Thursday, October 16, 2014

c o m m e r c i a l

My husband did a commercial for the store for me! Isn't that sweet! He is such a pro.
I wanted to link it to the blog for you!


I know my last post was about really what is the Modern Cottage Company.
Since I was going to post the commercial, I figured I would go a little more into detail about the store and how I got here.

I should first of say I never intended to have a store. I was a blogger and painter. People started to notice my work and I started to get custom requests. This really grew my business. I had cash from custom jobs that I put right into merchandise for my flea market type shows and I sold right out of my home studio. I would sell at the shows and buy even more merchandise to sell at home. Three years later it is pretty much still how I operate. I have very little debt in my business. In fact, the banker that is working with me on a new point of sale system for the store, was shocked when I told him how little debt I have in it. I make money I plug it right back into the store. And sometimes take some home. After all I work 60 hours a week I should get a little something. 

I am a bit of a firecracker. I work really hard and almost every day of the week.  And I have done so for four years.  I don't remember a week in the last four years that I haven't painted something or ten things.  But I love it.

I was offered a storefront several years ago for six months from a program SpaceWorks Tacoma.  I had applied over a year before that and I had forgotten about it. I was so surprised and I said YES! And then I spent two months finding and painting for this little storefront. I decided to call my first store The Modern Cottage Vintage Market and I had at least six others with me. After the six months were up, I was digging the retail thing and a few of us decided to open a cooperative store called Poppy and Company. Poppy for the happy colors of our furnishings and Company because it was a store with more than one business or brand running it. I always felt Poppy was the house that MCC lived in. After all, Poppy was a shell that the cooperative owners had their businesses. We kept our brands and finances each totally separate under this house. I kept building my business over the years. MCC was always mine.
That being said, I didn't really entertain the idea of owning a store called the Modern Cottage Company again. Until this particular storefront became available. And I just knew it was right for my family. Saint and my kids were the number one reason I decided to take the new store and run it all by myself. It was also the right time I think for me. I had a few years under my belt, a really great group of consigners that were with MCC at Poppy. I was still growing. It was time for me to do it on my own. I didn't realize it until I had my own store that it was a bit of a relief to concentrate totally on MCC instead of constantly promoting both Poppy and MCC at the same time. But if we are really looking at it in terms of a job- Poppy was a cooperative, a name on a storefront. No one actually owned it.  MCC was me. I named it, no one gave it to me, I built it, I didn't buy, I grew it, I didn't inherit it. And if I am being totally honest, I am really proud of myself and MCC. Anyway, I get the question a lot of what MCC is and what Poppy is so I figured I would answer it here!

This new store was a delightful surprise built on 4 years of hard work.  An even bigger surprise is how much I am enjoying this phase. As a merchandiser, designer and painter to have total control of a space is just a dream. And the team with me here feels a bit serendipitous as well. It's a happy crew in a happy store. I literally feel like I won the lottery. Even with an enormous amount of responsibility and pressure that I have with this store, it doesn't feel like work. 

So I am hoping this happy phase stays around for a while, I am really enjoying it.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

w h a t   i s   t h e   m o d e r n    c o t t a g e ?

 
 
This is the question of the week here at MCC store. I don't normally get asked that question but it came up this week more times than I can count.
 
The Modern Cottage Company store is an antique painted and unpainted furniture store. I always want it to be that first. We also have new and vintage home d├ęcor and gift items for you home. I try not to make grand statements because life happens and opportunities come up, but for now you will not find paint here, jewelry or anything that doesn't reflect something beautiful for your home.
 
This is not my mission statement, is it what is is. It could change, I like a bit of fluidity with my business but for the most part the way I have run MCC has not changed in years.
 
The second question of the week that ties along with the first question is "Do you do all of this yourself?".  Obviously the answer to that is no. But I like to think of the store as an extension of my paint studio. I am first and foremost a furniture painter. I have been for 20 years and hope it is always a part of me. It feels like one of my children to me. The Modern Cottage Company is the name of the store and people know me as a painter so you better believe I have my own pieces in the store. Looking at it as an extension of my studio means I am almost always the one that runs the store. I want to be here. I built this company literally with a paint brush in my hand. I buy some products to fill the store but mostly the artists here create them or found them.
 
