Saturday, August 3, 2013

Work in Progress

It has been too long, I need to find time to write about the experience, and take notes, as I so easily forget things.

At first handling all the requirements, permits, licenses,

fictitious name, new accounts, revisions on the website, facebook, twitter and pinterest, new car stickers by real graphic, visiting and getting to know other local businesses, joining meet ups and mixers, as well as getting familiar with what thrift stores, local Facebook groups and Craigslist’s ads have to offer, and keeping up the re-styling or up-cycling of old furnishings, learning new techniques such as free motion and mosaics, and improving the appearance of the workspace, while searching for retail space and parters to share the space with.

Any one of these is time consuming, informative, and for the most part fun and exciting.

The initial plan was to find a nice retail front and share the expenses with one or more partners depending on the size. We discovered that we could not be anywhere in the downtown or any historical city street, such as Colfax Ave, as the “City” has a limit to any “home, house, new or used furniture, interior design stores or showrooms”; go figure.

It was a good experience and met some great people along the way, both locals and other new-comers. But one day Keesha saw an ad in one of the local papers, “this ad sounds as if we wrote it ourselves”, so we called and went for a visit. The space was located in Chicago Park, while driving there I kept saying out loud: “this is too far”, but when we got there I simply fell in love with the restored old barn, and the spunky enthusiastic owner of the space Jeri and her equally talented artisan friend Susan.

And so it was decided, I would place my work here, and give up, at least for the time being the search for partners, whom at this point had also moved away from the initial plan.

Now the focus was marketing at very low cost, Craigslist and Facebook ads, Briarpatch co-op members, Jeri Glover’s and, and getting to know the neighbors, meet-ups such as STN (successful thinkers networks), Wild Women for Business (energetic group), NCO (Nevada County Online),  Nevada County Peeps, APPLE, the dog park community, and even line dancing class group.

And while my head was spinning with all the activity, Keesha had to step aside, at least for some time as she’s preparing to expand her family, wishing her well.

Other than making new friends, I also had a few out of town visitors, very dear old friends from the Bay Area curious to see me and this place I had been boasting about, and taking time to show it all off, the lakes, the Yuba, the trails, as well as my ongoing work.

Meanwhile in Chicago Park, Jeri was pushing herself to try to get the place open by 4th of July weekend, which she came close, but actually happened the following week with  the anticipation of article in the local newspaper Elegant Salvage.
And despite a few setbacks
like getting the signage up (it’s up now) on time, it’s been doing pretty good, as those who do waltz into the space discover something different, exciting and fun, so they come back to check out any new artisans.

I have still to get any new design clients, other than a few free consultations (part of marketing strategy offer), but in all I must say I’m loving it here, it has been a great find, friendly people, I have a garden bed and hanging tomatoes for the first time in my life, and I get to visit with my son who lives in Truckee at least twice a month; so stoked.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

it's a start

following up on my last episode of mynewspainadventure, I had left you all somewhere in the sierras, gold country, Grass Valley, with a vision of starting up a business, a vision that is constantly morphing, depending on whether we turn right or left, and what inspires us.

remember Keesha? during our first encounter visiting the town, she said: “let’s start a green business together” we did, we are, actually you are in the presence of it’s birth. After playing around with names, meanings and translations, we fell back on “alucina” and changed “designs” to “design studio”, it’s a very common slang word used in Spain, literally translates to hallucinate, but has an array of meanings: wow, amazing, believe it, check it out, and so on.

the world is changing and so are we, we are designers, we specialize, we create, we are bringing back old things, the ones that make sense. I bought a brand new sewing machine, with the bad plastic vocs included, just one of many tools to incorporate to our ability to do things, just like the rotating sander, although that one was a refurbished piece.

even before I found a place to move into, I had made a list of furnishings from “craiglist”, in an effort to be as green as possible, I wanted to recycle anything I could and avoid creating more waste, initially I was just looking for my own personal use, but then decided to incorporate that into the business, and I’m not the only one, I have discovered some very talented artisans and at home moms doing the “shabby chic”, which is actually a new word in my vocabulary, Keesha has a better name to differentiate our style: eco chic, which is not new, but it'll do for now.

mostly have been using the non toxic milk paints, which requires sanding, however after my first crib, decided that anything with multiple styles and rails, or decorative carvings will require †o splurge on Annie’s Chalk paint, which is great, but it’s expensive and it’s an import. If someone here on the continent can’t figure out how to make this paint, or perhaps that will be a new venture.

I have been happy to find a few (not many) items “made in the usa” like the kapok pillows, and some organic fabrics, I have also discovered some old sources that have sadly gone out of business, like woodshanti cabinets.

the concept of making organic cotton quilts, was also born from my search for bedding, while there’s enough suppliers of sheets, when I looked at organic wool blankets, or duvets, they are very high and mostly imports. 

one of my favorite discoveries was ellie pooh elephant dung card stock

we are still polishing up our website, so feel free to make comments or suggestions