After 6 years on Rose Avenue, I closed my brick & mortar boutique at the end of May 2015. Not because I didn’t like having a store (I did), but because the stars were aligning for me to make a change.
My husband and I had been living a bicoastal lifestyle between Venice, CA and Asheville, NC that was fun, but super challenging. With a 3 year old little girl, I spent most of my time living like a single mom with the benefits of a loving husband. It worked when life was running smoothly. But throw in the mix a sick kid, or an ailing pet, or the need to run a mini vertical fashion business, and it was starting to wear on me.
I longed for a store that not only had an eclectic merchandise mix of my own designs, but also home goods, new designers, PLUS a whole section/space for DIY arts and crafts. It was possible, but I knew that I needed a mental and physical break to transition from primarily clothing to a new mix of goods.
And then there was the issue with the lease. Rose Avenue was no longer “Skid Rose”, but now part of a neighborhood that was all about “Silicon Beach”. My affordable rent kept creeping up, and then I was on a month to month lease. I knew things would be changing, so I scouted out other locations in the neighborhood. Main Street I love, but nothing felt right to me and it was saturated with boutiques already. Lincoln Boulevard was starting to shift, but the thought of looking at a ton of traffic daily (and missing those butterflies in the garden outside of my boutique) made my heart palipitate and my anxiety level rise. So I held out, knowing that I would need to close up and move out soon enough.
And then the day came... my landlord was telling me to leave. And that was OK. I was thankful that I got 60 days to leave and to have time for a kick butt closing sale. I put a bubble machine outside, put up the closing signs, and liquidated. Big time. It was fun, exhilarating, and took a lot of energy. But I was so thankful to go out with a bang.
My heart was telling me that I needed a break, not a new location. I didn’t have it in me to start over so soon.... so I decided to move to Asheville so that my husband and I could be together full time. My parents live nearby part of the year, and my sister, Blue and her family are just 10 minutes away. I could take a break, and my daughter has never been happier.
When I first got here, I think I slept for a month. I kept wondering why it seemed so quiet without the constant hum of traffic or overhead helicopters. I wondered if I had made the wrong decision by leaving LA. It was my dream to move there, and I had done it. I moved there as a single gal with sunshine visions in my head. 9 years later, I left with a new life. A husband, a young daughter, and realizing the dream that I had always had, to design my own line of clothing and sell it out of a store near the beach. Now what?
I have spent the summer on things I was too busy to do... the important stuff. I’ve lost 6 pounds (yay!), saw friends I hadn’t seen in years, and got to do things like walk my daughter to preschool on her scooter. I’ve gone to physical therapy to finally get my back in order and have taken back to the practice of working on my art journal on a regular basis. I took a class in natural fabric dye techniques, hand appliqué, and have even met some super cool gal friends here, too. I grew a cucumber. Yes, just one. But lots of zinnias, and the tomatos are coming soon. I discovered podcasts that are motivating me to do things I never thought of, and envision the next version of ME & Blue to be much more than a small boutique.
What I miss most about my store are my customers. The ones that saw my little girl when she was a tiny thing, wrapped up and working alongside me. The ones that loved my designs and were thankful to have clothing made locally in LA.
Next up is a trip to Morocco that I have always dreamed of. I’m not sure exactly what’s next. I may open a boutique here, I may move back to LA. But the creative juices are flowing. Now I have the time to figure that out and am super thankful for it. Stay tuned!
p.s. - if you want to see what I’m up to on a daily basis, check out my Instagram feed.