Saturday, September 22, 2012

Things, They Be a-Changin' - Part 2

I left you yesterday with the cliffhanger of Big Changes Are Coming...dun dun duuuuuun! Any guesses as to what those changes are? I'll give you a hint...I've ordered new business cards with an address on them :)


I am now the official owner of J. Paris Designs - Redesigned Home Furnishings and Accessories. My store will open some time in mid November, just in time for the holidays.


How did I come to this point? Well you remember I said I had a bad day at work one day? Seriously, that's all it took. Of course, I hadn't been happy for awhile. I would sit at work all day and just think about all the stuff I would rather be doing. I'm sure most people think like that at their 9-5, but mine was deeper than that. I really felt like I had a talent that was marketable. I felt like it was being squandered as a "hobby" rather than a "profession". I needed to do something with it, if for nothing more than my own sanity.


This is where my amazing and supportive husband comes in to play. As soon as the words "Let's really think about you doing J. Paris Designs full time" were uttered, that was all I needed. From that point on, I was setting my sights on a new business venture - being a true entrepreneur.


We crunched the numbers and tried to figure out if we could make it on one salary, assuming the worst - that J. Paris Designs wouldn't make a dime for 6 months. Would we be able to make it? The answer was yes, but lots of lifestyle changes needed to be made. It's a comfortable life that we've made for ourselves, and all of that would need to change.


I went through severe highs and severe lows those first few preliminary weeks. Some days I would think "Hell yes, I can do this!" Other days I would think "What if no one buys anything? What if I fail? What if..............?" I couldn't get over the fact that I was upending our entire life for a dream I was dreaming on a wish and a prayer. Quite honestly, I had no idea if this was going to work. I didn't (and still don't) have a business plan, I didn't have a projected budget, I was just flying by the seat of my pants. The good thing is, no one around here is doing what I'm doing - at least not with a store front. I used that as a comforting thought. I always received such great feedback from my readers about the things I had created, I felt confident that others would feel the same. I can't count the amount of times I've heard "Where do you come up with this stuff?" or "I wish I had that kind of imagination". Those kinds of comments are what fueled the fire of me thinking that others would appreciate the talent that I have. I say that as humbly as possible because I'm still trying to gain confidence in my work as an artist and designer.


There were days when I was ready to scrap the whole idea and just look for another job that would be a change of pace for me. But Dan's ever constant support and confidence in me is truly what kept me from throwing in the towel. "Every piece you do gets better and better" he would say. When he would brag about me to friends and family, he made my heart swell with confidence. He believed in me, and therefore I had to believe in myself. We are a team and we are in this together.


I knew I wanted a storefront close to home, so we searched in the surrounding retail areas for "For Rent" signs. Most of the numbers I called were for places waaaaay out of our price range. I got discouraged, and of course started being Negative Nancy, assuming we would never be able to afford anything! One day, a sign caught my eye in front of a shabby looking brick building about four blocks from our house. It wasn't in a prime retail development or strip plaza, but it was close. I called on it and met the man a few days later. The place was in our price range, the landlord was incredibly nice, it was super close to home, it. was. small. Small, small. Like, big enough for a table and a few chairs small. When he showed us the inside, I was devastated. In my head, in just a few short days from the time I saw the sign, I had already moved my stuff in. We thanked him and started to leave when he mentioned the spot next door. It wasn't technically for rent, but I asked if we could just see it. The moment we walked in the door, I knew this was it. Dan, not so much. He couldn't see what I could see. The place had been vacant of a business for over ten years. It had been used as the man's storage area and was packed FULL of stuff. It needed a lot of work. But I didn't care, I wanted it.


From that point forward, I've gone full speed ahead. I finally had the green light to obtain and stash as much furniture as possible so as to have an inventory. It didn't take long for me to fill the garage then move into the basement, back porch, office, and spare bedroom. My sickness finally had an excuse to run rampant!! I began scouring the internet and magazines for project ideas and inspiration. During the day, my head would be reeling from the ideas running through it. At night I would work until it was dark outside in the garage. Every spare moment has been dedicated to getting everything ready. I lost sleep - and fully expect to lose much more in the coming months - due to tossing and turning and worrying and stressing. I've really been a mess. But I'm making it work.


When I told my dad (who used to own his own plumbing business) he said "Jess, I did it with a wife and two kids! All you can do is give it a go. What's the worst that can happen? You have to go out and get another job?" That really gave me confidence. He was right. I still had my degree no matter what. I could always find something else if this didn't work out.


Until now, only our parents and siblings new about the plan. I was very cautious who I told and what I told them. This wasn't something I wanted to blurt out to the world when I was still worried that it was just a fabrication in my head! But it is real....real scary. It is by far the most exhilarating/frustrating/terrifying/exciting thing I have ever done. I'm going to be my own boss :)


I don't know where this will go, I don't know how long it will survive, I don't even know if I'm doing it right. But making mistakes means I'm doing SOMETHING and that is all I can ask. My mantra has been "Your dream job doesn't exist, you have to create it" and I've repeated that to myself time and time again. I'm creating it, just like I create everything else.


Besides, if I don't do it now, when will I do it?


So thank you to everyone for reading this blog and commenting on my projects and supporting me in any way. This is a HUGE adventure I'm starting and I truly appreciate everything you've done to help me on my way :)  And if you have any free advice, I would be more than willing to hear it!!     NOTE: I'm no computer tech by any means, but I'm attempting to create my own website in the next few weeks.  That being said, I'm not sure how well the transition will be from Blogger to Wordpress.  I won't be writing any new posts until the switch, but be sure to follow along on Facebook/jparisdesigns!!  


  1. I am so excited for you! I know you will do great. Courtney M.

  2. Go Jess go! Can't wait to see pix of YOUR shop!

    1. Thank you for all of your help and great advice, Molly!!

  3. Hi Jess!

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    Glipho Limited
    14 Suite 3 D
    Docklands Business Centre
    10-16 Tiller Road
    London E14 8PX



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