January 2019 came really fast! Tiff and I started Willow Dreams Design in April 2018. MoodyOops has been around for several years, but not as an official business, so what we decided to do at the time was to operate MoodyOops under the umbrella of the Willow Dreams LLC and open a brick and mortar where we could sell both our art and design work.
It has been such a joy and a blessing to be able to serve our customers in a place we love! We designed the shop the way we wanted it—used our signature colors. I threw one of my famous brick walls up (y’all, I’m going to show you how to do that pretty soon), and we opened for business. Meanwhile, we posted pictures on Facebook, and a few on the website and that’s when we started to get educated.
The first thing that we found out is that our location sucks. Well, that’s not a very diplomatic way of putting it, but it does. We are far enough out of town that nobody wants to venture out. Plus, we are down a hill and in front of another business that is wildly popular. Secondly, we found out that we didn’t really need the location. We do the majority of our sales by posting photos online and then arranging to deliver or ship the items. Sure, we get some traffic in the store, but most of our money is made through orders and other ways.
Sooo, all of this got us thinking. I am already working on the webpage, where our art and design will eventually all be uploaded and customers will be able to purchase directly from there. Easy peasy. I’m writing a book that will hopefully be ready in a few months. I have the blog, where I keep in touch with our customers and I love it the most! We are publishing the greeting cards which can be displayed along with our art at festivals and other events (and we can’t even attend those now because we have to maintain a presence at the shop). Our design work has NEVER been sold out of the shop anyway, and we are primarily a Graphic Design business. The website is also not set up yet for the design part of the business, so I have a lot of work to do.
I absolutely love the shop!! It makes me feel happy and blessed just to walk in! Also, I absolutely fell in love with talking to my customers and helping y’all in person. I have always enjoyed merchandising and remerchandising the place! Tiff says I change it every day (I really do it, too).
But—I think I have gotten away from my vision. What happens when you don’t write your goals down in the very beginning is that things can get cloudy and you can forget what you are aiming for.
I want a place downtown—in the old part of town—the grassroots division, and I have settled for something else. Have you ever done that? Have you ever snatched the first opportunity instead of waiting for the RIGHT opportunity? Our goal in the beginning of this thing was to promote local artists and crafters while also using our own gifts and talents, but for us to stay afloat in our location, we had to bring in merchandise and other gimmicky things that detract from our original mission. That’s not good enough for us.
We are artists! We are designers. We are crafters and builders. We are for a way of life that is all but lost in the busy traffic flow and the hustle and bustle of “today.”
I reject that it HAS to be that way! I believe that we CAN blend the new with the old and keep tradition along with innovation. I want to walk barefoot down the street and drink a malt while snapping photos with my new iPhone. And, I want YOU to be comfortable at our shop—and be okay with who you are. I want you to not only remember where you came from but I want the stories! I need to hear them. Tell me how YOU walked down the railroad track, picked peas, fished with your Daddy, drew your first cartoon character, read your first poem in church, and got baptized in the cold lake.
I don’t want us to lose our history as we forge our path in this world. I want a place downtown! It doesn’t have to be this town, but it can be. We can’t have that without some sacrifice—it’s going to cost us more than what we have. Because of this, we have decided to close our shop temporarily. We are NOT going out of business. We are getting a better plan together, saving money, rejecting the things that don’t fit, and looking for our place downtown. We will be online as usual. The shop will be moved to a “virtual” store—I think you will really love what we have in mind! Of course, I will keep you updated here! This will not be an immediate thing–we are looking at the end of February or March, when our lease runs out. Obviously, we won’t start moving anything without extending some MASSIVE savings to our customers!
Please continue to support our art and help us to change our inventory to the things we believe in, hand-crafted, artist-inspired, REAL treasures that you can’t buy just anywhere.