Sometimes I really believe that things are meant to be, and this was definitely one of those times. Last year, my Bungalow 47 business partner and I made the decision to close our retail store. It was doing well, and we loved it, but we had been growing our national distribution business which was taking up most of our time and we now needed to move to a new location. Going to an industrial park where a dock was crucial for our growing business, would take us a town away from the retail store, and we were already struggling running both with the shop being across the street! We desperately tried to find a location where we could have everything under one roof, but that place did not exist in the right locale, so we decided to cherish what we had done and let it go. New goals awaited!
I was asked several times by many who know me well, “you’re okay with giving up the store?”, and my answer was always a resounding “YES!” as I am deeply committed to our brand, those we license with, and the small boutique retailers we sell to. However, by the fall I was really missing the shop and I decided to start this blog and just have some fun doing projects. By Thanksgiving I was thinking I would just go get a booth at a local antique mall, but the ones I liked that were convenient were full and so I thought to head the opposite direction and visit a shop that I liked in Old Town Lansing. I thought about this for two months, and never acted on it. I also wanted to make sure I still wanted to do it, not feeling too impulsive and crazy. One day I woke up and a voice inside my head screamed “DO THIS TODAY!” Ugh, fine.
Off I went to Old Town, to talk to the owner that I knew from shopping there over the years and seeing her (or running past her) at estate sales. I checked it out, thought ‘perfect’ and approached her for a bit of space. She said, “I’m retiring and closing next month, after 16 years in the business, and the building has already been rented.” Crap, now what? But then she said, “oh but the owner just told me this morning the new lease fell through and he is about to advertise it for lease.” Pause, me thinking, and she says, “YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS OVER!” Wait, what? Could I? Should I? How appalled would my husband be? “YOU’RE RIGHT, I SHOULD!” Next few hours, crazy ensued, some bargaining on the home front of how I could pull this off and here we are!
Since I had already started this website, I decided to keep the name for the shop and just add VINTAGE MARKETPLACE to it. Since that makes the official name of the shop and my LLC super long, we refer to the shop just as VINTAGE MARKETPLACE even though it’s ‘official’ name is The Life That’s Lived There Vintage Marketplace, LLC. I guess it’s kind of like when you name your dog Spot, but on his pedigree records his official name is Sir Spotsalot of Sunshine Hill and Barkingland, or some crap like that. Hilarious, my boutique is a dog. But I did want to brand the shop, remaining 90-95% vintage, and to have those words, that philosophy I live by, attached to it. Vintage has always been a HUGE part of how I decorate and encourage clients to do so. So many memories are wrapped up in things we’ve gathered along the way, or inherited, and these mean something special. Vintage also adds a warmth and depth to a room that I just have never found possible in any other way, especially with art. I’m a freak about vintage art and I must have it!
So fast forward to 3 weeks of me literally barely sleeping (I was jacked up on natural adrenalin and excitement) and burning the candle at both ends. I’d get up in the morning and head into my ‘real job’ at Bungalow 47 and stay until around 4pm, then I’d stop at home to grab a snack and gather tools, then headed out to Old Town to paint and restyle the bones of the store. When I cruised home about 11pm, I’d sit on the couch for a minute to watch TV and I’d think ‘I should really paint/reupholster/fix that’, as I was on a tight schedule and had LOTS to do!
I do have to say that I have some wonderful friends and new friends who are vendors at the shop who really came through for me and donated their time, helping me with tasks, moral support, late night painting fests and much more. My heart goes out to you, you know who you are, and you have my endless thanks and devotion! With all that energy and help I received, I am happy to say, that I got (mostly) everything done, we opened on Saturday, March 18 and then 4 days later I headed west to meet my new grandson and visit family.
So the shop is open, I’m back from the trip and needing to get back to the ‘things to do’ list, with still lots of plans that will emerge over the next few months. But I’m happily styling and buying which is literal oxygen for me! My mom used to tell me (back when I had two other retail stores focused on scrapbooking/stamping) “retail is in your DNA, your ancestors were shop owners” and this is the only time I have believed her with all her genealogy stories she loves to share, because I do feel it in my blood! This will make shop #5 for me!
I hope you will come by and see us, and share this with your friends so they will get excited as Old Town Lansing is such a cool place and has lots to do! There are great restaurants and shops, cool lofts and galleries, a walk by the river, funky art and cool architecture! What more could you want? We have a bit more of exciting news coming, so stay tuned!
All my best, Jill