
Not this time though.
Today, the truth prevails.
When I think about what has ultimately brought Chaya and me to this decision, to choose one very important thing over another very important thing, what comes to mind is the power we found within to go with our gut, and not follow our fears.
Next comes patience, earned wisdom, and newfound faith, and trust in ourselves. Not because we didn't believe in ourselves before. We did. That belief though was somewhat tainted in fear, and limited our vision that included a bigger, fuller picture.
Four years ago I sat in a cold, sterile hospital room, next to my late husband Shua and made a promise.
Time was suspended for a very brief moment, I let go of fear, held on tight to faith, and said out loud, “When you come out of here, I promise you we’re taking a sabbatical”.
I wished there was a response. There was none.
It was not meant for then.
It was meant for now. For me. For Chaya. For us. For The Frock.
With a new definition of what that meant.
Four years later following the loss of a husband, the blessing of a new soul mate who is now my husband, a new marriage, home, family unit, co-parenting team, with new dynamics, old traits, built on the premise of intertwined love, grief, hope, survival, the hero, private paradigms that felt too public, I found myself in very deep waters. The juggling that I had been so good at and thrived off in the past wasn't working.
I was a wife and mother on my last wits that knew to do one thing: go harder. But for the first time, pushing past the voice that was desperate for me to tend to was proving to be impossible, in fact, it wasn't working at all. On all sides, I felt like a failure: as a business owner, a wife, a mother, and a friend.
I was a failure, and alone. Mostly because I was too ‘capable’, too proud, and too grateful for where my life had come to admit defeat.
It took months before I mustered up the courage to admit to myself and finally say to Chaya, “I think I’m drowning”.
I was able to catch my breath because Chaya’s outwardly calm process gave me room to exhale. Her eyes though were glazed in tears. After weeks, and months of processing what this would mean for us individually, and as a team, we now look back and discuss how terrified she felt when I first said these words. What would this mean? Was this an end to our dreams?
What she did not share with me at the time, only later was that she was struggling too. In very different ways our inner worlds were aligned. Where she had felt torn between her family and work before, she now felt ripped.
The way things were going, The Frock would have continued to grow, but our personal selves, our families, and closest relationships would sink even deeper. Only one would survive.
I want to take a moment here to say that Chaya and I always juggled. We dropped some balls, picked up a few more, but always stayed in the act. That was part of the fun, the challenge, the rush. But when all the balls start to fall, and you just can’t pick them up, trying to stay in the act becomes too much.
Every time I considered broaching the subject to Chaya I would launch into an all-out assault of rebuke on myself for what a failure I had become, mistakenly thinking that giving credence to this space was a cop-out.
It was mid-April in New York when Chaya and I were armed and ready to do a massive restock shop at Trader Joe’s. We had just gotten back from LA after spending Pesach with our families and our kitchens were empty. So were our internal gas tanks.
That LA trip was when I had finally broken the news to Chaya, ‘maybe I need to take a step back?’.
The car was parked on the corner of Court and Dean Street when Chaya asked, “what does your body do when you say you are a failure ?”. I winced. My chest contracted.
“What does your body do when you say that you want to step back?”. My shoulders dropped and the air finally made it past my rib cage.
My body understood what my truth was all along.
It has taken a lot of time, a lot of digging, and a lot of listening to understand exactly what we want. Together, and apart, Chaya and I have dived into emotionally eye-opening work where we invited fears in to learn that they don’t rule us. Only we do.
This brings us to now, to the reason why Chaya and I sat down to write this letter.
What is the big news we want to share?
We have called this next phase of our journey, The Frock Return.
As I pressed return twice to write this next sentence I knew that this was hardly an explanation, merely an intangible name stuck on many bated breaths.
Return though, significantly, is what it means. We are pulling back in order to grow bigger, with more wisdom, more synthesis, harmony, and alignment between all our worlds. They all need and deserve our attention and they can all get the amount they need when done right.
A Return means we will be quite literally pulling back from the way you see and know us now, to become a company that thrives, while we do too. Stepping back in order to step into what we created this for in the first place.
A wise person wrote to me that she ‘admired our willingness to confront that we are far away from ourselves and the willingness to cut off something that is working to get closer.’. For the first time I can say without shame, fear, or guilt, is that so do we.
It was as if the heavens had dropped a mind-blowing endowment on me. I felt a tremendous surge of power, and self-worth when I finally understood that taking a step back from work is not a failure, but a huge potential for growth and immense success.
I want to add here a question that many of you have anxiously asked, “Is this a farewell? A final goodbye?”.
The big, bold, clear answer to that is, no.
What this is, is a ‘hey, here’s all of me’.The path forward where we will come back stronger.
So then, what will pulling back look like?
Before I move on to fleshing out more what The Frock Return phase will look and function like, I want to pause and take a moment of gratitude that quite literally just leaped on me. I was on my umteenth bathroom break which I take more for the break than the bathroom, (a procrastinating crutch I’ve gotten very used to), and unexpectedly felt immense gratitude to God for helping me FINALLY get these words out. I have pushed this off for weeks.
This could be seen as a poetic tangent to the story, but it is filled with such clear significance that it is possibly one of my most favorite moments that has gotten us to this point: God’s revealed part in this all.
