I had a shop, and then I didn't have a shop. It's been two weeks since we broke up, and it's time I let you know. After all, you were a part of our relationship, too. The most important part. But this breaking up thing, it's not you at all. It was Them.
Call it weakness. That's what I keep calling it. Them. They ruined the relationship, it wasn't me. Kind of a cowardice, isn't it? It is to me, between the moments when I call it courageous.
So, what happened? That's what some are asking on the voicemail, what some are messaging me about. I packed up and vanished in a night. I was planning on being there for years, but in a handful of hours we vacated, leaving behind a front door of broken glass.
The short story is, that seeing shattered glass for the third time since our lease started broke me, too. There's a much longer story in here about the daily transients who would wander in, some of them aggressive, some of them refusing to leave, some trying to grab items on the way out, all of them requiring that my toddler go hide quietly in the back of the store. The heroin needles in the garden bed outside the door, the occasional person passed out blocking pathways. My dad is an addict, and when he relapsed I'd see him every day, walking down the street. I became more accessible than ever, and I was concerned I was an easy target. I knew I was an easy target. I know. But the short story.
I came into the shop two Monday mornings ago to find my front door shattered. Looked like someone shot the door with a BB gun. Our neighbors also had their window broken. I was coming to the shop to grab packaging tape to mail orders. Iris was sleeping in the car. The moment I saw it was the moment I knew I didn't want this to be where I existed most of my waking hours. I don't deserve this. My kid doesn't deserve this. If we were in the shop at four in the morning, if I stayed late, being in that space meant being unsafe. I went to counseling to learn how to set boundaries in my relationships, yet here I was, subjecting myself and my kid to a place where people broke boundaries every week. Where people mumbled at me that I should have money to give them, why don't I have money for them, but not out in the open street with a small safety net of other people; in a small, enclosed space with walls that made every uncomfortable word louder. That senseless violent act against the front door where Iris and I essentially lived forced me to ask myself: what am I doing this for, and does it need to continue in this format?
We had a sewing studio with a shop in the front. We were in the shop to be able to be a part of a neighborhood we love in a city we love. We wanted a place where people could visit with their babies, where we could design custom shoes and listen to music and sometimes I'd talk politics with customers, talk music, talk about living in our city. We were there to give more structure to our lives, to have our kid be a part of our family business, to get our studio out of the house. All of these reasons shouldn't require our safety as a tradeoff.
Goodbye, cute shop. We might revisit this again in a different location. We might not. We are, after all, freshly broken up, and it's hard to say if we'll ever get back together. Right now, we've got things to look forward to:
1. The Downtown Growers' Market! The market season starts in a month. We're going to be bringing all of our stock to Robinson Park on Saturdays. Check out the Events page for the specific dates we will be there.
2. More work on our Webshop! Since many of our items are one-of-a-kind, it's tricky figuring out how to best list those goods. We're going to figure it out. Maybe a "shop our Instagram" type of thing. We were working upwards of 60 hours a week running the shop, the webshop, and attending markets. Making our internet thing cooler sounds real nice, especially since we will still have human interactions at the DGM.
3. SO MUCH TIME TO WORK ON ART. I've totally failed to work on expanding my own line. Without all of the hours required in the shop, I'm hoping to reallocate that time to creating.
4. Again, so many extra hours in the day. Cutting out drive time, moving the toddler from place to place, waking the kid up to drag her sleepy body around.
If you are a local, use code ABQSHIP for free shipping since we no longer have pickups. When the market season begins, pickups can happen there, but until then, I'll ship it straight to you. Tonight, I'm going to get working on our new canopy design. We're going to make our booth as much as a pop-up shop experience as we can. :)
Until then, see ya on the internets.