Once upon a time, there was this new mom who was tired of missing all of her sweet baby’s firsts, so she convinced her mom and her husband to help her start a children’s clothing store. Three years later, her business and her marriage were over. The End.
When I was 25 years old, I was a mom to a baby just over a year old, married to my first husband, and working in a mind-numbing job as a bank teller. One of my regular customers owned a children’s consignment shop, and after many conversations at the teller line about her business, I pitched the idea to start my own to my family.
I was missing so much of Marley’s life, working at a job I hated, sending her to daycare day in and day out.
I took a chance and opened a children’s consignment store of my own. My mom backed me in this business. The day I quit my job was one of the best feelings ever. It only got better when I woke up on a Monday morning and didn’t have to take my sweet girl to daycare anymore.
I shopped and shopped until I had a location to rent in a Target shopping center, right next to a Karate 4 Kids, and had enough inventory to fill my new space. We painted and set up shop, and then…
It wasn’t going well. But eventually, business started to trickle in. I even got to the point where I could hire someone to work a couple days a week to give myself a break.
Then, the bottom fell out.
About a year and a half into my business, Marley’s dad and I began the process of going through a divorce. I took a week off to process things and move into my mom’s house with Marley. In that time, the person who had been working with me at the store decided to take advantage of the situation.
Coming back from a week off to start the divorce proceedings, I get to my store to find more than half of my inventory gone, and all of my savings that was in the business account.
Yea. It just plain sucked.
It was time to rebuild – my life and my store.
Mom and I decided that the consignment thing wasn’t working, so we sold off the inventory that was left and changed the business into a children’s boutique filled to the brim with gorgeous new children’s clothing and accessories, and a bunch of handmade items, too.
We remodeled the shop, completely gutting it and starting over. Marley even helped. 🙂 It was so therapeutic and good for my soul, and it took my mind off the divorce.
Doors opened to our beautiful new store, filled with all kinds of beautiful items for kids.
Again, I heard nothing but crickets. For whatever reason, despite my best marketing attempts, the customers weren’t coming. Sure, we’d have a few a day, but not enough.
I took a risk opening this shop. I took a risk remodeling, stocking this store with new inventory. I took a risk for three straight years trying to make this dream become a lifestyle for me and Marley.
But it wasn’t meant to be. My lease ended, and my mom and I decided to close the doors, again selling the inventory we had left, keeping some of the furniture and other things for Marley.
That was 8 years ago. Karate 4 Kids has moved to another location and a Dick Blick’s art store has moved into the whole building. There are no visible signs that my store was ever there.
Those hand-painted walls filled with birdhouses and sunflowers have been painted over, floors have been replaced, and locks changed.
Although that chapter of my life has closed, there are sweet memories that will never be erased. I took a lot of chances going into business for myself at only 25 years old, knowing absolutely nothing about running a retail store.
I have three solid years of memories with Marley in that store. She was 18 months old when the doors opened. I had a crib in my office for her to take naps. We set up a kid’s play area in the back of the shop where Marley could hang out everyday.
She became my greeter anytime customers would come in, talking their ears off, showing them pieces of clothing that she liked, and inviting the kid’s to her play space.
I was serenaded by Marley singing songs from The Wiggles, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Stanley, dancing and giggling and growing up right in front of me.
Even when she started preschool, she was only right across the street, so I was able to take her each morning and pick her up every afternoon. She’d spend the rest of our time at the store telling me every detail of her day, a tradition she continues even today.
Life forces us to take risks, or miss out on beautiful opportunities. I took a risk marrying a man I thought I’d be with forever, only to watch my marriage crumble, but I have the most amazing daughter to show for it.
I took a risk opening a business with a small child in tow, but I have three solid years of memories with her that can’t be painted over. I was able to be with her until she went to kindergarten before going back to a 9-to-5 job.
This chapter in my life made me tough, and made me more open to taking risks again, because the rewards are so sweet.