Have you ever heard the phrase, feelings are a liar? It’s true. You shouldn’t always trust your how you feel. Sure, they give you a clue, but you shouldn’t necessarily use them for making decisions. Case in point…
At the end of 2020, I felt exhausted (didn’t we all?). I felt ready to quit (you too?). Close down my online shops and go find a regular full-time j.o.b. again (because working for someone else’s dream is easier, right?). But I knew, I was simply exhausted. I needed rest. That was all. Just some down time to relax, rest my body, brain and soul and I’d be back to good. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my feelings. Because if I had I would have simply deleted the email that had led me to the opportunity that I’ve been working on for the past almost 5 weeks **Note: I originally wrote this post the second week of February, 2021 and am absolutely tardy in getting it finalized and published.**
February 13, 2021 was the official opening of the Josephine + Mim shop inside the new KalamazooKitty Marketplace in Portage, MI. I, along with 59 other vendors from around southwest Michigan, joined KalamazooKitty owner, Kitty Copeland, as she opened her new 36,000 square-foot space inside the old Stein Mart building in the Shops of Romence Village shopping center. You can read more about KalamazooKitty here and her move to this new location here.
I first met Kitty back in 2016, when she organized and hosted a vintage and maker’s market (called the KalamazooKitty Marketplace) in Kalamazoo and it was my first BIG show after starting J + M (and only my second show ever). She kept my email address on file, so when she was looking for vendors for her new space, I was on the list of potential sub-lessees. I got her email just after Christmas and I almost deleted it, but I didn’t. I slept on it, mentioned it to my husband, prayed over it. And I’m so glad I replied to her. We met with her the first full weekend in January, picked out my spot and quickly transformed into a brand new shopping space.
This project of building my own store in a store has been a dream and a labor of love. Sometimes, things just come together, in a way that defies all logic. “A God job”, as a family acquaintance called things like this. My husband and brother-in-law spent one day building the walls. I purposely chose a space that had slat wall, but painting it was a bear. Per the fire code, we couldn’t use a ton of exposed wood or full walls, no ceiling. It was almost like being on a design show; parameters, deadlines, be unique and original. We had about 5 weeks to pull all of this off. But oh it was so much fun for my creative soul. I got to dig back into the creative cracks and crevices I hadn’t used since college and working in retail. I am on cloud 9.
Having not done any in-person shows last year, being sequestered to my house, I really had to reign in the projects I was able to do. So having this space will allow me to expand my inventory again and being to use my creativity to its fullest. The space isn’t 100% complete, but I’m so excited to see what it’s going to continue to grow into.
If you’re local or traveling to the West Michigan area, I hope you’ll visit. Reserve at least an hour, maybe more. There’s so much to see and I’m so blessed to be a part of this fantastic new marketplace.
Josephine + Mim @
The KalamazooKitty Marketplace
581 Romence Rd.
Portage, MI 49024
Store hours: Tues – Sat 10am – 6pm (EST)