So where were we? Oh yes, now I remember. :) (Missed Part 1 of our story? You can catch up here!)
Things don't always work out the way we expect. In the end, after spending two months in out of state training, Wes's job in medical device sales did not turn out as we thought and it just was not right for him or our family. It was tempting to question what God was doing during this time... it had seemed so clear that he had handed Wes this job and now it all felt so confusing and scary. If he left this job, what was he going to do? But, looking back, I see that the job was the real catalyst that helped me take that leap of faith forward in JSS, and I'm so grateful for that.
Fortunately Wes was able to find a new position at his old hospital and I continued full speed ahead with JSS. However, his income wasn't what it would have been in medical device sales, so the pressure to make things work at JSS grew a bit. It wasn't long before I had hired my sister-in-law to help me paint signs one day a week, and not too long after that that I hired her sister to join us. My father-in-law was framing all of our signs for us, which meant weekly trips 40 minutes to his house and back to drop off the newly painted signs and pick up the freshly framed ones. I made countless trips to Lowe's while my middle daughter was at preschool, with our baby in tow. We were working out of our dining room, and at any given time when you walked into our home, signs were lining all available wall space. After adding my 4th friend/family member to come help me, it started to become evident that we needed more space before our home truly looked like a straight up sign factory.
(Our dining room being overtaken by signs)
My happy place...
Excitedly I began looking for spaces around town that were for rent. The first place I had my eye on I was so sure was "the one"... it as a stand alone garage/workshop space that was nicely finished. I had it all envisioned in my head. It would have our sign above the door, and we would hold periodic pop up markets outside.
(The first place I had my sights set on)
My dad convinced me to check out one other place though... some space inside of an old popcorn plant in our town. My first reaction to the space was "absolutely not." Though the rent was incredibly affordable, the space felt dingy to me. I just wasn't seeing it.
(Views of option #2... not exactly what I had envisioned...)
However, as He does, God opened my eyes and heart to the possibilities of that space and made it pretty clear that it was the best fit. A good friend of mine actually co-rented the space for that first year. We did our best to fix up the front office into a little shop- I had our signs for sale in it, and she sold other home decor and gift items. At first we only opened up the shop area for occasional pop up markets, but over time we increased to Saturday hours every weekend.
(We named our shop Market at the Mill... some awnings and a window box started to pull things together!)
On the backside of the shop you could then walk out into the warehouse area, and this is where we set up our workshop.
(Views of what our shop/workshop looked like after we got all settled in... we've taken over even more of the space in the building since then!)
Since we handpaint our signs, we didn't require a lot of fancy equipment for that aspect, but we were lacking one major thing: a wood shop. We were having to drive our painted signs all over town to various guys we had found who would frame our signs for us.... not the most ideal set up. However, as He has done every. single. time, God worked that out eventually too. There was a small sectioned off shop at the other end of our warehouse that had been used as a birdseed/birdfeeder shop. The shop was closing and our landlord agreed to let us add on a roof to that thing, and boom... we now had our very own wood shop right in the same building as our painting workshop! If there is one thing that this business has taught me, it's to trust. Plain and simple, present your requests to God and he is so faithful to come through. Not always in the way I expect, but always for the best. This workshop space that we have been provided has truly morphed into the space of my dreams. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty perfect to me. The women I work with within it have not only helped me organize it, make it prettier, and figure out the best way to set it up for workflow, but the life, laughter, and connection that happens within the walls of that workshop as we work together truly makes it my happy place.
(A photo of our whole team taken during our Christmas 2017 shopping day)
Now, the only thing missing at JSS was Wes. Owning a business was a joint dream of ours, and at the rate we were growing, I really needed his help. But, could we make that financial jump??
To be continued...
Read Part 3 here!