Friday, May 29, 2015

chasing a dream- opening a gallery part 2

There are so many things that inspire me: a colorful sunset, a trip to the museum, a great book, learning a new technique - but one of my biggest inspirations comes from hearing other people's stories. Stories of chasing after dreams, trying something new and pursuing a passion project are the things that really get my heart racing! I've got some new content coming to the blog in months ahead, and something I am really excited about is a new series where I will be sharing the stories of creative entrepreneurs chasing after their dreams. 

Today I am sharing the progress of my friend's Sara and Staci's passion project- a gallery for makers in Astoria, Oregon. When we last left them, they were deep in process of cleaning, painting and renovating the space. Their next step was working on display units, filling the store with handmade goodies and styling the space. I've been checking up on them throughout the process and today they are sharing what they have been up to.

Tell us what you guys have done to the space since we last talked

SARA: Once we got everything cleaned up and painted it was time to build display units and decorate the space. The space has such great natural light so we really wanted to keep the everything bright, open and airy.

We painted the wall behind the counter with a light grey chalkboard paint. This statement wall is a fun feature and a great way to change things up, get creative and add a handmade touch to the decor.

STACI: We added open shelving to an entire a wall- another statement feature in the space. We felt like this would be a great solution for displaying smaller collections as well as a great way to draw the customer's eye up.
We also repurposed two old radiators that were broken and had been pulled out of the space. We thought they would make a really unique base for our countertop. This was a great way to recycle something that would have otherwise been thrown out and also saved us money when creating the counter. It has become a really cool conversation piece for the shop!

SARA: It was a really big priority to stick to our budget as much as possible when it came to decor and display. Since we have a lot of really talented friends and family, we were able to build everything ourselves. Most of the tables and display items are made from plywood, repurposed scraps and fence wood. Everything else we thrifted and painted and/or reupholstered. 
STACI: Once we had all of our display and decor set, we began bringing in art and craft. We spent the last few months reaching out to local and regional artists whose work we thought would be a good fit. For the last month, artists and makers have been dropping off their handmade goods and we have been filling up the shop! 

Part of this process has involved getting really organized with a good system to record and track inventory. It has been time involved but totally worth it because it will keep us organized in the long term.

Can you share some lessons learned at this stage?

SARA: Once again, staying creative and conservative with our budget has really kept us on track. We've tried to make things and do it ourselves before spending money on something. The result has been a very creative space full of hand crafted features.

STACI: It has really helped to have a good inventory program. We are using Square for inventory management and it has made things simple and easy to stay organized with all of the products that we are bring in.

SARA: Networking both online and within the community has played a big part in our development and preparation to open. We've found that word of mouth spreads fast and has brought new artists, customers and creative support our way! 

Thanks again ladies for a peek into your project! I look forward to seeing how things grow and change over time!

Maiden Astoria is also online! You can check out their website at

You can also follow them over on Instragram at maidenastoria

For those who are in the area, stop by Maiden Astoria's grand opening party on June 13th from 5-8pm! Andy and I will be there to celebrate along with a talented group of Oregon artists.


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