"Hi Leah, my wife and I are from West Virginia and passing through North Carolina. We were wondering if there was any way to come by and meet you. My wife, Kathy, really loves your online show."I thought about it for a few seconds and said "Sure! Come on over, just keep in mind that I'm human and don't have a perfect house."
It seems the state of my messy house was the last thing on Kathy and Doug's mind, though! They came over and we had a nice time talking about quilts and touring the studio.
Kathy had thought we owned a physical storefront quilt shop, but I quickly explained that starting a business like that wasn't possible for us back when I first started shooting videos.
On a tight budget and wanting to keep everything online, I couldn't justify the expense of renting a big building and having a huge overhead when the business was just beginning. It's hard to believe now, but I really started my quilt shop with just $300!
I could work with so little because Josh and I store our inventory and pack orders in our basement office. While it's not set up great for shopping in person, it can work in a pinch.
Isacord thread set and got to select the colors she wanted right off the shelf. We had a nice chat about which thread colors would work best over which fabrics and it was really fun helping her choose in person.
the dream of owning a storefront business.
When I was 12, the internet was inaccessible, YouTube couldn't even be imagined, the idea of be "blogging" like this wasn't even in the realm of possibility.
So no, I never dreamed of owning an online business, it just didn't exist then, but I did dream of running my own store.
As I got older, I began to realize just how difficult this could be: how much start up money I'd need, inventory, a good retail space, etc. It just seemed like a pipe dream that would never, ever happen.
Then the internet became a force to be reckoned with and I met Josh, who taught me how to build a website, and Chet, his dad who taught me how to run an online business. Suddenly my childhood pipe dream wasn't such a dream anymore. It could, and did, become a reality.
But I'll be honest...I've never really let go of that original dream to have a storefront. To have a physical place where I can talk and teach and help quilters find what they need. Where wonderful quilters like Kathy can stop in during her trip through North Carolina and not have to worry that she's bothering me.
It's a dream that still seems silly - the overhead is still outrageous, the costs still far outweight the benefits, but no matter how many times many people try to talk me out of it, I just can't let it go!
Part of the reason is I drive by THE PERFECT PLACE every single day. This space has been for sale on and off since we moved here 5 years ago. Last spring I finally broke down and toured the building and unfortunately it was PERFECT (unfortunate because it just made the dream harder to resist).
When I saw this room, when I let my imagination run wild with what I could do with it, I knew it would be absolutely, positively, perfect.
But it's also ridiculously expensive and overpriced for the location. I walked away the first time, knowing for a fact that it was just never going to happen for that asking price. I also reminded myself for the millionth time that staying online always makes more sense on paper and is the smarter thing to do.
But it's impossible to forget this! I drive by this building every single day to take James to school, and look at it and wish it was mine. It's like that space has my name on it, and I keep seeing my quilts hanging out front.
Last week I was doing some Google searches on land and property and ran across the space again. The price has dropped to buy it, and now the owner is considering leasing it as well.
The lease price, while still high in my opinion, is actually something I could consider...
I can almost hear several people say "NO! Beyond there be dragons! Don't even THINK about it. This economy is awful! You could lose everything! blah, blah, blah."
But dreams are dreams for a reason. I might never act on this space, but I can still dream about it, I can still drive by it every day and wonder what it would be like to fill this space with quilts and sewing machines and meet people like Kathy in person every day.
It's been for sale for 5 years. I can hope it stays on the market a bit longer, a bit more time to think and dream, and maybe one day it will be the right time for this dream to come true.
Now enough rambling about my obsession about this property! If you are traveling through NC and want to swing by and don't mind wandering through a house that has dirty dishes in the sink and more toys on the floor than a toy shop, feel free to contact me a day or two before your trip. I don't mind visitors and I'd love to give you a tour!
Let's go quilt,