Before & After: The Story of the Juniper Tree Storefront
Opening a storefront is an idea my husband and I have kicked around several times over the years. From coffee shops to distilleries to restaurants, it’s become a hobby talking about the types of businesses we’d be interested to open. At one point, we even walked through a building to discuss the possibility of opening a bridal boutique and photography studio with an apartment on the second floor!
When Juniper was born, one busy photography season after her birth was enough for me to throw up my hands and say, “I quit”. I decided to switch careers and I made it as far as registering for classes at the college before I realized I didn’t really want to quit, I just needed to change everything about what I was doing.
I was burnt out, exhausted, and frustrated at the lack of income and number of hours I was working for myself. So I rebranded by business, changed my pricing structure and had the idea to start marketing myself at markets and pop-ups. That’s when I began selling retail to see if I could supplement my photography income. “$500 is all I need to get this going and I KNOW I can make it successful” is what I remember telling my husband. He wasn’t sure about the idea at first but decided the risk was low enough to give it a shot.
Mugs and sweatshirts turned to gifts and bags and clothing and people loved what I’d selected! The process evolved until I decided my focus wanted to be clothing and products chosen with photography sessions in mind (and maybe some fun gifts for mom and baby, just because). I loved what I was doing so much, I decided my new goal would be a storefront full of the clothing and gifts I’d curated and also a headquarters for meeting with photography clients.
Some poking and prodding revealed that a small business loan wasn’t an option for me and I decided to put the storefront on the back burner and work hard for another year and try again. Then Lynn Lypski came along! She was a coffee-shop-family-writing-social-media acquaintance I’d grown to like and trust. Her business, Olympic Yarn and Fiber, was expanding and she had big plans that could potentially include a space for me.
My intention was not to open a storefront in Cosmopolis, but Lynn told me about a building she had purchased, about the awesome coffee-shop neighbors I would have next door (stay tuned for another blog post about the amazing businesses arriving next door SOON!), and the vision she had for the entire space. So I toured the room she had available and even with the ugly carpet and florescent lights, I could only see the potential it had to be MY space.
Lynn had a key made for me that day and by the next week, Jake and I were ripping out doors and trim and light fixtures and picking out new floors. We did everything ourselves, much of the time with Juniper in tow. Sometimes she’d slurp on pouches, watch Octonauts and dance on the new floors, turning a long hard day into magical moments as a family. We were together, making this dream happen. And other days, June would only want to be held and cry and fuss the whole time while Jake cursed at wiring or uneven walls and trim pieces.
Opening a business is exciting, exhausting, thrilling, depressing, and stressful. You sometimes ride all of those emotions in one day. The morning will hold expensive surprises but by afternoon something takes shape to remind you that your dream is becoming a reality. The week before opening day was perhaps the most stressful as it seemed EVERYTHING decided to break or arrive late.
Every time I thought about giving up or felt crazy for endeavoring to open a storefront, I remembered how unhappy I was doing anything other than working for myself. How dissatisfied I was whenever my creativity or ideas were tempered by someone else. And so we trudged and painted and cried and stressed over inventory and deadlines. At the end of the day though, it felt so incredibly satisfying to be building and sacrificing for the dream as a family.
It all came together for the most incredible opening weekend I could have hoped for. Fellow business owners were generous and supportive, the community was welcoming, and the sun shone bright on both days. I still have big dreams for Juniper Tree - plans for growth and new or additional locations as well a hope for sparking community amongst ladies of various walks of life.
New inventory will be arriving almost every week and once a clothing item is gone, I rarely reorder more of the same so that each purchase is unique and exclusive to the area. Soon, large canvas wraps of my photography will be on the walls and mini-events will be hosted in support and collaboration of other local businesses and entrepreneurs. I hope you’ll come in to visit and see what Juniper Tree is all about and the beautiful things within the storefront walls!