More income for the family… the necessity.
Me… the mother.
Urbanism… the invention!
I know some of you know my story… but many do not. So I wanted to share it with you now.
In 1997 I was the mother of 2 sweet boys ages 2 and 5 years. I was 40 years old, 5 years out of the work force with what I thought was a golden resume. I had tried and tried to land a sales position, but to no avail. Since I needed to do something, I took a job at a publishing company. I was miserable.
One Saturday I took a ride in the car. I passed a funny little neighborhood of corrugated metal sheds… all lined up in a row. I pulled in the lot and noticed that each one had a different little business inside. A small camp of happy entrepreneurs. It was quite intriguing… like nothing I had seen before.
Before I knew it, I was jumping back in the car, I had put our name on a 9 month waiting list for one of those little sheds. I wasn’t sure what we would do with it, but if I didn’t think of something before they called me, I could always cancel it.
By the end of that month, I believed that that people might just flock to a warehouse that offered cool furniture shown in the malls at much higher prices.
I contacted some furniture friends and asked them if they would be willing to sell to me. Three of them agreed. So I started out with about 6 floor samples… a cool slip covered sofa, a bedroom set seen on a popular TV sitcom, and a fashion forward dining set.
I set appointments for Saturdays and brought the whole darn family to field the many visitors that were anxious to see what I had in my hut. I would use the sold goods as more examples of what we had to offer. People would put together custom sofas. When their goods arrived, others would see them, like them and duplicate them. The customers themselves became the designers of my best sellers!
I had little idea of what I was ultimately doing, but I could see that whatever it was… people were loving it.
By the end of a couple months of this, it was clear that this could be worked into a viable business. So I did it. I took the leap and one year to the day of hiring on, I quit that darn job! I jumped in with both feet to become a ‘hut person’.
My Saturdays were filled with anxious shoppers who were so excited to have found such an awesome source. And they all told someone else. The growth was exponential.
I added many new sources and the floor became filled with wonderful furniture and accessories. Catalogs were available to browse through if it wasn’t shown on the floor. While I was grateful for the blessing of the shop’s popularity, I knew that something had to give. I was working until 3am many days, by myself, attempting to process all the business, completely on my own.
It was now more than I could handle alone and it was time for a change. My proper place was with my boys, no matter what happened to the business.
But it seemed a sin to shut this little jewel down. So, after weighing all the options, I hired a trusted friend to jump in. She proved effective and trustworthy, so I hired another highly referred person. Then another friend. But since we were all moms, I kept the shop open only 10am-2pm each day. It has been since 1997 and we are still in the same hut park, but so big now that we fill about 10,000sq ft in a large warehouse onsite, and we are open until 5 pm daily.
We are not climate controlled and it’s a bit dusty. We leak when it rains and you may need to step around a few boxes to make your way through our shop. There is no carpeting, all sales are final, our hours are short and so are our frills. But… if you can carve out the time and put up with our anti-retail approach, we will show you how to earn your discount in the coolest furniture shopping experience that you will ever have. The value here still tickles folks pink!
And now, we even offer to bring the ‘Warehouse to You’. We come out with our books and samples and help our shoppers decide what would make their space delicious.
There is something about this place. We love what we do and have a mutual kinship with our shoppers. Referrals are the reason we exist. Word of mouth is the undeniable best and most personal stamp of approval …and we are proud to have been built on it!