Stepping Out

It is interesting how things happen sometimes. I have lived with my family in our current house for five years now, and we enjoy our home and our neighborhood. A few houses down from us, there is a building that looks a little out of place in this older residential setting - a two story square brick building, painted all white. The center door is retail space which has been in use for most of the time we've been here. It turns out that the building was once an old fashioned grocery store, and has now been renovated partially for commercial use, and partially for apartments. I'm not sure when the "for rent" sign appeared, because, honestly, it never dawned on me that this would relate to us until a few months later, when the sign was still there.

Then a thought began ticking in my head which had something to do with my husband's computer business.  Though he's been getting very busy, he still has been running the business from home. It suddenly occurred to me that this space could work for his computer business, and that it could actually be helpful for both his business and our family. It turned out that Curt had been having the same thought, and was pleased to find that I liked the idea. We decided to ask some questions, and in about a month, we moved his computer business from our basement to the new storefront.

So then Curt said something like, "would you like to set up a little corner for your jewelry?" Hm. Well this takes thinking through. There is not enough space there (in addition to all the computer stuff), to set up much of a retail presence, and I wasn't even sure there enough space to make it worthwhile. But the option of having a little real live space is so delicious. I have been working on my concept of what this little corner could be for me.

I am currently thinking of my corner as "a big business card" but it is also great meeting space.  It is at least a chance for a few more people to discover I exist. I have business cards out and my newly minted brochures, along with a nice digital picture frame that displays my gallery. In conjunction with this, I have been putting effort into making a concise catalog of my jewelry which is easily sharable, online or on paper. Currently, I have a single copy available in a binder in the store, which is easy for visitors to browse through. I can envision having more copies available for customers, but I am not quite ready for that yet. Besides, everything currently available is on my online shop, and that is where you can really get the complete information. Even so, sometimes a paper copy to hold and thumb through is exactly the right thing. 

This is me in front of the shop being "fabulous"

The lovely thing is that this is how businesses have emerged and survived for ages. Families dovetail interests to share space that would otherwise cost twice as much.  Being here helps us feel that we are more connected with our neighbors and our neighborhood, too.  Curt and I can even learn how to help each other out in new ways. 

For my local customers, this is a real coup. This is an opportunity for any customers who live in or near Des Moines to ask for a consultation about a custom order, or simply be able to do a local pick-up on an order which they might normally have to pay shipping charges on. I do not envision having a full jewelry shop here (see Exhibit A below) but there is a possibility of having a few samples on display. 

Exhibit A
The purpose of this little space, and its possibilities, is still evolving for us. I am pleased, for the time being, that it gives me a place to put my name up and create a conversation.  I can even expand my tool space there - when I knew we were getting this space I decided to get the jewelry tumbler I've been thinking of for so long. I have a little more space to spread out, a sink and an outlet nearby, and nobody to pester with machine noise. 

Showing off my new jewelry tumbler
So welcome. CW (I'm the only one who gets to call him "Curt") is setting office hours for the first time ever, and I am adapting my information to say that in addition to selling online, I can sell locally by appointment.  So if you're a local customer in the Des Moines, Iowa area or want to learn more, drop me an e-mail or call 515-577-1706 and set up a time to browse or make your purchase. 

This is Curt being "CW Smith Computer Services"
See you there!


  1. How innovative! And what a nice husband and wife team. Not sure how you're handling it all with all else, but I find it inspiring and hopeful. Maybe I'll get back to my looms. Been too busy blogging about my Disney Forays!

    1. Well, I guess you could say I've been juggling a few different things. Fortunately, Curt has been doing the bulk of the work over here, and I have been helping where I can and discovering my niche as I go. Shopping for chairs and dreaming up displays is actually a nice little break from real life. I'm over here at the store this morning, actually, minding the store for a few hours while Curt is out on business. We'll get this rhythm going yet.


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