OK so I'm not actually-logically-100% sure if I'm ready for this next move, but intuitively I am SO READY.
This week, I put down a deposit on a storefront rental space! It's just about the cutest thing – 550 square feet of SPACE that will be MINE! Those of you who know me or who have been following this blog since the San Francisco days will know that owning a retail space has been a dream of mine for quite some time.
Maybe I'm getting into the weeds here but I think it's important to set the stage: I remember sitting at Cafe Meuse in Nob Hill with a glass of Cab and a journal. I reflected on what I wanted as a next step in life (at the time, I was partner of a design studio that had recently gotten up and running). That day, I wrote down my dreams, no matter how wild, and somehow, being a part of that design studio was no longer in the equation.
That day, I decided to do what I wanted with my life. How silly, right? But the truth is, I'm one who highly dislikes confrontation and I knew that splitting from the design studio would not go over well (and it didn't). Fast forward a few weeks, I had forgone my partner role, quit my day job at Google (which I've since returned to remotely, lol) and moved to Chicago. Most of you know I spent 9 months in Chicago recharging, resetting, and most importantly – painting. That's how Ponnopozz came to be, after all!
So, here we are, a year and half since Ponnopozz's inception. I've got this cute little space that I plan to do so much with. Like what, you say? Well, at the minimum, it will be a place to work on both design stuff and new paintings. A studio/office of sorts. In addition, though, I want a retail component. Not just for my own work but for the work of other makers I admire that fit with my colorful, maximalist, Ponnopozz ethos.
I've never had a retail space before so this will be a learning exercise. I'm already feeling overwhelmed with the possibilities for decorating and setup. Seth took me to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for my birthday on Tuesday but afterwards, we hit up IKEA for some early inspo. You guys, I went kinda bonkers, and this was before I even had the deposit cleared. I got a bunch of colorful accessories for the bathroom (lol) since I knew I'd need them and gathered inspo for shelving, desks, tables, etc. It was a trip.
As a matter of fact, this whole process has been a trip. My friend and mentor, Phil Thompson (of Cape Horn Illustration, check him out) tipped me off about this vacant space. He thought it would be perfect for me and based on what I could see through the windows, I agreed. I called but didn't hear anything :( I felt a bit deflated but I guess that's the way of it in a busy city – property managers may or may not call you back. After talking to the neighboring retailer about the landlord (and her confirming that he was good!) I decided to call again. It was the Monday after PenskePozz, I'll never forget it. This time, someone answered.
He asked, are you free to take a look today? Of course I said yes. I felt a very strong, invisible pull to get this space. I hadn't really thought through all the details but I knew it was in the realm of possibility because I have a full time, day job where I can work from home. My salary will enable me to try out this space and see how it works for me. For that, I am grateful.
So where am I going to leave this post? Right here. I wanted to make some sort of announcement because I got so much positive feedback from you on Instagram when I shared a teaser of this next chapter.
Now you know. Stay tuned for what's to come, as I plan to document this journey in several ways: here on the blog and via Instagram stories and posts. This "PonnoPlace" as I'm lovingly calling it, will be taking shape quickly – I get the keys next week.
Save the [tentative, non existant] date for end of October – I'll be having an opening party! Stay tuned and again, thank you for all of your support! 🙏🙏🙏