When I think back to what my life looked like 13 months ago, I'm still in a state of shock. While yes, a store front for ISFH was on my wish list, logistically it wasn't anywhere on my radar. It felt too lofty, too big, too hard. But, in the way he often does, God decided to work magic in my life. I still remember unlocking that door for the first time and seeing, in spite of the cobwebs, musty odor and junk everywhere, potential. As crazy as it may seem, those first footsteps inside 132 E. Second Street I felt the most confidence I have in many, many years.
The store was so filthy when we moved in. I'm pretty sure no one had cleaned the floors in at least 10 years. There was random stuff all over. Copious amounts of elbow grease were needed to clean and then clean again. I'm forever grateful to my friend Lindsey, who tackled all the cleaning jobs that literally left me gagging. Her expert tree removal also provided great comic relief when lack of sleep and stress started to take over. It's crazy looking back at all the pictures we took those first few weeks. It doesn't even look (or smell) like the same place. Every week, I feel like we make small improvements to the way we do things and how it looks. I find new inspiration every week and for that, I feel encouraged.
My husband, though often behind the scenes, has been an integral part of not only the appearance of the store, but also our success. He worked harder than any of us making the store look perfect. From putting up walls, installing the air conditioner and dealing with the slugs (don't ask), his dedication to me is unfathomable. This month we will celebrate 15 years of marriage. He's used to my crazy ideas and is always along for the adventure. I couldn't do life without him and our sweet P.
It's funny, looking at those first few pictures when the store was set up. I thought it looked so full, when it fact, it looked so darn empty. I feel like we have finally found our sweet spot of what inventory we want out and how we want the store to be decorated. I'm blessed with two sales associates, Ashley and Alliyah, who have had no trouble finishing my sentences (and also my thoughts). They've come along on this crazy ride with me, understanding that my constant singing, occasional street dancing and hair-brained ideas will keep them entertained during those long works days. I couldn't do it without them.
This weekend, as we celebrate our first store birthday, I'm super grateful for those of you that have stopped in, shopped online, shared our posts and been so encouraging. If you are in the area this weekend, please stop by and say hi. I would love to hug you and say thank you in person. ISFH is my dream, a dream that is far from over or being fully fulfilled. Big things are to come. Until then, I will just keep hustling and being forever your crazy candle lady.
Sending love & light,