The Rabbit Hole
People always ask “How did you get the idea to open Plume?”
What you’re about to read is the random chain of events, to the best of my memory, that took place in the Spring & Summer of that year. I affectionately call this the Rabbit Hole. And when I emerged, Plume opened it’s doors on November 1.
By Spring 2013 I had been staying home with my three babies for five years. Chance & Luci were just one year away from starting kindergarten and Anni was almost old enough to start pre-school. I started thinking about what my life was going to look like when all three kids were in school. Would I go back to work full-time? I was pretty certain I would not re-enter corporate America unless finances absolutely required me to do so. I still wanted to be available for my kids as they needed me for school activities and in the summer months but more and more I felt the urge to have something of my own…more than a hobby and more than a job.
I started crafting again that year and putting more energy into finishing the decorating of my own home which I had always loved doing (we had moved in 2 weeks before Anni was born in 2011 and not much decorating got done in those first 2 years we lived there). Looking back that was the year I just remember all of my creative energy rushing back into my body with a vengeance.
Anni turned 2 and I did all the crafts for her Party.
I started paper-crafting more. Making cards, trying to finish scrapbooks. My mom and I made some baby burp cloths to give as gifts. My mom had also helped me make drapes and pillows for our house. I have always been obsessed with fabrics and pretty papers.
Pre-kiddos I had a very small side gig called “Frills” where I did home staging for realtors and homeowners who were trying to sell their houses and decorating for friends and a few other clients. I began contemplating reviving that business as well and took on a couple of small decorating jobs. I wouldn’t call myself an expert in any one thing. I have zero technical training in design. I haven’t mastered sewing or painting or floral design and I still don’t really know the correct height to hang your light fixture over your dining room table…but I can get by in most of those things.
I started thinking about making pillows and setting up a little shop in one of the antique malls. I felt more and more certain that whatever professional endeavor I pursued would better feed my creative passions than my previous career had. I (naively) thought perhaps having my own business would be “flexible” and something I could do while still being a stay at home mom for the most part.
At this time Jeremy and I were also making some big decisions about where we would live long term. Would we stay in Columbia or would he begin applying for promotions that would take us to another state? We decided as a family that Columbia was home for us even though we have no family here. This is the city we wanted to raise our kids in even if that meant he may have to remain in a job with little opportunity for advancement or that he could eventually even lose his job altogether. We chose to have faith that no matter what happened, ultimately we were in God’s hands and we’d be ok.
What happened next, looking back, is probably one of the single most important things that led to the eventual birth of Plume.
I joined a Facebook group that was centered around moms who were crafting and selling their handmade creations to other moms on Facebook and I started purchasing a few things. I sold a couple cards here and there. But honestly, every time I bought or sold something…It.was.so.awkward. I hated it. Most of the time I liked what I bought…but I hated the whole Walmart parking lot “meet-up” exchange. Walking up to someone’s door I had never met with cash in hand. The whole thing. What if I didn’t like the item in person when I saw it? How do I pay for it? You mean I have to go to the ATM Machine for cash? I have to meet you at exactly 12:37 PM CST down by the corner by the old oak tree and you’re driving the purple jeep? I would get so anxious. I had this little thought that went through my head each time.
“Why isn’t there just a place where all these mom’s can take their stuff and sell it?
People always say, want to start a business? Solve a problem. Well to me, that whole ordeal was a problem. I had to believe it was a problem for a bunch of other people too, whether they were the buyer or the seller. But it wasn’t until June 28th, that year, when I discovered Patty’s Place that the idea of how to solve it started brewing.
I’ll share more about that next time.