Once upon a time, we opened a store

There is NOTHING like starting and continuing an adventure with people that have been through the trenches with you, the ups and downs, the heartaches and happiness. . . and the best part??  we are still there, still friends and I love to start a conversation with, “Oh my God, do you remember. . .?

When we opened “little bella” our vision was to have a hands on etsy store. We are all pretty creative, at least WE think so. Amanda makes great vintage jewelry from old, broken, wonderful finds that she searches for and local antique shop owners put aside just for her. Leigh is a gifted artist who’s work has amazed and captured my heart more than once. Lou Webb made beautiful exotic jewelry with stones and artifacts she gathered from all over the world. I’m so sorry to say she is no longer with us after a valiant fight with cancer. Heather Miles is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, exceptional in all areas of art. She sewed, set up label makers and programs in the computer, designed and made pillows and much, much more. I’m so happy she decided to go to school and get a most deserved art degree.    And I had the idea to start an all natural product line that Amanda and I developed from scratch. . . thanks to her extensive research and knowledge and her ability to help me challenge myself in an area I really had no clue about. This was our core. In all, we had 13 contributors through the year.

Michelle approached me one day soon after she started working at Spa Bella with a request to look at her mama’s things. She makes quilts, bags and aprons. This was the beginning of a wonderful and different concept than we had planned and we all had fun watching it come together. Not only did Lummie (Michelle’s mama) do her thing, but she had friends that did theirs too!! Mildred, Doris and Nola all made beautiful quilts, little girls dresses, totes, aprons and more. These were a group of women well into their years that made wonderful, handcrafted things that are basically a lost art in our off the rack, made in China, plastic throw away world. Some of my best memories are of the “girls” bringing in new things they had JUST made and were so excited to see it displayed in all their glory.

We stayed “etsy”for about a year. . .As much fun as we had and gratification we experienced, it was clear we were going to have to move on. . .change our focus and basically start over. I would not say our experiment was a failure. How could it be?  It brought so much joy to us all. We did have sales and followers. But just not enough to really be able to call ourselves a store. So, we called it a day, cleared out the space and started anew. . .

Ahhh, perspective is everything.

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