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THE LITTLE SHOP THAT COULD

When you look back on your life, year by year, are there years that can be summarized by one story?  That story is likely made up of 365 other stories but is there a single significant event that happened in that year that stands out in your mind and sets the tone for that entire year?

The year you were born.

The year you started kindergarten.

The year your granny died.

The year you graduated from high school…then maybe college.

The year you married.

The year you divorced.

The year you lost.

The year you loved again.

The year you finally saw God.

The year you were full of fear.

The year you became a mom.

The year you never slept.

The year you let go.

People always ask…”What made you want to open Plume?  Had you always wanted to have your own shop?”  I wish I could say it was a dream come true.  And maybe it was one of those dreams that God knew I had…but I didn’t realize it?  Plume simply came to be in response to a chain of events that happened two and a half years ago.

This is my story of 2013…and these were the shoes I was wearing.

But before 2013…there was 2008.

In 2008, after a 13-year career in corporate Sales & Marketing, God answered my prayers and made me a mom.  Blessed with 3 children, by June 2013, I’d been staying-at-home for 5 years.

My twins were just a year away from kindergarten, my sweet third baby…only two, but I was starting to contemplate what life would look like when they started school.

They were still such babies.  What was I thinking??   I look at these pics and often wonder if I made a mistake.

On the way home from a grocery run…kids in tow…I noticed a side-walk sale at a small vintage resale shop called Patty’s Place, 5-minutes from my house.  It was full of treasures…but also a lot of trash.    Something kept pulling me back there and each time I walked through, my designer brain would be re-arranging the treasures and eliminating the trash.   I started to think, “Maybe Patty could use some part-time help?” while my kids were in school.

At the same time, a creator at heart, I’d been buying handmade gifts and decor from other local moms on Facebook.  I didn’t enjoy the inconvenience of how those transactions were taking place.  How do I pay?  What if I don’t like it when I see it in person?  Where do I meet you to pick up?  It was normally somewhat intrusive & awkward for the maker…and just kind of a pain for me.   I’d also been dabbling with the idea of selling my own creations but couldn’t find a suitable outlet.  I thought to myself…”Why isn’t there just a place where everyone can take their stuff and sell it?”

As it turned out Patty was ready to retire.

Patty’s Place became Plume.

Patty’s Treasures became my display pieces.

The trash was replaced by those handmade creations from those local Facebook moms.

It wasn’t quite that easy.  Once I started thinking and the dreams started coming…I went a little off the deep-end.

I felt the need to document my physical appearance in July 2013 as it seemed reflective of the un-kept scattered nature of all the thoughts that were swimming in my head.

I filled page after page in notebooks that were strewn all around my house with handwritten chicken scratch.  No one on this earth but me could ever sit down and decipher it all. That was my business plan.  It included zero numbers, no budget, no sales projections.  It was about people.   People I knew and how I could maybe in some way help them sell some stuff.

My husband thought I was crazy.  We had some of the most difficult fights of our marriage.  I don’t think it was that he didn’t believe in me…or even the concept behind Plume. Maybe it was that he didn’t believe in all of you.  He didn’t believe in the location.  He didn’t believe people would actually just give me their stuff and let me try to sell it.   He didn’t believe customers would actually come and buy it.  And let me tell you…I had those same fears.  I get it.  It’s hard to create beauty in the middle of a bunch of used & junked cars.  But somehow God kept telling me to keep going.

July 14, 2013 In the middle of the night I prayed from Psalms.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…You have searched me Lord, and you know me.”    break my pride yet let me confidently use the gifts that you have given me.  remove any greed or selfish interest.  give me discernment that i may be able to objectively evaluate this opportunity.   help me not to balance, but instead to always put you 1st, jeremy 2nd, kids 3rd, family & friends 4th…business 5th .

let me not forget about the poor.  unloved.  widows.  orphans.

help me to build something that glorifies you & may you receive it all.

is this where you would have us lord?  If not, send us, and we will go.   but let it come from you, not fear.    if this is not your will, may you put up road blocks and may this dream leave my heart in peace.

help jeremy and i to be unified.  give him openness and willingness.   give him courage.  help him to believe in me.  help me to always respect and submit to him lord.  may this not be something that weakens our marriage…but strengthens it in a way only you can.

help me build something that keeps my kids in focus.  that allows me to be the kind of mom i want to be.  full of patience & loving kindness.  the ability to be truly present with them.  and to keep them in safe care when i am not.  to let them never question that they are loved beyond measure.  to not be placed on the back burner.  {oh lord, this is a big, big one}

help me to work with others who want to glorify you using the talent you’ve given them.  let this place be one of vision. creativity. refuge. encouragement. blessing.

give me patience and wisdom to lead.  inspire.  to make good choices.  to not become impulsive. to not overspend.  to be a good steward.

surround me with women who share my vision and will help me keep it in sight.  without losing sight of you.   do not let me use you lord.   by words that are not reflected in my life.  in the way i love my man and my kids.  in the way I lead.

help me to live by the true desires of my heart.

left alone i will fail.

help me to not be afraid to open my hand and let this out into the world.

may it take flight.

let them watch and be in awe at what a group of moms can do when they work together.

in your name.   Amen.”

I continue to pray that same prayer.   In times when I’m in doubt.  When I question myself or make decisions.   God has answered many times over.   It’s been 2 steps forward 1 step back…and sometimes 3 steps back.   I’ve made mistakes.   Family has not been without sacrifice. I’ve placed money over people.   It’s a journey…and He’s still teaching me.

On November 1, 2013; my 40th birthday…Jeremy hung my roughly hand-painted sign while the sun rose across the road on Route K.  Surrounded by family and friends, I opened Plume as a place for stay-at-home moms to bring a few things to sell.

Now it’s become…well…no longer a place just for moms, or even just women.  Plume is now a credible marketplace for those who desire to build a locally recognized brand and business but cannot afford or do not desire to have a brick & mortar storefront of their own.

In keeping with Patty’s tradition, Plume also remains home to vintage connoisseurs who just love a good estate sale or thrift shop and keep the “oldies but goodies” coming in.    I love the mingling of old & new.  The shiny brights and the rusty farmhouse.   The modern fabrics with vintage accents.

It’s a quaint little “hole in the wall” destination spot…that people visit every single Thursday – Saturday.    I’ve lost track of how many of you have come to shop at Plume.   Sisters bring their moms.  Girls bring their friends from out of town.   Neighbors stop in for a baby gift.    I’ll never tire of people walking in the door for the first time and hearing their surprise about what they see.  It’s an unexpected delight.   I feel the same way.   Unexpected delight.   I could never have imagined what Plume would be like today when I opened the doors that first day.  Because all of you came.  To shop and to make yourselves vulnerable to put your creations out there for the world.   And more than anything I love the relationship that builds when you come back.  When I learn your name…and some of your story.

And just this morning…4,004.

The number of you who follow along the Plume story on facebook.

Wow.

It’s never been just about numbers for me but seeing that made me want to sit and write today.  A luxury I just don’t allow myself often.  I needed to reflect on how far we’ve come.

Now, to figure out what to do with 4,004 facebook followers?   How to use this platform that God has given me?  That, my friends, will be my 2016.

I had a vision of a “little shop that could”.

Of a place where women would be surrounded by beauty and feel loved.

My strengths are design & sales.   My passion is people…customers and makers…their stories…helping them grow.

You saw the vision…and you believed…and you came…and you trusted me.

From my overflowing heart.

Thank you, for being a part of this story.

I’m just blessed to be the girl smack dab in the middle of it all.

Love,  Kelly.