This is incredibly difficult to write for me, and it may not be the most coherent post I've ever done because it's a very emotional subject for me right now and I imagine it always will be.
After 11 months of awesomeness, Trace and I have decided to close the doors of Daft Crafts, the brick and mortar shop we opened last July in Independence, MO. It's not like we weren't getting enough foot traffic - in fact, last week we had customers come in that were visiting the International Quilt Market who had heard about our store from all the way in Australia. They were in Kansas City visiting from Australia, and made it a point to come visit Daft Crafts. Astounding, huh?
And our doors aren't closing for a lack of support from the community. Quite the opposite - we have had the most amazing band of artists and customers. The artists volunteered at the shop, filled the shelves with incredible art and handmade wares, taught work shops and made donations of their times as well as art and office supplies. We have regular customers we see weekly at the workshops and who stop in at least once a week to shop. We have worked closely with the local animal shelter to set up a cat fostering program to help them increase the amount of cats being adopted by fostering cats in Daft Crafts, who can be adopted by our wonderful customers! Being such a large part of the community and getting to know all the beautiful people who have been involved at Daft Crafts has been such an honor and touched my heart. I will never forget any of them and hope to keep in touch with everyone that has been a part of Daft Crafts.
So, you are probably wondering why are we closing Daft Crafts then? I still ask myself this as well, and have to keep reminding myself why it is for the best.
During the twelve week breast cancer scare, I lost my grandfather, and a very, very dear person in my life had to begin dialysis. These were devastating blows, as when I learned the news, I was still battling with the fear that I may have breast cancer. It was a very difficult time for me. And I spent more time during that chaotic, depressing period at the shop and lining up promotions and advertising for my artists than I spent with my fiance that I moved half way across the country for and my six year old son. I began to feel like I really needed to re-prioritize my life. I talked to Trace and we have struggled with the decision since the end of February.
Two weeks ago, a few weeks or so after I got my breast cancer screening results (which were all clear, thank God) a very dear friend of mine got not-good results on her mammogram and had to have a lumpectomy, which thankfully showed the tumor to be benign . But I knew then when I heard what my friend was going through, that terrible wait between appointments and tests to get an answer, what our decision would be. I need to make more time in my life for the people who need me, and I need time to cope with things. My life has been in turmoil since February and I need time to heal and collect myself. I need time with my family. It seems so selfish to me since I am taking a valuable resource away from the community, and it hurts so badly but I know that this is the right thing to do for my family, and they are the most important thing to me. ♥
I will miss Daft Crafts and all the amazing people it has brought me in touch with SO much that it literally hurts my heart. I can't think about it without tears rushing to my eyes. These past 11 months being a shop owner have been amazing, and I love everyone it has brought me in contact with. The experience has been phenomenal and I plan to stay active in the artist community. I will continue to promote indie designers and artists via social media, and I hope to revisit being a shop owner in the not-too-distant future. I have already made plans to volunteer at Scrivner's in Leavenworth so that I can stay involved with local artists while helping another shop grow, and I am very excited by this.
I wrote this article for The Examiner, a local paper here. They wanted to showcase me talking about why I wanted to open a shop that sells handmade things, and asked me to write the article for them. So I decided to focus on the economical and environmental impact of buying handmade versus buying from big box stores. I had limited space for the article, so I had to really condense my thoughts on this to make sure it would all fit on the page. I wrote this a few weeks ago and it just hit the streets this Friday, and though it's bittersweet, I wanted to share it all with you now.
The Value of Buying Handmade
Buying handmade doesn't just give you a warm-and-fuzzy feeling of doing something great for your local economy though. It also has it's environmental benefits as well!
When you buy local, and buy handmade, one of a kind items, especially from eco-friendly artists, you don't have the waste of energy and resources that happens in big box stores -Thousands of products are made (where's the individuality in that?), individually wrapped, packed in a larger box, stacked with other boxes, saran wrapped and shipped to distribution factories. They are then divided, extra packaging is discarded, and shipped when needed to big box stores, who then throw away all the extra packaging, and stick them on a shelf waiting for a person to buy it. Real personal shopping experience, right? When you buy from a local artist, they make the product in their home or studio, and then it goes from their hand to yours. Or a local shop's shelf to your hand. Or it's packed and shipped to you if purchased from their online venue. Not even a fraction of the amount of fuel, packaging waste and pollution from factory production occurs when you buy handmade, versus buying from big box stores. Why not make every purchase have a positive impact - on the economy, and the environment?
I am proud to be an owner of an establishment that thinks big with small actions. Every product in Daft Crafts is handmade, or items that have been revitalized to keep them from the landfills - old books turned into sketch books, suitcases turned into art, watch parts turned into jewelry, game pieces turned into kitchen ware. All of our products are unique, and each artist brings a new form of creativity to the mix. Our art education workshops every Wednesday and Saturday help encourage the community to think creatively and try new mediums, and reduce their product consumption and replace it with a means to create for themselves.
♥ We are still exploring options to transfer ownership, but if that doesn't happen June 14th is set to be Daft Crafts last day open. Thank you to everyone for all your support, this has been the greatest journey.