You know when you haven't talked to someone in a while and in the in-between, so many big things have happened that you don't know where to start to catch them up? That's how I'm feeling as I sit down to write this post. I've been keeping up things on Instagram and Facebook, but as far as writing much of my heart or our life over here, I know it's been sparse.
After we started Nickel & Suede, I put a lot of work into keeping OLM and N&S separate and working to build both. And I'm still dedicated to doing that, but if you know me, then you know my kids and my family have to come first. And since Baker came along, the blog has just been squeezed out by higher priorities. But I realize life has its ebbs and flows, and so my goal is to get back into the rhythm of blogging as life allows.
The biggest news that I haven't shared over here is that we opened our store! Which is so surreal to type. I own a real live brick and mortar store. Over the last month, Soren and I and countless other people have been working nonstop to get a new temporary location for Nickel & Suede up and running.
After the building collapsed, I really felt like we were standing on the edge of a desert—like a huge expanse of nothing, with no idea where the next oasis would pop up. Ironically my paper planner even ended in the month of June, and I had NOTHING written down, no plans for after that month. The plan was to open our original space in the month of June and then see what came next. Then the building collapsed and everything we had planned was gone, and we were just waiting on God to help us see what was next. It wasn't a feeling of despair, but more like a feeling of "Well now what?" I often feel like I'm watching the story of our life play out, and we're in the middle of the climax/conflict. I'm confident a happy ending awaits, but how is this story going to work itself out!?
After the collapse, Soren started hustling. He made call after call and drove around for days looking for the right space to move to next. Keeping everything in our basement wasn't an option, so we had to come up with a Plan B. He found a few options and drove me around looking at them. Most of them were just cement floor, commercial, auto shop-type places. Ugh. Those kinds of spaces could work for production, but certainly not for a store or anything pretty like what we'd been dreaming up in the original space. The last spot Soren showed me was the basement of an old house that had recently been vacated by a coffee shop. We didn't have the keys, but as soon as I looked in the windows I said, "I want this spot!" It was dark, but it had character, including a stained glass window, a concrete counter cash wrap, and a fireplace. It was perfect for a store, and the decision was made right then and there. We agreed to the lease on May 9 and got ready to open up shop on June 11.
That was a Friday, and by Tuesday morning we were over there painting. We painted the entire thing white and then used a light gray for trim and black for the doors. The paint changed it so much, but we weren't done yet. I madly started ordering furniture and placed some requests for custom shelving and a few custom tables. The amount of money we spent in the month of May to get things ready was just crazy. Every day I was ordering more and more fixtures, decor items, logistical supplies, etc. And then of course everything had to be rushed. We were on a time crunch!
The last table, all of the shelving, and most of the lights literally did not show up until the two days before we opened. The grand opening was on a Saturday, and on Wednesday the space did not look like it could possibly be ready. But I'm pretty sure that's how these things go. All of the things miraculously came together in the knick of time, and although I didn't sleep at all that week, we were technically ready to open our doors on Saturday at 10 a.m.
And it's a good thing we were! There were sweet friends and customers at our door at 10 a.m. on the dot—ready to shop and celebrate with us. It was such an amazing day. People did not stop walking through our doors until 9 p.m. that night. We were just overwhelmed by the support of our local community. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. we had kind of a soft opening, but then the grand opening was from 4 to 9 p.m. We had food, drinks, balloons for kids, and music outside. It was HOT, like so hot, but nonetheless people came out and shopped. The whole day was so surreal, but the craziest thing was to realize at the end of the night that we would indeed have to be open again on Monday morning! That night after everyone went home, we counted the till, swept, restocked tables, and prepared for our first week of business.
We've been open for 11 days now and I definitely feel like I have a fifth child. I'm not at the store every day, and when I'm not there I worry about it. Like, "Who is watching my 'kid'? Are they doing a good job? Is everything okay at the store today?" Things have stayed busy, and it will be interesting to see how it continues to go. Our online orders are really where we will grow the most and where most of our energy is dedicated, but it's really cool to see that online store come to life in a brick and mortar space.
I have to say that I'm so grateful for all of the people who helped us push to get the store open and then the great employees we have that continue to run it. The store turned out better than I had imagined, and that wouldn't have been the case if it had all been on me. I have some crazy talented friends and employees, and all of them turned our emergency into their own emergency for the month of May.
And in case you are thinking, "But wait, what about production?" Yes, that was the problem Soren was originally trying to solve. And we've figured out that one too. I'll share more on that soon!