I know that there is a God. I know that I have always loved and cherished my
I know these facts molded me.
My father has referred to me as Gods’ punishment since I was a baby.
I’m sure that did some shaping as well.
I guess all things considered I always liked being me.
I was fun. I was always in the pursuit of happiness.
Life wasn’t perfect but it did feel blessed.
I have wanted my own retail store for over twenty years.
I just knew I’d be great at it.
I kept ideas written down on yellow legal tablets.
I fantasized all of it.
Came close a couple of times over the years but never found the perfect location.
Then inspiration struck!
At the time I’d been selling clothes out of my car for over a decade.
First it was samples from the apparel mart downtown.
One size fits all, literally door to door.
Schools at three o’clock when the buses left, nurses break rooms in hospitals,
every business in a strip mall or office park.
The smaller the towns the better. If it didn’t have a mall or Walmart – jackpot!
I carried a credit card swiper (the long heavy ones that slide over the card and
back again) and I took post-dated checks. I sold outfits I was wearing ( quick
change in the ladies room) and I even sold my own jewelry. I was young, set my
own hours, picked what town or part of Atlanta I wanted to work that day and
stopped when I met my daily goal. Some women during this time were wanting
something dressier, like suits.
I could do that, but how? I had no clue but my brother sold custom clothes to
men, maybe he’d have an idea for me.
He did, he hired me and I went to ” sales school” for three weeks in
Shippensburg,Pennsylvania. I learned to measure, how to identify types of
cloths, how to chalk a suit and how to sell one even better. I loved every minute I
I came back full of energy and started a whole new business side because I was
selling to women only. Women who’d been passed by for years were finally able
to get a haberdasher service at their home or office just like the men have had for
It was awesome. I made lots of suits and lots of money until it wasn’t.
Because this was a mens suit factory they really weren’t set up for ladies styles.
Everything came out looking the same.
Some women couldn’t tell their suits from their husbands’, not cool.
So I quit and found a local designer who made women’s clothes that looked
feminine and fit great. He was awesome, had a quicker turn around time and the
ability to make anything a client or I could dream up. Fantastic!
It also expanded my idea for ” the store” I’d always wanted.
Sell men and women’s custom clothes together. Brilliant!
Now I just needed to convince my brother.
So on an Easter Sunday morning at moms’ house, I proceeded to do just that.
I had design ideas, layout plans, I envisioned a big wooden bar where customers
could hang out, have a drink, buy clothes in a very comfortable Ralph Lauren
meets Park City, Utah sort of way. I even wanted wooden swinging doors to
separate the back of the space. I could see it all, it was beautiful and masculine,
full of clothes we made ourselves. Sold it hard and specific, even brought wood
samples from Home Depot with me and magazine picture of oversized mirrors up
on pedestals I thought looked elegant.
Think of it~ a brother and sister team, unstoppable.
His girls could grow up to take over, my husband would help me on Saturdays
and eventually he’d work there too! It was a great plan.
On Thanksgiving Day of that year at the end of dinner, my brother announced
that he’d like to take us up to see his new store.
We followed in our car. Behind the family with my heart racing and the turkey
I couldn’t breathe.
He had done it. He opened the suit shop with two guys he knew from business.
It had a big wooden bar, I went white.
I can’t remember the drive home, what I did later that night or the next day. I was
But, it was going to be nothing compared to the numbness that was about to