|Sometimes, having someone on your side, helps you to shake things up a bit.|
Well, I am back from a wonderful weekend spent with a group of women in Arkansas on a lake. We ate, laughed, cried, prayed, swam, boated, and I took lots of photos. It is amazing the designs that God creates out in nature. When I get the chance to slow down and really see it, I realize how great He is. While spending the weekend in the country, I thought you all might like to do the same and that is where we are heading out to today. Get in your cars and head on out here to the Midwest to Iowa!
When Brandon Woline, of Iowa City, Iowa (in my mind, the entire state of Iowa is country, even the cities) heard of my display competition, he created his display especially for the competition. Brandon has been a "follower" of mine for many years now - both cyberally and literally. The first time I ever met Brandon was when he drove all the way down to my store after he had read about it and email me maybe once or twice and I saw this very quiet guy wandering and wandering around my store, really slowly, just taking it all in on a very busy day. He then introduced himself (and I am HORRIBLE at names) but it clicked after a moment or two and I was so flattered he drove all the way down to just see the store.
At that time, Brandon did not have a booth and was in the dreaming stage of someday having a store or a booth, but was only dreaming at the time. Over the years, he would email me two or three times a year with questions, and I would answer. He came and visited me once again, years later when I did the Miss Frenchie show, and brought me up to date on his progress.
|Brandon surprising me at the Miss Frenchie show.|
He now finally has a space located in Sisters Garden, and antique mall located 10 miles south of Iowa City on Hwy 1. His space is called House Things as well as his blog. Not only is it a blog, but he also sells from his blog as well and you should visit it often, as he sells and changes merchandise quite often!
I think most people can relate to Brandon...he has that passion, dream, and limited resources, but with time, persistence and tenacity, he made it work. His style is wonderful and you can see by his creativity why the mall is very lucky to have him! House Things has great ideas, great merchandise, but most importantly, a great owner who really cares about what he does - which shows. Look for yourself, then as the character on "Coffee Talk" from SNL used to say (in a NJ accent) "Talk Among Yourselves..." except, I will butt in and talk with you.... but for now, take a look:
Brandon took my theme, "Relaxation" literally and wanted his display to float on air. You can't be more relaxed than that. His display was so relaxing that it floated upward as if it were all light as a feather - now that is clever!
Get it..."light as a feather...." Lamp....floating....feather....all up there towards the ceiling...I love it!
I am always a sucker for cool, old photos. The man in the hammock looks pretty darn relaxed. It's funny how back in the old days, men "relaxed" while wearing vests, long shirts and nice pants. Now, it is t-shirts and sweat pants. However, the woman above, by her expression, looks like she will be interrupting her husband's relaxation any moment now with some news that may end his cozy day in the hammock....perhaps her second cousin Flora Goody (better known in town as Floozy Goodtime) is coming for a visit and is bringing her friend, "Uncle" Benjamin (better known as Uncle Ben with Gin) and she is just sure the Vicar will have a stern say about her distant relatives' behaviors. Oh! What a tangle web we weave....
But, with all the cares of the world, floating away with such a creative display done in great textures, colors and whimsy, Flora Goody and "Uncle" Benjamin won't put a damper on anything...they will just blend right into all the fun. House Things is a place where you will definitely find not only great things for your house, but great ideas to store in that noggin of yours to pull out later when you are feeling low on ideas and need to create something quick and easy - now you have a great idea to go to!
Before you float out of here to another post, remember to to drop Brandon a line if you have time and wish him the best. For those of you who are BRAND NEW to the dealer world, the retail world or just wishing you could find the courage to step out - now you have someone to go to who is really fresh at it and can he can tell you how he did it. So many of you write me and tell me how much you really want to open up a store or even space in a mall. Many of you written me and told me how scared you are to go to a mall and "play with the big boys" who have been doing it for a long time. Well, Brandon was one those people who wrote to me for years, just like you, and now he finally has done it! So, you can write him and ask him how does it feel, and find out for yourself how he did it.
And for those of you reading this that are very seasoned, and have been doing this for years, and could display a window with your eyes closed, just think back to the very first time you had go out and play with "big boys" and how scary it was to be judged. Now get over there and pat Brandon on the back, because the new people need to hear from us "oldies" that they have what it takes and we are proud of them - because we are! :-)
I am loving this little display competition - and I hope you are too! Until next time...keep creating and keep encouraging...
from my house to your house