Saying goodbye to something that is a huge part of your identity is no easy task. Over the past four years my shop had become an enormous part of who I was and who I was known as. Closing up earlier this year was something that took careful consideration but in the months that have passed has proven to be the best choice I could have made. Here’s a little note I wrote up on my last day that put all my feels into words – it was a little too personal to share with my fans & followers but is a great example of why I started myactualbrand.
“As I sit inside my almost empty shoppe for what is probably the very last time, it strikes me how much everything in this place still feels like “mine”.
My yellow door. My crazy carpet. My little sink with only one working faucet handle. It’s nearly empty now but this space still holds the spirit of me and my business and I wonder how long it will- grateful to bask in what may be the last moments of it.
With the reclaimed wood wall and the shelves and the studio necessities all gone, the piles and mounds and mountains of fabric no longer strewn about, it feels so much bigger – like so much space to fill. It is that sensation, the big-ness, the emptiness… that makes me so proud of my little 24 year old self.
I filled this space- with an idea, with a dream, with laughter and love. I filled it with thrift store finds and the work of my own hands- I filled it for nearly four years without a real plan, without a loan, without a line of credit. I filled it with determination and a knack for problem solving. Not once did I worry about making rent, about paying bills, about paying myself… the money always came (I never needed much to live well).
So this space is empty, soon to be filled with something new. But I know it so well it feels as if I’m visiting the house I grew up in. The nostalgia is strong and real.
The shop preview with the back courtyard open. Late night music playing with the lights dimmed low. Early mornings working on orders. The scramble of checking everything off of the to-do list during the busy Christmas season. The constant rearranging. The occasional addition of a new decor item, a little vintage mirror or a mannequin.
Ann, who brought in a small bag of her husbands clothes- some jeans, a tie, a tshirt. Beloved items she had held on to for years not knowing they’d one day be turned into a scarf for her daughter.
Daniel, whose visits were always full of fun and laughter who one day seemed so much more somber when he pulled a red flannel shirt out of his backpack that belonged to his father who had passed away so unexpectedly.
The excited brides and grooms who picked out their favorite fabrics from my ever growing collection of secondhand shirts. The throngs of shoppers who swung by during all three small business Saturdays.
The documentary filming. The inventory photographing. The interviews. The ladies wine nights.
Meeting my soon-to-be-husband.
So much has happened in this big-little space. It showed me what I’m really made of. It showed me that no matter how crazy or stupid or strange an idea may be, if it comes from your heart it will provide for you.
Over the past few days while waiting for people to pick up their last purchases I caught myself glancing at a blank wall where a mirror used to hang more than once because I was so used to the movement.
I turn to the left, ready to check that my makeup hasn’t run too much from the brief bought of tears and realize it’s gone- there’s just a blank white freshly painted wall staring back at me. An empty canvas.”