Four years ago I set up a little Etsy shop and put my first doll up for sale. I had made dolls for years and only given them to family and friends. This was a whole new thing for me.
If you were to talk to me back then about what my plan was, I would have told you I had no idea. I really had no plan...I intended to make dolls as I felt like making them and put them up as I finish them. No direction, no intent, no plan...just me, my sewing materials, yarn and some wool...no pressure.
Here we are four years later...wow!
This little hobby with no plan has morphed into a full fledged business. A business with a team of dedicated folks who have all become like family. A team of folks who depend on this income to help care for their families and who have dedicated themselves to doing the absolute best they can physically do each week.
We went from making one doll at a time to making between 30-35 dolls each week. That is some amazing growth.
Now we are moving into a whole new phase. We have found a new home for DFH. A few months ago, the shop had taken over half of the downstairs of our house. It was even starting to spread out into the entry hall. Robert and I sat down and began discussing the fact that it was indeed time to move the shop into its own space. It was a time that had finally come.
We started out looking to find a good studio space..just a studio space. It had to be a special space...kind of cozy and located in a good lively area. It had to be wide open and have plenty of good light. We went around Denton searching and I have to say many of the choices did not fit our criteria. We were beginning to accept the fact that we might be searching for a long time.
As fate would have it, our agent, Mark, was heading down towards Locust St in Denton to a location we were to look at in a couple hours. As he drove thru the TWU campus and onto Oakland St, he saw this adorable building with a "For Rent" sign in the window of one of the shops. He stopped and called the number. As it turned out, the owner of the building had the adjacent shop, so she came out and let him in to see the space. He promptly called Robert on the phone and told him to "get down here right away". When we arrived they were out front talking. We said our hellos and walked in. It was love at first sight. The space was amazing. So clean and wide open the light from the big windows was wonderful and the ceiling had the original tin tiles. I fell in love.
We were able to work out a deal with the landlord and her husband (who it turns out started their business in their garage 20 years ago...when it grew too big for their garage, they stumbled on a space for rent in that building. They ended up eventually buying the whole building...yes they are pretty wonderful people)
Anyway, we worked out a deal and signed the lease papers...DFH had a new home.
Its a perfect location for us.
Right across the street from TWU, where we see folks walk by all the time. The library and the square are a short walk down the road.
For the first time in four years, the shop is not in my house. I have a whole front room area that is wide open. Don't worry, the littles have taken it over for now with boxes and play houses and toys all over the place.
We have spent the past couple weeks moving in and getting settled. Lindsay and I have decided on our seats. Ironically we are in the same set up as we were at the house. Just a different setting and different chairs.
Here is a picture of the hand sewing area with it's comfy chairs.
As you can see, the kids have all made themselves at home.
Robert has been so busy assembling everything and adding this piece here and that piece there...every time we come up with something we need moved or installed to make things easier for us, he is right there working away setting it up.
We are still settling in.
I am sure things will move around a bit as the months go by and as we come to feel more at home in the new space and get a feel for the best layout.
Here is another image of the other side of the space. You all have seen these cubbies earlier. This is where we store the dolls as they move thru the pipeline to completion.
See the ceiling tiles? Aren't they so cool?
In the far back we have built out a small kitchen area. This is where the yarn dying happens each week.
Robert still has some racks to install but for the most part, this area is done and functional...and LIndsay loves it.
One super exciting thing about the shop, we will be able to offer Mama Made sessions for folks who wish to come by and spend a Saturday with me in the shop and create their own Mama Made. I am pretty excited about being able to do this finally.
Now in the very front of the shop is a bonus area.
One that we were not looking to find at all. It is a perfect store front. I believe this was meant to be.
You can see in this image, its the very front of the shop.
It's a pretty big area, wide open and waiting on our finishing touches.
These giant windows will soon have big displays in them. One will be a mossy forest scene and the other a back yard scene. I am so excited about these. We will be able to set up dollies and critters in these displays all throughout the year...and change them out frequently for the seasons! Our amazingly creative friend Jim is working away on these for us.
That doorway heading into the back studio will have a giant 3 dimensional tree with cubbies in it. This will be the entrance to The Hollow.
Once again our friend Jim will be building my tree for me. Did I mention I love our amazingly talented, artistic friends? :)
The right side of the shop area will have dolls and critters for sale. I want this area to have a small play area so mamas and papas can come in and let their kiddos interact with the dollies as they choose their new friend.
The left side of the shop will have Mama Made items and yarn as well as various other natural handwork kits we can find and stock in the shop. Did I mention we will also have yarn? :)
The shop is not yet open to the general public. It is however open for pick up for any mama or papa who wants to come by and pick up their dolly or critter in person. We hope to have the shop set up and open to the public within a month.
This is a whole new phase for us. I have run the gamut of emotions already from near panic to sadness to excitement over what is to come. Today we have a local reporter coming by to interview us about the shop and what exactly is DFH.
The last four years have been amazing...I am looking forward to seeing what the next four years will bring.