I’ve been having a hard time quantifying my experience with Kindred. I have so much to say about it that it’s going to take multiple posts for me to get it all out. It was, perhaps, a once in a lifetime opportunity where I was able to turn a long planned, thoughtful, business idea into a tangible, living and breathing thing. I gave it 100% of myself but I did get burned despite that and so did a lot of others. I was excited about having a space that would serve our community and the entrepreneur/maker artisans here in North Carolina well without me having to operate it. It was not a whim of an idea that I was tossing into the wind and seeing where it would take me but something I had envisioned for a long, long time. To see it be shut down faster than it took to build it, is really sad. To know that it could have been a success if I had done it on my own is strange too. Hindsight is 20/20.
I was going to open up the same type of space four years ago: a co-op boutique for North Carolina entrepreneur artisans & makers in downtown Raleigh that would foster them through business workshops and retail space. That shop would be called indieNC like the blog and online shop that I ran with the same mission. I was in deep negotiations with the landlord when I had an epiphany and realized that to open the space would mean more than I was interested in taking on. See this post talking in more detail about it. Needless to say, I walked away and put the vision for that space peacefully to rest knowing it was the right choice for me at the time, but also aware deep down that it would be a loss to the community. That downtown Raleigh and its artisans would benefit from a space like that even if it wasn’t me bringing it about.
Fast forward to about eight months ago, when after a trying time of feeling discouraged by some people in my life I said a prayer pleading for God to show me in no uncertain terms that I was on the right path – for him to open the doors for me instead of me feeling like I was forcing myself through them. I wanted reassurance and clarity that focusing on my creative self and pursuing my business was what I was supposed to be doing rather than something I did out of ego. I had never once questioned it before, but I was feeling so much unrelenting resistance that I was really starting to question what was right and what was wrong. If others perceived me a certain way, then didn’t that mean that I might actually be that way? Shouldn’t I temper the things I was doing so that they would be less offensive to others? I feel strongly that God gives each of us gifts and talents and he wants us to use them and to glorify him through them. My personal philosophy is to be your most authentic self, to put yourself out there even if it is hard (I’m very, very introverted – this is a difficult thing for me but I do it anyway), and to not tear down walls but instead focus on building them up – but my walls felt like they were being razed and it really shook me.
At that same time, I had come to the realization that I wanted to have a studio/shop space just for my own goods. A space, perhaps shared with others, where I could work out of and be open occasionally and on my own schedule. Why I was questioning this as selfish who knows – see above – but I was. So I said my prayer. Let’s just say that I had no doubts that it was answered. The next day, I had a very serendipitous meeting with the men who I would end up helping to bring about Kindred. Though I originally signed on with them to invest in my studio space concept for artisans, it morphed dramatically in the following weeks. Instead of the studio space I somehow become Creative Director of the space they had just leased to become a fashion incubator/retail shop in the storefront where I was originally going to open up my indieNC shop.
I still don’t know what the answered prayer fully means or why it all happened the way it did, and frankly, it is depressing. No doubt it will take years to figure out, or maybe it will never get answered in a way I comprehend. I do now feel confident however, despite the obvious failure, that I am on the right path. That regardless of who tries to stifle my voice I am going to keep on keepin’ on.
Tomorrow I will post Pt. 2 – I have oh so much more to say … and I just need to get it out there.