This month is the two year anniversary of the start of my business. In those two years I have sifted through alot of “junk”, painted alot of furniture, and learned alot about running your own creative business. I’ve always enjoyed hearing the stories of other women entrepreneurs, so I would love to share my own brief story of Lost & Found.
In January of 2012 I was 6 months pregnant with #3.
I was enjoying a little time to myself one afternoon, browsing through my favorite place to shop, Antique Company Mall in McKinney, Texas. I had been on the waiting list for almost two years for a booth space there, and while shopping that day I spotted a small open space upstairs. I asked about it on my way out and mentioned to the manager that my name was on a waiting list. Well, turns out the waiting list was a little fluid back in those days, so I was encouraged to try and jump into this spot while it was open. A friend and current dealer at the mall did a little name dropping for me too, which helped moved the process along. After talking it over with my husband, I decided to go for it and signed a year lease. I know, a little crazy being 6 months pregnant, but you Moms out there know life doesn’t stop quite as much for #3 as it does for #1. Plus, it was a great spot and I didn’t want to get lost in the depths of the wait list again!
I scrounged up a few things I had on hand from a previous flea market try in our old home state, and did a little shopping to fill up my space. My mom and sister chipped in, picking a few things from Tennessee and bringing them my way.
My space was about the size of a jacuzzi bathtub, and it was very manageable. I liked hunting for small things to fill it with, and discovered that my favorite finds were vintage prints, silver plate, and architectural details. There wasn’t any room though for large furniture pieces, so I focused on the smalls and took it a month at a time.
In January of the next year, I got a call from one of the new mall owners, inviting me to move to a bigger space downstairs. Turned out, my little jacuzzi-sized spot upstairs had done pretty well, and I was offered a premium spot downstairs near the front of the store. It was a hard offer to turn down. I was concerned about the additional work, but excited about being able to stock some more furniture pieces. I signed the new lease and moved in February 2013.
I was right about the additional amount of work it would take . . . but with planning and creativity, it is still manageable. My goals have gotten a little larger with my larger space, which is part of why I decided to start this blog. I’ve learned that I have alot to share, both with the local shoppers of ACM and with others who can benefit from my knowledge of “junk”.
Since this past February, I’ve seen alot of things come and go at Lost & Found.
In my bigger space I’ve been able to itch that furniture painting scratch that I couldn’t in my little spot upstairs.
And I’ve hauled a lot of junk in the back of my van. I’m hoping a pick-up truck is in our near future.
I’ve learned to trust my instincts. If I see something that is unique, I buy it. I try out new techniques in my furniture painting, believing that customers want something truly special and different than anyone else may have. I’ve learned to go with the natural ebb and flow of retail seasons, and I’ve learned to pay close attention to how much I’m investing in any one piece. I’ve also met some great new people and made some new friends. And I’ve learned that the blog world can be a place of great inspiration, encouragement, and education.
If you’re in the early stages of launching your creative business, stick with it! Start small, set goals, practice trial and error, and have fun. You can do it! We are all waiting to see and hear what you have to offer.