About three and a half years ago, I decided that I was going to make my lifelong dream of owning a store come true. I was living in Virginia at the time and I shared the idea of moving back to Lexington and opening a store with my friend Sarah who was living in Tennessee. A few days later I get a call from Sarah saying we should open the store together. We would combine both of our dreams to make one incredible store called ReBelle (a name Sarah came up with years before this conversation.)
The first step was for both of us to move back to Lexington. I was already in the process of relocating since a series of events earlier in the summer solidified mine and Philip's decision to get the hell out of Norfolk so I was in Lexington by October of that year. Sarah, on the other hand, still had some babies to deliver in order to finish up her CPM certification so she had to move to Texas for a couple of months and then she arrived in Lexington the following February. During all of this time we were planning like crazy, making lists and budgets for our upcoming business venture. Looking back on some of our original plans we were a bit naive and idealistic. We thought that we could make a large percentage of our merchandise ourselves from recycled materials; I was going to hand dye all of the yarn and Sarah was going to make all of the clothes. We spent the summer vending at every festival we could and in the off weeks we were vending at the Artists' Market. I don't miss loading and unloading all of our stuff and sitting in the hot sun on summer Saturdays, but I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything in the world. Vending festivals and talking to our customers really helped us understand what people want and how they want it.
In the meantime we were doing all of the financial stuff for the business which meant dealing with bankers who didn't believe in us. Luckily, we found a bank in Danville that was super small business friendly and believed in our dream. We signed the loan papers on a Friday and by Saturday we had signed the lease and we were ready to start fixing the place up. If you don't remember, you can find the before pictures here.
We only allowed ourselves a month to fix the place up so we were working on the place every night and every weekend. I would get off my day job and go and sand, patch, and paint until 1-2am. Thanks to a ton of help from family and friends we were able to open on Saturday, September 2, 2006.
It has been an amazing two years and I want to thank everyone who has helped make this happen. I also want to give a special thanks to Sarah here. Without you, none of this would have been possible. When I think of all the times I was starting to feel overwhelmed and you pulled me back to center and kept us going, I feel really fortunate to have such an amazing friend and business partner. I look forward to many more years of working together!!
Enough with the mushy stuff, for those wondering, our birthday sale will be on Saturday, September 6 and it is our biggest sale ever. We will have several items marked down 20, 30, and 40% and if that wasn't enough, if you wish us a "happy birthday" at checkout you get an additional 10% your entire purchase including the sale items!! It's just our little way of saying thank you for a spectacular two years.