I am also a retail merchandiser and photo stylist. I might even enjoy that part more than painting. I love love love merchandising. I had a gentleman from a magazine come into the store this week and told me it was perfectly curated. I just about died when he said that. That is probably the biggest compliment I have ever had in the years I have been doing this.
 
The third question I get asked is  "If you paint furniture why are there different tags on pieces?". Simple answer. I did not paint or create that piece.  I fully believe in giving the artists here total credit for their work. If I was a consigner in a store I would want my tags on the piece. I approach this store as an artist myself. It does not hurt my business to have their tags on pieces. I am fully supportive of their brands and love sharing in the joy of them building their own brands. It takes nothing away from me. It actually motivates me to care about my work as much as they do. We have a small group here and it is built as much on admiration of each others work as trust.
 
The last question I get the most is "Where do you find your pieces?". I am not going to answer that one :) It is by far the hardest part of my job. The basic answer to that is I have been doing this a long enough time I have sources. I am picky with my pieces and sometimes I spend a lot of money on them. I like them to be from a certain era and be high quality pieces of furniture.
 
The Modern Cottage Company might an extension of mine and the other artists here studios but I want you to feel like you can come here to be inspired to create your own beautiful space. I can't tell you how many times a day I get someone that comes here to either show me a piece they worked on themselves but also to ask my advice because they are either about to start a project or got stuck in the middle of one. I love helping. I enjoy the family of customers we have here. Yesterday I had a day here when customer after customer was someone that I knew and built a trusting friendship with.
 
I left the store late last night with a full heart.
That is what the Modern Cottage Company is to me.
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

a little background on me and why I paint
 
I started painting, creating, crafting when I was a teenager. I was a teen 20 years ago- I have been doing this a bit. I wasn't always good at it but it was something I always loved to do. I still go to the same thrift store for treasures now that I went to as a teen.
 
My senior year of college I "lived out", meaning I was not living in the sorority anymore and officially in my own shared place.
 
I painted everything in that room blue and yellow. It was probably the last time I ever painted those colors together but I did. I painted everything down to the wall sconces. This was 1997, yes, I have been doing this a long time.
 
I still painted the few years after I graduated college. Little things here and there. It wasn't until I had my first home with my husband that I really got back to the hunt and paint.
 
I bought myself a jelly cupboard as a wedding present. I really wanted it so I called it a wedding present to myself. I still have it! It is in my son Cooper's room. It has been so many different colors over the last 13 years.
 
When I got pregnant with my daughter I decided to stay home from work to be with her. I loved the idea of staying home with her. I also loved the idea of having a cute home, but we had no money. This is when I really started thrifting and painting. And I started to get really good at it.
 
Fast forward another say...8-10 years? I was still thrifiting and painting. And I had another baby!  That baby was a boy.
 
All kinds of life circumstances lead me to start the Modern Cottage Company blog 4 years ago but looking back on it, it was for my kids.
 
This blog led me to opening a store and two and a half years later opening a store all on my own.
 
The store lets me be creative and help provide for my family, but mostly it works for my family.
 
Yesterday my husband told our nine year old son about his autism. Something we have know about for a long while now but not actually told him. It was a hard conversation and we were waiting for the right time. Everyone has told us we would know the time.

 So you see, I think I paint for him. It is also why my schedule is sometimes interrupted at the store.
 
I paint for you, me, my son, my family, for fun, for therapy, for beauty.
I am so glad that I have that outlet, so thankful.
 
I feel very lucky.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

s h o p    t h e r a p y

I think I have been hanging in there pretty good this summer balancing my kids at home with moving shops and the million things that entailed. Not to mention the restocking that I had to get used to in this new shop. Things are moving different here than I am used to. My sales in the past few years had been primarily furniture and smalls were always a bonus sale. At this shop I am selling both. The furniture at a steady pace. I can keep up with it. Really it is selling at the perfect pace for me. But my smalls sales have exploded. I am getting used to the amount coming in and out. It has been a learning experience. 

