Wednesday, January 2

A New Year

In fall of 2009, Jonathan gifted me with an iPhone. I didn’t want it at first, as I was very proud of my $50 phone that had served me well for almost two years. I never imagined the iPhone could be a source of inspiration, but within a matter of days, I had bookmarked at least 20 lifestyle blogs. By the next month, that list had grown, and I had started a blog of my own. 

At the time, the blog was a way to share my thoughts and photographs with family and friends, but it also served as a creative outlet. Jonathan and I had a new house, a cottage built in 1950 that we purchased the previous spring, and we were slowly making it our home. We painted, and I posted pictures on the blog. We began bringing vintage finds home that I photographed for the blog.  We traveled to our favorite places (California, England, Italy, Mississippi), and I posted our trip photographs on the blog. Jonathan and I cooked together, and I shared recipes on the blog. The blog became a way to document my young married life, but it also allowed me (and Jonathan) to develop our passions.

At the same time, I had a job I loved as the communications and events coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. Not to sound cheesy, but it was a dream job – every day I took photos, wrote stories, planned events and designed graphics for a non-profit that helped so many people. I worked with staff and volunteers who liked me and respected my ideas. The only downside to my job was that it wasn’t 9 to 5. There were many busy nights and weekends, and I couldn't stop thinking about work. For that reason, I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer during my free time. I had a head filled with ideas, but I didn’t have the heart to make my blog bigger and better.

I am fortunate to have the most incredible husband in the world. He knew I loved to write, and he also knew I had a special love for design, one that had grown stronger at Habitat. For my 27th birthday in October 2010, he gave me CS5. I was so excited to be able to design from home, and I began editing photos for the blog in PhotoShop. My passion for design and the blog grew.

The following Christmas, Jonathan took things a step further, when he purchased a laptop as my Christmas/anniversary gift. Now I had a computer and the software to make my dreams a reality. Starting on January 1, I began blogging every day. In July I stopped my daily blogging, but I didn’t stop thinking and dreaming. I really wanted to use my creativity to do something that inspired me.

These thoughts were rolling around in my head when Jonathan and I made preparations for a vacation to California at the end of October. It was our first vacation in more than a year. We stayed by the ocean, hung out with one of my dear friends and mentors from my first job and soaked up tons of inspiration from nature, antique stores, flea markets and a shop in Hermosa Beach called Wicked. We visited Wicked because of the cool window displays, but after walking in and talking to the owner, we learned that the he and his partner were both from the South (Georgia and Florida), and they were graphic designers by trade. They had moved to the West Coast a few years earlier, and they set up their studio in Hermosa. Because the weather was always so amazing, they kept the door open, and people would walk in and ask to buy their (personal) stuff. They took that as a sign, so they became a general store, stocking and selling locally made things they loved.

I knew it wasn’t coincidence that I met the guys from Wicked, but when a friend emailed me that same day with a design project, I realized something special was happening. On our hotel balcony, I drafted a business plan in a moleskin notebook. My business would combine my love for vintage, history and design. It would be called Gerald & Joan, after Jonathan’s grandfather and my grandma. I returned from vacation, and I created a logo and a Facebook page for Gerald & Joan. While I was really focused on party invitations, I was also open to working with crafty businesses that were interested in a vintage-inspired look.

After the page was created, I posted my second blog post since July. I was so excited about my little business and the nine family and friends who liked Gerald & Joan. I had taken that first step, and my dream was now a reality.

Fast forward to January - Jonathan, the always supportive husband, is allowing me to pursue this dream full-time. While the business is still taking shape, I will focus heavily on vintage-inspired design. I also have plans for vintage-inspired event coordination and an online shoppe that specializes in vintage home goods and ephemera

In the coming weeks, I will launch a website and a separate blog for Gerald & Joan. This blog will continue to serve as my personal blog where we will share photos, recipes and our life story. I hope you'll continue to follow along as I make this long-time dream a reality. It is because of Painted Pink Roses and my family, friends and mentors that I am here today. I am grateful, happy and so excited. 

Here's to a new year and a new chapter!

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