If you’ve ever waited for the heavens to open and gift you with a much-needed sign from above only to validate what you already know, then the following story is it for me.
My newly married cousin and his wife were my house guests for the weekend right before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It was the first time they had left Israel following the completion of his three-year IDF service, the first time the couple said they actually felt married.
Over breakfast, I shared The Frock’s upcoming plans, which were still in the coordination stage.
“Perfect timing...”, he added. I knew that but appreciated his support. He laughed, noticing that I had missed something key. The Israel part is significant because someone living in Israel would be more inclined to know what he then shared with me, “Did you know that this year is the Shemita year!?”.
In the literal sense, the Talmudic term Shemita describes a seven year cycle in the Jewish calendar where the land of Israel is worked for six years, to be followed by a Torah mandated pause in the seventh year where the land is left to rest. During that seventh or Sabbatical year, all produce is available for the needy, and the farmers and the nation as a whole shift their time towards spiritual pursuits as they put their total trust for abundance in God. There are many communities in Israel today, who observe the laws of the Sabbatical year.
My jaw dropped to the floor realizing the magnitude of this synchronicity. To ‘release’ I later learned is what the Hebrew word accurately means. Chaya and I were releasing what we thought we knew to get us to where we wanted, trusting that living our truth is what is going to get us there after all.
As we’ve started to lift layers from asking hard questions, we’ve come to deeply internalize that our Why is to create clothing that creates and inspires connection, that cultivates community.
That our Why at the Frock, is you, with us.
You being you, and us being us.
Today, after almost 10 years of having an absolute blast, feeling fulfilled emotionally and physically, and more, we are embarking on a new journey: to heal, to live our truth, to do things better.
To learn that the voice that said we are a failure, only wanted us to be safe.
We will be moving forward, but changing directions. We are shifting from the regular operations that you know to a Highly Curated Operation that will have the space for a new journey entirely: #TheFrockReturn
We are in awe and humbled by the voice and reach we have been given, to connect with thousands of women across the globe, build a loving, renowned, familial community that also sells clothing that we and thousands of you prize for the pleasure and problem solver that our Frocks have become.
So, how can we afford to pull back from a community and livelihood that enlivens us, both spiritually and monetarily?
The answer we have come to is that we can’t afford not to.
We see it as our own personal chrysalis. The inward quiescent time where we reconstruct our wings to fly, so we can soar.
So, what does this actually mean?
As our new, more inward direction became more fluent, more exciting than scary, the outward path began to crystallize.
Producing Frocks will change from the rapid release of fuller collections as we’ve done in the past, to a highly curated, spaced-out cycle where we will release one Frock at a time. There will only be a couple of exclusive drops during this next phase and we won't be telling you exactly when, we’re still here for the fun and surprises.
We will be bringing back iconic, sought-after Frocks in new colorways, and fabrics, and check-in with you for your opinion, so we can stay on the same page with what your heart wants and needs.
We will continue selling the Frocks we have online, our behind-the-scenes, condensed Team Frock will continue answering emails, shipping, and returns. It will be more limited, but we’ll be there with open arms and a warm space.
This new phase will be full of healing themes that will reflect our personal journeys.
We will have monthly Instagram LIVES that will span from personal check in’s to see how stepping inward is going for us (eeek! This is so new for us too) to looking outward because we have so much to learn.
This means the LIVES will also feature conversations and interviews with mentors, business and life, women from this community, and others because we want to listen and cultivate this community with you.
It won't all be serious but we’re assuming that this is a given. We’re thinking: dance parties, music jams, styling sessions in the closet, open galleries, the sky’s the limit. This means that we anticipate creating meaningful, in-person events where we can all be ourselves, in real life. Make sure to be signed up for our emails and newsletters so you can stay in the loop.
This brings me to social.
Oh, Instagram. A place that has become a true source of pleasure, stress, meaning, fun, and depth for us. We will still be here, although from now on we are choosing to show up at deliberate times during the month, in addition to the monthly LIVE.
Stories, how are we going to not? We’ll be sharing on IG stories, at specific, possibly recurring times monthly, and we will let you know with a post, maybe reel, or email. The exact schedule will levitate initially, while we feel out what works and feels best for our lifestyle. We’re excited for you to tune in when we do.
We will continue sharing brand collaborations focusing on businesses, brands, and organizations that we can authentically share and promote from our inner place of love and desire.
We want to stay focused on our time to invest in ourselves, our business, and this community, thoughtfully.
We are not only inviting you but asking you to join us on this journey. Because we want to honor this new chapter that Hashem has gifted us with, by sharing it with you: To see how we come back with new skills, new vigor, a new balance because life always is.
We have every day in this world to do this: to learn, to feel, to give, to nourish our souls and others. And we couldn't be more excited, and nervous about it.
I'm going to sum up our hard lessons learned in what may sound like advice to you but is really advice to ourselves to read and reread every step of this next journey.
You’re welcome to keep them.
Don’t wait by a deathbed, for you, or your family to crumble, or for the light to turn green to honor your truth. No matter how scary your truth feels, once you take the plunge and peel back the layers, which are really love and light in a skewed-up form, you will find light. We hope you do.
We’re signing off now, with our heart and soul.
Simi & Chaya