I have been pretty good about balancing work while at home with my kids M-W. But by today I kind of hit a wall. It is the end of the summer and I haven't gone school supply shopping yet. My house is in the end of summer disaster stage. I finally took off my white slip covers and they will not go back on until school starts. My kids did not want to go to the grocery store with me yesterday. I warned them we didn't have much left of food but they didn't care. I ordered pizza for lunch and I scrounged and made pancakes and eggs for dinner. So by this morning I told them we had to go to the grocery store. I piled them into my car that was filled with furniture ready to come to the store. They squished in and we got the shopping done without too many hiccups. Taking my kids to the grocery store is in the top 3 things I dread doing. I got home with the kids and my mom was there to watch them for me for the day. I quickly zoomed out of there, unloaded the furniture at my shop, ran to do a furniture pick up and back to the store to open. I knew I had to do a quick remerch as well.
 So in my car before I pulled up to the shop I had a pity party for myself and how I feel a bit stretched. Well, a lot stretched.
 Then I snapped out of it, looked at the blessing of the store, how I was able to manage the summer juggle.
 It is hard to juggle it all. Especially for a type A perfectionist. 

I am on a constant roller coaster of winning and failing right now. 

So I am just going with the flow and doing the best I can.

It is so quiet here right now. It has been my therapy today. 

But I am still counting down the days until school starts. Is that bad? 
Actually, I think the kids are ready to go back to school as well.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

e n d    o f    s u m m e r
 
It feels like the end of summer. To me it feels like this summer lasted six months. I am still so much invested emotionally and physically from a big store move that I haven't really had time to sit back and look at the transformation. To really digest it. So much change in such a short time, not planned, and all with my kids home with me!I have had  a thousand moments of gratitude, and several moments of fear, some sadness, but a million thoughts of relief and joyfulness.
 
 My husband took my daughter to middle school orientation today.
I can't believe she will be in middle school. I still remember my first day of middle school.
It means in a blink I am going to be talking about her going to college.
 
On a lighter note I am happy to have cooler weather. My hair actually looks ok today and it isn't in a bun or pony tail because of the weather.
 
I am happy to be wearing closed toe shoes today because I am tired of painting my toe nails.
 
I am already planning how to decorate the front planters of the store with pumpkins.
 
I am excited to clean my house, get new slipcovers and decorate for myself.
 
I am ready for the first day of school drop offs and the feeling of sadness that the kids are getting older and a bit of gleefulness {is this terrible?} that I can now paint in solitude.
 
I am ready to walk around with a hot cup of coffee in my Starbucks mug.
 
I am ready to pack school lunches and do more meal planning.
 
I am excited to have my brown grass covered in leaves instead of dandelions.
 
I am ready for a grand opening party.
 
I am ready to say goodbye to summer. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

{Source -Pinterest}

This is what I am going to work on this week. To be more in the moment. I have to say I have been really trying hard to do this the past month or two.


It is really hard to do this, I actually find it work. But I am trying.
 
I have some really good days when I am only focusing on what I need do that day, enjoy it and not the fear creep in.
 
And not letting people's expectations of me and my time consume me.
{when you are a mom and business owner this really is work}
 
The days leading up to opening the new shop I knew I needed to work really hard to be in the moment and enjoy it.
 
It helps that I have such a great support system around me that allow me to live more in the moment. People that uplift, encourage and inspire me.
 
Being in the moment means shutting out negativity, fear, worry, doubt, insecurity and not surrounding yourself with people that bring those things out in you.
 
This also takes work.
 
So this week I will humbly be in the moment. Or at least I will try to be.
I will let you know next week how I did.
-Alison

Thursday, July 24, 2014

f a l l 


I am dreaming of the fall. I know, I am crazy.

I am craving September and schedules. 

Crisp cold mornings and sunny, but not too sunny afternoons. 


Cozy nights in when I don't have to feel guilty about cuddling up in front of the tv at 7pm. 



I prefer fall clothes to summer clothes. 

I just can hardly wait until I can put pumpkins out on the front porch of the new store. And have wine and cider parties here with customers and girlfriends.

I want to sit in the back of the store on a rainy day with my tea in hand and look out at the Sound. 

I want to paint with metallics again instead of summer whites.  



I want to wear rain boots and fleece shirts.

I am a NW girl.

I am still in the moment and enjoying all that summer has to offer. But that doesn't mean I can't do a little fall dreaming. 


{all photos where sourced from Pinterest}.