A scary post, I just posted on the Gather instagram account but one I felt compelled to write:
“Alright yaâ€™ll, Iâ€™m just going to throw out some real talk right now and issues that I grapple with as a shop owner and business trying to grow. I love, love, love indie businesses and makers. I care a lot about cultivating a culture and community that supports them. At the end of the day Gather is one too. Iâ€™ve invested a lot of time, money and all of my self into the space. I know it may look like a success on the outside, and always sunshine and roses (and to me it is so fulfilling) but straight up, I am still not making a profit. I donâ€™t have a reserve of cash that I started with and I donâ€™t have a donor just handing me cash. Who does? ;) Instead, I am hustling like nobodyâ€™s business to make this little business grow and continue to me a presence in the community and online. And it IS growing. Each year the space has doubled in sales and isnâ€™t stopping, but sometimes the hustle weighs on me, the overhead is a lot and frankly I could make more just focusing on my photography and my own product designs. But I feel called to do this. I LOVE Gather. All Iâ€™m saying is, just because I donâ€™t always list the makers each time I show a product here, please donâ€™t think I donâ€™t care about being transparent and making those indie makers a success too. Of course I want to, but in order to keep Gather afloat I have to also provide a level of curation and uniqueness that makes you all (and others) want to make the effort to drive to my shop, purchase something in my online store, follow along with our story, otherwise this story wonâ€™t exist any longer. Hopefully you all see the value and care and time I put behind the #gatherncmakers series and the classes that we offer and of course the goods and the space. Hopefully the space is much more than just â€œwho makes this product?â€ and that you see the intentionality and heart behind what Gather is doing. Whew, long post, but there you have it. No one ever said I donâ€™t wear my heart on my sleeve. ;)”
And an addendum to that post: hopefully too the questions create an inner dialogue more along the lines of “How are they making our community more vibrant?” and “What can we do to support the businesses that support them too?” and “what sort of effort is this business putting forth to create a beautiful presentation for these makers and their goods and what might that be worth?” Retail is a tough industry and in order for shops like mine to stay afloat, that distinction is vital.