Recently, a customer asked me if it took a lot of faith to open our store. I laughed. The last 15 years of my life have been about taking crazy leaps, having lots of faith and also waking up at 3am thinking what have I done!
In the beginning, it was very hard because I was dealing with health issues and took a different route. No one understood what I was doing. I didn't even understand but now I know I was just starting my journey and God was preparing me for something special. I'm still on that journey and it has gotten easier over the years but I still have some rough patches. I know God has allowed me to go through things to get closer to Him and to trust Him completely. Not an easy road to take but worth every second of it.
Anyway, back to having faith to open the store. Yes, it was a leap of faith but I knew this is what I needed to do at this time in my life. God has lead me to this point. I had a store a very long time ago when I first started taking pictures but I didn't know anything about running a store. So I think that was a practice run. Then over the years, we've done lots of wholesale, selling to stores, and art shows. I now know both aspects of the business.
When they shut down everything last year, I wasn't happy (even though I did enjoy not traveling and sitting on my couch). It made us get back to the basics and decide what was important. As the year went on, people at the farmer's market asked me if I had a store. I'm like NO. I didn't want one at all even though we have the perfect location for it.
Last November, was really slow for us. We usually do about 12 or 13 shows in a 6 week period. I like to be busy and so I decided to have a pop-up shop. Things went so well, I decided to stay open until Christmas. Then my husband and I were like let's open a store!
The construction was pretty stressful. I'm trying to fill orders but we had to shut down our printer for 6 weeks. So when we were out of something, I couldn't get it filled causing a few customers to wait weeks. I don't like that. Thankfully, we have very understanding customers.
Then everything was a complete disaster. We did have everything organized to be able to get ready for shows and fill orders in an efficient manner. But during the construction, we were stepping over things, I couldn't remember where what magnets or plaques were since we moved them. Then, of course, construction takes longer than I thought. No one's fault and I should've expected it but it's really hard to work when things are a mess. The store did turn out better than I could imagine so it was worth the wait!
The most stressful time, I think was when we had 4 days before we opened and we had most of our displays and ideas but sometimes things don't work the way they do in our heads! We worked so hard that Jason had to rest the whole opening week! I'm so glad my mom was able to help me that first week.
I love having a store now. Some days are long but I think that's just how retail works. I'm having fun finding new products and finding new ways to display things. We still plan on doing shows and wholesale. I tried to get it down to 20 shows and ended up with 30! I am now starting to think of new pictures. I want to be creative again!
God has made all my dreams come true but it wouldn't be possible without great customers! I love it when people tell me they went to my first store or they remember when I only had my prints at shows. I want to THANK everyone along the way that has encouraged us to keep going and not give up. Those of you who have prayed for us for safe travels (been some scary times) and asking God to bless us financially to keep the business going (not easy). We've failed more times than we could count but God has kept us going and has put amazing people in our path to help us along the way. So we want to THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to allow our business to grow and change in the way God has planned for us.
THANK YOU! God Bless!
Tiffany and Jason