Bloom Where You're Planted. (part 1)
Posted on June 16, 2011
We've been a little absent from this space (this blogspace that I love so much) and here's the story why: On June 3rd, we signed the lease for a new space on NW Thurman and 24th. Whoa. Let me back up a little... Many of you know that it hasn't even been a year since we opened our current studio/store, so it might have come as a big surprise to you. Well, it did for us too. Just after we made our way back from our second road trip, we learned that the rent on the b & i studio was going up. And not just a little bit, it was going up 11% and without much of a warning. Now, rent on a tiny space (289 square feet, to be exact) is not unreachable, so even with an unfair hike, we could have still afforded it, but it was the principle plus their corporate guy's lack of flexibility (and down-right rudeness) that launched us in a new direction, one that we hadn't quite dreamed of yet---opening, like, a real store. uuuuuuugheeeerrraaahhhhhhhhohmygoodness!!! We started looking right away. It's amazing what you begin to see of a city when you're looking for something you had never been looking for before. I felt like I started understanding the neighborhoods in a different way, getting major feelings from each, rather than just an impression, like which friend would I want to spend the most time with---and which friend would accept me into their already existing, beautiful circle. Truth is, we love so many neighborhoods in Portland, it became a daunting task to narrow down the options. About one week before we left for the awesome Renegade Austin affair, we put an offer in on a space on lower SE Hawthorne. For reasons I won't bore you with, it didn't work out. We realized it wasn't going to work out (for certain), the day before we left---the day that things were insane in our world. We were trying to nail down a new display for our booth that would easily flat pack for plane trips and with that new display idea came a revamping of how we display...well..everything. This meant new card stock for earring cards, new necklace cards, new display packaging --cough, overachievers-- and new printing. On top of all that, we still had orders to get out and jewelry that needed to be made for the show. It makes my heart skip a beat to think about all we were stuffing into 48 hours. Will had stayed up way too late the night before, getting spreadsheets finished and new items listed online. I wanted him to have a full night sleep (not just because I'm nice, but because less hours of sleep = cranky William and I needed happy-go-lucky William that day)...so I got up at the crack of dawn and started running errands while he slept a bit longer. This is pertinent to the story because I drove into work a little bit differently that day. I needed to go to the printers before, so I took a right turn one street too early. That mistake drove me by the most beautiful space with a more beautiful sign on it that read, "SPACE FOR LEASE," in lovely bold, capital letters. I remembered that space because I had admired the building before. It's an old cinema building, full of charm and character and stories, just how I like it. We were leaving the next morning, early, so the window of opportunity seemed to be closing in on us and fast. I drove home, woke Will up, took the early turn again and told Will how I felt about the space--I was basically foaming at that mouth while I tried to spill out in 5 minutes why that space would be a dream. Luckily, he felt the exact same---it was perfect for us. It was more perfect than any other space we had looked at; it had a back room, a loft, character...and BRICK. I love brick so much. It was exactly the size we needed and in exactly the kind of neighborhood we are ready for--quaint, but full of life and community. There is something so special about this neighborhood. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt right in my heart. No other place had given us that feeling. We ate lunch for the first time at the amazing deli, Kenny and Zukes (the NW Thurman location), sat outside in the first Portland sun in months and watched how many people walked by, guessing what kind of people they were and dreaming about the kind of shop we could make for the neighborhood. This kind of dreaming lead me to realize that I wanted that space, in just a few hours, my heart was already set on it---something they tell you NEVER to do when you're searching for a new place to live or work. We called the amazing woman we were working with, Marilen from Elliot Associates, and expressed our sentiments for the space. Then we left for Austin. Over that weekend, Marilen and Lupe were able to see the inside of the space. They said they contained themselves while in the presence of the landlords, but in their own time and space they had a squeal or two. They loved it and they knew we would love it...the inside even more impressive than the outside.
you didn't think we were going to keep that carpet, did you?
When it was our turn, I wanted to do a dance with the landlord and gush about how much I loved everything about it--it had a bathroom INSIDE for goodness sakes! In just a few days, I had fallen head-over-heels in love with the neighborhood and I wanted to run to the rooftops and tell the world that it was ours. But...that's not how it works when you're looking for a space. You have to be all formal and pretend that you could go either way. So I pretended that the space was alright and might work for us if we choose to make an offer. This part is the boring part: negotiations, paperwork, lawyers, numbers, meetings, etc. What's important is that they all lead to the same thing: WE GOT THE SPACE. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got it!! We love it! We love our landlords! We love the neighborhood! We love each other! We love our jobs! We love it all!! ... And now we have to make a shop out of it. Oh yeah YEAH YEAH. The weekend of the signing, we had a HUGE show in San Francisco then on to a trunk show in Santa Cruz, then on to important meetings and two MORE shows in LA. We decided that Will needed to stay in Portland to get started immediately on the shop (of course, we'll be doing all the build out work ourselves, with the help of some amazing friends) and that I would head on to California with Lupe. It was Friday, June 3rd. The signing took so long that we didn't get on the road until 4 pm when we had planned to leave by 10 AM at the latest. We had to be up by 6 am to set up our booth for the Union Street Fair in San Francisco the next day. It takes 11 hours to drive to SF... stay tuned for part 2. missed you guys!! xo~betsy ***Song of the Moment: When the Deal Goes Down, by Bob Dylan***