It’s Sunday afternoon, and we’re rolling along I-70 about thirty miles from our planned stop in Columbia, Missouri when my grand-daughter starts to fuss. My daughter, Jesse, and I exchange a look before she unbuckles and climbs into the back seat to see what she can do to calm her firstborn.
Olivia’s cries quiet upon seeing her Mommy, and then I hear the sound of a story being read. Jesse starts with a book about Olivia the pig and moves on to one about Elmo and his Sesame Street friends. As she does, I swipe at the tears that roll down my face while trying to keep the van on the road.
My mind is filled with memories - of other trips down this same highway - when it was I who read to a fussy girl, to try and distract her from the fact that she was strapped into an unforgiving car seat.
As the book pages turn, so turn the pages of my heart, and soon Jess asks me if I’m crying. I confess my weepy cruise down memory lane, we both choke up, and then we laugh those sticky-wet-laughs that only two misty-eyed Moms can share.
Life has come full circle.
What brought us to this mile-marker on a dark gray ribbon of highway is a three generation girls weekend where the youngest of our trio, being a wise three-and-a-half months old, has not only dictated our moves but graced us with her lively brand of humor. A year ago, who would have guessed that we two would become we three and we girls would have started a small business, been moderately successful, and would take a weekend road trip to dream, discuss and shop for that venture? Who would have thought that we would be on the eve of making the decision about whether or not we are ready to take our little enterprise to the next level?[There was a smile on my lips as I wrote that last line because we didn’t set out to start a business, the business pretty much started us. Why, then, do I even imagine that we have a modicum of control over where it takes us tomorrow?]
And now that business, known as Poverty Barn, binds us together as no blood relation ever has. Mother begat daughter, and business begat the deepening of a friendship that started in the womb.
We three girls spent a wonderful, albeit stiflingly hot, weekend in Kansas City combing vintage shops, antique malls, and retail stores for fun finds. Every time Jesse points at something old and beautifully time-worn, I grin at the irony. It wasn’t long ago I would have had to bribe her to hit up a flea market, estate sale or junk shop, and now she is the one doing the coercing.
It’s that full circle thing come ‘round all over again.
Our business-that-found-us is one that also suits us well. Jesse has always been creative, spending hours as a child with boxes of crafty goodness. Her taste in supplies has evolved from little girl fascination with pony beads and glitter glue to more grown-up fondness (obsession) for fabrics, patterned paper and ribbon. She sews, does machine embroidery, makes the cutest paper goods ever and her ability to mass-produces magnets is rivaled by none.While Jesse works the soft-goods and baby angle, I tend more toward designing home decor via computer screen. My vinyl cutter and I are very close, and I love to combine cuts with colorful canvas backgrounds. Scripture, sayings, and word-collages are the mainstay of my creative day, but I also dabble in paper goods, magnets, and odds-and-ends.
Jesse’s tastes run her way, mine run mine, and somewhere in the middle, we overlap. It’s a meshing of creativity hot-glued together with a mutual fondness and respect for each other. I could have made no better choice for a business partner, and for that I am thankful. Truly blessed. She is Rory to my Lorelei, and on our girls weekends, there are many Gilmore references. We place orders and make reservations under our pseudonyms and talk about the romance of a thousand yellow daisies. We are silly, honest, mutually brought to tears by our realization of how quickly time passes when you are watching a child grow up. We are sentimental to a fault.This is what makes our business work. We share goals, dreams, and visions of not only surviving, but thriving. We want to help other visionaries reach their goals. We want God to be at the center of everything we do. We want our husbands to support us, celebrate our successes, and not chastise us for our failures.
We want to leave a legacy for the third generation Barn Girl.
It’s a simple concept: Make what we love, sell it at a fair price, treat our customers like family and welcome the spirit of creativity that swirls in every breath we take. At the end of the day, celebrate with a slice of French silk pie.
Is it a coincidence that the pie is in the shape of a circle?
Most definitely not.
Most definitely not.