17 December 2012

day 4: serendipity

when i first met stacey we were interviewing for teaching positions at a start up classical school in a small town outside of nashville. i will never forget that first meeting. she had a rascally way about her that resonated with me. imagine my delight when i learned that not only had i been offered the job, but she would be teaching next door. 

that first year teaching in a charming cottage outfitted with only one bathroom for the entire school{which was only 4 classes, but still!}called on our creativity and flexibility in ways that have since served me well. after that first year, and a very challenging realization that little kids weren't her thing, stacey moved on to teach middle school. i stayed with the littles until i was about to have a little of my own.

stacey had her first child one month before me. then we had our second in tandem. life with two babes each did not deter us from starting a little joint entrepreneurial venture we affectionately named serendipity: fortunate findings by chance
plying our vendors with sugar circa 2002

like our first year teaching, we launched our arts and wares show out of the charming cottage of stacey's aunt. and like that first year teaching, we had to muster all the flexibility and creativity we could manage on a few hours of sleep. 

our little show meant we juried vendors from near and far who sold their one-of-a-kind finds at what became an anticipated gathering of cottage based businesses. and boy did we have fun. did i mention we were both nursing newborns with 2 year olds on our knee? the lack of sleep delirium is probably what led us to make such unsound decisions that turned out to be our own little serendipitous move. had we thought rationally, fear would have stopped us cold.

eventually our arts and wares show grew from just a christmas show to a christmas and mother's day show. and we quickly outgrew the cottage, turning to a renovated industrial warehouse as the site for our show. from renting space heaters, to finding live music, commissioning banners and signage, to compiling mailing lists for postcards, and writing vendor contracts-we were working with social media before there was such a thing as social media. and it was exciting.

eventually stacey and her family of 5{we had our 3rd babes within weeks of one another}moved to chicago. we hung up our venture capitalist aprons. we had no choice but to lay low-there's something about having 3 children who are 4 and under that makes you move a bit slower. 

a year later stacey was back from chicago, with a new baby. i was pregnant with my fourth. she and i dreamed of a time when we could revive our entrepreneurial endeavor. and then we made a move-to maryland. my family moved northward.

this time every year i think back to those two girls, young mothers who craved community and permission to be creative. of course we could never have done any of it without the commitment of our marvelous Misters {literally-we had a lot of babies between us in a short amount of time}. that remains one of best times in my life. 

stacey is still going strong with her business down-to-the wire. she called recently to tell me about this year's yield. her christmas wreaths adorn many a door. she now has those little tykes of hers working alongside tying bows on mailboxes. and she has a team of stay-at-home moms helping decorate the homes of some of the same women who shopped our shows all those years ago. many of our cottage based vendors went on to start successful companies. we like to think that serendipity was their debutant: an introduction to society. a fortunate finding by chance indeed. and from all this, she dubbed me girl friday. and it stuck.


No comments: