Taking chances, building community, finding inspiration

As you may have read earlier, I am embarking on a new venture with 7 other artists to create a shop in downtown Marshall.  We all know that the cards are stacked against us but we intend to beat the odds.  Each time one of us has second thoughts we get together and suddenly it seems possible again.  We call it “drinking the Kool-aid.”   This week we had a strategic planning session with the help of two fabulous women from the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at Western Carolina University, Meghan Bunnell, and Annice Brown.  They have been a huge help in getting our heads out of the clouds and our feet on the ground.  Since I have been in North Carolina I have been really impressed with the amount of free assistance that there is for small business.  For little or nothing you can learn just about everything you need to know to open your own business or better organize the one you already have.  Flow is a labor of love for all of us.  We are doing it to create an income stream for ourselves but if that were the only reason I’m not sure any of us would do it.  It’s just possible that the greatest benefit that we will get from Flow will be the inspiration that we each get from each other.  Every time we meet the ideas fly and I can’t wait to see the work that is generated a few months down the road.

The other big reason that we are all in this is that we love our community.  Marshall needs this shop and we feel that we can make it work.  Community is such an important factor in being an entrepreneur or an artist, whether it’s moral support or motivation or information, we all need a place to go to get some help once in a while.  It seems that most humans feel a need to be a part of something bigger than themselves, whether that plays out as family or community.  I have been fortunate to land in Marshall, where community is one of the greatest resources.

We are starting small at Flow.  We are only open on Friday 11-7 and Saturday 11-4 but we plan to expand that very soon.  Flow is designed to be more of a shop than a gallery, even though everything in it is handmade and local.  We want everyone to feel comfortable in the shop.  So far it’s working.  It’s an adventure and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

In other breaking news, the governor may pay us a visit next week.  How cool is that?!

Lisa Mandle, Deb Karash, Rob Pulleyn, Becca Floyd, and Emily Reason in Flow

Becca Floyd, Emily Reason, Dan Helgamo, Katie Keyes, Rob Pulleyn, Deb Karash, and Julie Covington in Flow

~ by debkarash on July 21, 2010.

3 Responses to “Taking chances, building community, finding inspiration”

  1. Good for you, Deb! Retail is a killer and is a wonderful thing at the same time. I hope that Flow is success,

    • Thanks, Lisa. I was in retail for years and swore I would never do it again. Somehow, doing it with 7 other fabulous women in our lovely little small town makes it so much more inviting. It sucks up a lot of time right now but once we have all of our legal and procedural stuff lined up it should be a little better. Right now I’m just juggling things as best I can.

  2. Ya’ll are on the right path! I especially love the idea of all the talented folks that are having input into this venture. I have to say I’m just a little jealous, sounds like the ideas and love are Flow-ing!! I’ll make sure to stop in the next time I’m in your neck of the woods.

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