2016 has been a year of change for Rose Red & Lavender. We closed our retail location, moved twice and opened another retail location. We have shed a chrysalis.
I started my business in 2008 after the birth of my daughter, Lavender.
Prior to that I designed and built window displays, museum exhibits and provided printed collateral for special events. My clients included Chanel, Disney, The Smithsonian, Cole Haan, The NFL and Deutsche Bank.
My single life was fun. I traveled all over the world, worked hard and played hard. Every project was different and each presented its own challenges. I learned all about different manufacturing techniques and was known for working with clients that were very, shall we say, particular. As an account manager you have to know how to construct something based on a napkin sketch and what resources to tap for a project, it’s all about the details. You have to be an engineer, project manager, designer, psychologist and sales-person all rolled into one. I knew that people just wanted to be heard and not judged. Listening is the most important part of design.
Listening is the most important part of design
After the birth of our daughter, I knew that I needed to make a change. I painted a wall in our living room with wide stripes of chalkboard paint. My husband and I wrote all the things that we were good at, things we wanted in our lives; what was important to us. We used adjectives describe what we wanted for our family. Things like, nature, beauty and growing were on the list.
I stared at it for about 6 months and one day, I realized that in my quickly gentrifying neighborhood in Williamsburg, there was not a flower shop to service the area and its new demographic.
I wrote a business plan, looked around for locations and found one that had an outdoor space and separate unit that I could sublet until my business could grow into supporting the entire space.
Thus Rose Red & Lavender was born. A quirky little garden/flower shop on a lonely stretch of Metropolitan Avenue. Lavender’s first birthday was celebrated there. I used an old clawfoot bathtub that we had intended on converting to a work sink as her play pen. As the business grew, she, and later her brother William grew.
We serviced our community by providing floral arrangements and flowers for events and weddings, herb and vegetable plants, gardening supplies, fresh cut flowers, garden design and build, taught classes and sold houseplants. We tried all sorts of things. Urban farming, beekeeping, guerilla gardens, canning, composting, growing our own flowers. It was a great way for me to be close to my young children, and be surrounded more complicated and every year I felt like I wasn’t getting ahead as much as I should have been.
Every year our business grew, and became more complicated.
I loved watching people fall in love, get married and have children of their own. These events were all celebrated with flowers.
I cried when flowers were used to say goodbye to those who left us too soon and hoped that they would help comfort the families in some way.
I took pride in hosting school children and sharing my love of plants with them and teaching them about where their food comes from.
I was honored to have our work featured in magazines and industry blogs.
Our building was sold to a new owner and I found out that our lease wouldn’t be renewed. He wanted to tear it down to build condos. More condos in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Can’t say I blame him, as a business person, I would have done the same thing.
This left me with a big decision to make for Rose Red & Lavender. The shop was ok, but I was feeling constrained by the business and that I wasn’t reaching the potential that I could. I worked very hard and never seemed to have a lot to show for my effort. It took four years for me to be able to take a week off for a vacation. I was tired, worn out and frustrated. Not a sustainable lifestyle. A lateral move was not the best decision.
Again the exercise; what am I good at, what do I love, and what do I want what do I see when I close my eyes.
We decided to focus on what we do best and what I love most and what I see when I close my eyes. Events and Weddings.
I was offered a space in Industry City, and I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of a thriving, creative community, have enough space to do our production and creations, resources to make fabricate that we need, and more than enough space to grow our business.
Closing shop was bitter-sweet. I was glad to get rid of a lot of clutter and make the room in my life to reinvent and simplify. I will miss the connection that I had with our old community and look forward to growing with our new one. Lavender will be nine years old this month, and like my beautiful daughter, Rose Red & Lavender has changed and grown and is more and different than I could have ever imagined.
I have never been a follower. In school, I was the girl who always wore what no one else was wearing, and when people tried to copy me, I would wear create something new. My influences ranged from historic costumes to obscure art films. I read my parent’s college textbooks for fun. I chose my major, Chemistry, because I was told by an 8th grade math teacher that girls naturally weren’t as good at math. For fun, I designed clothes for club kids, was a white water raft guide, played musical instruments, learned new languages and gardened like a mad woman.
Life is a journey, an opportunity to explore and create and to love.
I got married, had two children, opened a business and changed careers in about a two year time span. After that, I was just holding on and trying to navigate my quickly changed world and stay alive. I lost my sense of who I am, who I had become.
In 2016 I gave myself permission to be myself again. By closing shop, I was able to regroup and re-discover.
People say that if you are yourself you will attract others like you.
This is an open call to those who don’t feel comfortable with the status quo. Those who seek inspiration from within and who don’t feel the need to do things because others are doing it.
Say no to slogans and trends. Turn your back on Pinterest and create from within. I am calling people who want to live life and look beyond the superficial. People who are happy being themselves and appreciate the innate beauty of life and living things.
That being said. I am super excited about the future of Rose Red & Lavender and all the wonderful things that we will design and do. Let your freak flag fly.
This is the beginning of our series of exploration, excitement and beauty.
I hope to hear from you soon.