Wednesday, June 15, 2016

n e w    r o a d s   
 
Sometimes new roads lead you back to old roads. I have had this in the back of mind and in my heart for the past 9 months. Something about my path wasn't right. I knew it in my gut, I pushed it down and tried every different angle to figure out what wasn't sitting right with me. I have figured it out. It wasn't the answer I wanted but I have so much relief about the new road, even joy.
 
About two months ago I sat on the couch with Saint (husband) and had a long cry. When I do this it kind of freaks him out and I don't do it often, so I knew it was a release of things I had bottled up. I told him I thought I needed to close The Modern Cottage Company Shop.  I was mad and sad about it but I also couldn't keep up the pace of the demanding store and my family life.
 
Here is where I should back up and talk about why I started The Modern Cottage Company in the first place. It is so simple. I wanted to paint furniture, and I wanted to make money at it so I could drop my kids off at school and pick them up. I left a comfortable advertising agency job in Seattle to do this. I had a water view out my window of my office and an assistant. But I missed the first day of my daughter's kindergarten and that killed me. I have always painted antiques, almost my whole life. I thought I could give it a shot and life circumstances took a hard left and it allowed me to pursue my dream. I painted and blogged and it lead me to a storefront after a few years. That turned into working with other artists and eventually my own store again The Modern Cottage Company store in Old Town, Tacoma. I have been able to paint, pick up my kids and I was very optimistic about it when I moved it. Then something wonderful happened. The store did really well. Beyond my expectations well. So well I am not able to balance my family-work life at all. I tried not working at the store but letting it run itself. But let's be honest. If you own a store, even if you are not there, you work 7 days a week.
 
I have worked weekends off and on (mostly on) for the past 5 years for my business. Saint has been wonderful with our kids but I have missed out on lazy afternoons with them while I was running a store. Those of you who know me well, know my son has high functioning autism. My kids need extra love and attention. I want to be there on a Saturday with Cooper and my husband when they go  watch trains every weekend. Or take Camden out for a girl's day. A business that started with my priority being my kids has actually in the last year taken up way more time than my good paying desk job.
 
I started praying about it. I cried a lot. I even went through some pretty bad anxiety about it because I knew my answer deep down. I was really meant for a different road. When you are really meant for a different road then life will smack you in the head with it over and over until you actually acknowledge it. I even started getting defensive about it. My hours are always a big complaint, really every single day I get several emails about it. I wake up, check my emails and write back why I am not open that day. More often than not while I am in the store it is the first thing people say to me. Some nice about it, often not. I understand where they are coming from but the store couldn't function any other way. I even thought of completely changing what the store is about to please everyone else. But the store is my painted furniture. It has my name on the door and I didn't want to change it.
 
Let's go way back now. When I was a kid, my family took road trips almost every weekend. I would sit in the back of the car, with a pillow tower between my sister and me, and draw. What I would draw is random. I would draw housing developments. I would design houses and then I would design the furniture in them. It was a weird thing for a 10 year old to do. Now let's fast forward to today. I have been given the opportunity to help design remodels, stage them, and even help clients love their own spaces again. I am getting a lot work right now with design. This is where I need to be with my business. It is already happening and fast. And I love it.
It is my new road for The Modern Cottage Company.
 
I get to work from home and have the weekends off for the first time in years. I get to paint still and run another shop with one of my dearest friends at Clementine Home. CH by the way is going to be really amazing this next year, we have wonderful plans for this shop. I get to be creative but I get balance, I can be picker about what I am painting. I get to be bolder with what I paint. I get to be choosier about what products I want to carry.
 
So today I notified my landlord of my intent to close The Modern Cottage Company shop. Sometime late summer, things are still being worked out. I won't have a sale. I have a staging business and another storefront to fill. I am not selling my business just reinventing it a bit. Taking it back to it's roots and where it is really supposed to be. I know the customers I have told have been really sad. You can still shop at Clementine Home (those of you with gift certificates, they can be used there!). My family and friends have been supportive and really over the moon for me with this decision. I have been lighter in my step. I learned so much from running a shop the last 5 years. I am proud of myself. I have made some mistakes but I grew a lot. I go into this next chapter very prepared and very happy.
And I get to still take my kids to school and pick them up.
 
Thank you all for your support!
-Alison