One of the vendors at the store today, Albert from Lomolicious (you really need to check out his amazing tops - ideally in the store if you can and ideally before the end of July because he is moving out...sadly), mentioned that he loved reading my blog because it really showed the story of Giving Gifts. The joy and frustration, tears and excitement and all the good times and even some bad, are told in blog posts. I loved hearing that someone enjoyed reading it and realized that I should be writing more. Blogging is interesting because you never really know if someone is reading what you write, but perhaps someone out there is reading it, and perhaps someone out there is inspired by what you have to say, and perhaps someone out there is truly moved by what you have to say, or perhaps not... there is no real way of telling.
I enjoy writing, so I really should spend more time doing it. I also enjoy great quotes. I am often inspired by them, but there is one quote that has truly moved me. I'd love to have this quote by Wilferd Petterson painted along the blank white wall on the outside of the building by one of the amazing artists I've met at the store - Karen from HART Project or Julia from Epi Emporium or Leah from Leah Schell Illustrations or by Jonathan and Whea-hey-ukt-chuk from Spirit World Art. We've had a problem with graffiti and tagging on the building, so a beautiful quote to inspire people to dream would be a lovely addition to the neighbourhood.
The store, Giving Gifts & Company, isn't as busy as I would like it to be. I always say it could be 5 times as busy as it is, and it is true. It is hard to keep most vendors for more than a couple of months when they aren't doing as well as we all would like. It is hard to schedule people to work in the store when they are all busy with other jobs that actually pay them for their work. It is very hard to coordinate so many people with all different personalities and commitments. And the worst part is that there is a never ending list of things I should be doing to organize the store, clean the store, bring customers to the store, keep the vendor happy, etc... I keep saying it is no wonder there aren't cooperative stores on every block, and it is definitely true!
But I'm "walking with the dreamers, the believers and the courageous" and I believe that this little cooperative store that I started is something truly special. For the vendors, it has given many of them their first chance at retail. None of the vendors have been part of a store in the past and for many of them this is their first time even selling their art. Most of them are so thrilled for this experience and most of them do well enough in the store to stay for a little while. But more important then the vendors, are our amazing customers. We have heard such inspirational words about our store. A customer came in a couple of days ago and she said that Giving Gifts & Company is her "favourite store in ALL of Vancouver!" She definitely emphasized the ALL! Today, we had two customers that have been in the store at least 3 times for gifts. It is so lovely to see that we are developing regular customers who are so thrilled to shop with us. And best of all, the electronics store down the street told another store that we have completely changed the block and it is a more vibrant and fun. The store directly beside us, was so inspired by our store's transformation that they repainted their entire building to match ours.
The ugliest building on Main St is definitely no longer ugly! The building sat empty for years and now is filled with some of the nicest art and handmade items I've ever seen. It is made up of a community of hardworking people that are taking a risk and trying something new in retail. It is filled with fun and excitement and creativity and is truly an inspiring store to spend time in. I believe with all my heart that Giving Gifts & Company will be successful one day and I am truly grateful to everyone that has helped me reach my dream little-by-little along the way.
Giving Gifts & Company was meant to be a store that is always changing. Where vendors stay for a short while before moving onto something else to make way for new vendors to join the space. Today, Kandis from Kandis Ivy Designs moved out to make room for Jonathan and Whea-hey-ukt-chuk from Spirit World Art. (I wish they had a website so you (all the yous that are reading this :) could see their absolutely stunningly gorgeous handpainted drums. Some of the drums take them almost a year to complete.) But it is still sad every time a vendor says they are leaving. I will be really sad to see Albert and Helen and Lomolicious move to another space at the end of the month, but it is closer to their home and I'm one of the lucky ones that got an amazing top from a really talented designer. (Each of my girls has one too!) Get yours before the end of July! I also got a fabulous Kandis Ivy Dress and tank and can't wait for her to return in September with a brand new winter line.
I am definitely a shopper and people love making fun of me for it! I am known as the biggest supporter of the store, but how can I not shop at our store? I filled it with all my favourite things and I know the stories and have met the people that made them and even though the items themselves are beautiful, knowing the story behind each items makes them even more meaningful. (Sounds a little like Giving Gifts, eh!)
I am a dreamer, a believer and I am courageous and hopeful that Giving Gifts & Company is going to leave this world better (even a little better) than when I found it.
Here is a current list of vendors in the store for July 2013:
Inner Fire Creations
Clare's Collectibles (one of the original vendors since the Pop-Up in February)
Little Moso (another original vendor)
Green with Envy
Spirit World Creations
Made by Lex
Upscale Swag on Main
Photography by Juris