One Company, Three Great Shops

Poverty Barn is the parent company of two other businesses: Roo's Remnants and 4 Left Turns. Between the three, we've got you covered when it comes to home decor, baby and kid items and anything related to racing. Visit the links on the left to find out more about what we have to offer.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When a Door Opens

About a year ago, Jesse called me up and asked if I wanted to join her at a craft fair.  She'd been sewing cute wallets and billfolds and setting up at few shows and she was tired of going alone.  I had a few things of my own to put out, so I agreed.

On the morning of our first joint show, we were awakened by tornado sirens, and it was no drill. In a haze of sleep-induced grogginess, my husband and I did our usual turn-on-the-tv, check the radar-on-our-phones thing and realized that there was, indeed, severe weather approaching.  Fast.

We weren't frightened for ourselves, because we have decent shelter in our basement, but Jesse, Joe and the dogs have no basement, and, as it turned out, Jess was home alone, huddling with her hounds in the bathtub, praying that the storm would pass and staying on the phone with us for comfort.

Fortunately, no twisters touched down, no damage was done, and we made it to the show only a little tardy.  As was everyone else.

That first show was in a smoky VFW hall and the shoppers outnumbered the vendors by only a slight margin. However sparse the turnout, we made a few sales, had a lot of laughs and really enjoyed ourselves.  It was an inauspicious beginning to what was about to become an all-consuming passion.

What followed was a whirlwind of craft shows, farmer's markets, a web site, launch of our Etsy Shop, Facebook and Twitter pages, and eventually, we stumbled upon Pinterest.  Sigh.  It not only fed our creative lust, but gave us one more place to tout our rapidly-growing product line.

We didn't really set out to start a full-fledged business, but Poverty Barn had a mind of its own and before long, whether we were ready or not, Jess and I became more than two names on a checking account.  We became small business owners.

The last year has taught us a great many lessons.  We've been a part of two great shops and just really immersed ourselves in the experiences.  Those partnerships have inspired us to dream of having our own brick-and-mortar store some day.  And we mean that quite literally.  No modern strip mall will do for Poverty Barn. We need wood and exposed brick, wavy glass windows and tall pressed-tin ceilings.  Those things will be the perfect backdrop for us.  Eventually.

The best part about this business is that we are in it together, a mother-daughter team that works like a well-oiled machine.  Through this experience, I've gained new insight to the creative creature that lives inside my daughter.  I've watched her blossom not only with motherhood, but with the mindset of a true marketer.  She is brilliant and gifted and despite the way her room looked when she lived here at home and the way her office looks now, she really is organized.  We make a great team, and I will be forever grateful that she invited me to be a part of this.

It's funny because I mourned the passing of days as she prepared for her wedding almost two years ago.  I feared that once she left, her world would revolve around her husband, household and eventual children.  The empty nest, while appealing in some ways, held a certain trepidation over my being left to gather dust as I scrambled for any remnants of herself she might save for me.  Well, all I can say is that this Mom is definitely not gathering dust.  There's no way Jess would let me!  And honestly, I think we spend more time together now than we ever have. And with Olivia added to the fray, the mixture just gets sweeter.

As I look back over this past year, I find myself humbled by what has become of this little enterprise.  Not only have we made sales, but more importantly, we've made friends, and not just the Facebook kind.  I would like to say thank you to our families who have prayed for us, supported us and cheered us on.  I would also like to thank the fellow artists, shop owners and small businesses who have contributed to our success.  Without each of you, we would never have made it this far.

Most of all, I would like to thank Jess, for opening the door and inviting me along for the ride.  It may have started out on a dark and stormy morning, but it's been fair skies and smooth sailing for all the days since.  You rock my world, Sugarlump.  Never give up your dreams!

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