In April of 2003, I was featured in a newspaper article in our local paper in an article about scrapbooking. As a result of that article, I received a phone call from the owner of a small rubber stamp and paper arts store called Apropos.
Kathy, the owner, wondered if I would be interested in teaching classes for her. She was wanting to expand her business to include scrapbooking supplies, and needed someone who knew the industry and could teach from a scrapbooker's perspective.
Two days before that phone call, I had been talking to my mother on the phone and told her I thought maybe I'd go into a cute little store called Apropos and talk to the owner about maybe teaching for her.
The rest, as they say, is history.
For five and a half years, I've had the privilege of working for and with Kathy - not only teaching classes, but helping to choose product, make samples, and help gazillions of customers with their paper projects.
It's been a dream of a job. I tell people all the time, if I were to sit down and write out the job description for the perfect job for me - it would be my job at Apropos.
Not only have I had the luxury of complete flexibility in when I work, what I teach, and when I teach it, I've had the honor of getting to know the most interesting and wonderful group of ladies who attend my classes. Kathy has truly provided a wonderful gathering spot for women to indulge their creative urges and stretch their creative wings. We've worked late into the night together, creating little works of art and sharing our stories.
I love these women. And I love the opportunity to inspire and challenge them.
And honestly - I've loved my working relationship with Kathy. We have a rapport and a compatibility after all these years that gave us the ability to look at product together and order great stuff without wasting time wading through all the junk that's out there. We had a similar eye for product, but when we found ourselves differing in our opinion of something, we had the ability to disagree without offending. She valued my opinion and gave me a voice, and I hope I provided a valuable service in my effort to help her pick and choose from the myriad of options in this crazy industry.
We've travelled together, sat through classes together, moved the store together, planned 17 quarterly class schedules together, taught together, shared recipes, resolved conflict, walked through the death of her parents and the birth of her granddaughter, shopped for shoes together, divulged secrets to each other and rolled our eyes together at some of our craziest customers. It's been a great 5 1/2 years.
Tonight, Kathy announced to her customers that she is closing the store. I've known for about a month - and have had time to adjust to the news - but still, it's truly the end of one of the best seasons of my life.
At Apropos, I've been pushed to use product I never would have tried.
I've learned new techniques because I had to teach them.
I've learned the skill of up selling.
I've grown in patience as I've had to help very difficult to please or indecisive customers.
I've been complimented week after week after week on my creativity.
I've gotten lots and lots of freebies and manufacturer's goodies.
I got my gig blogging at Memory Box through Apropos.
I've made lots and lots of money doing exactly what I love most - inspiring others and creating stuff.
I've made lifelong friendships with some amazing women.
It's been so much more than a job.
It's been a community.
And an outlet for my creativity.
And the proverbial 'place where everybody knows my name.'
And so now it will end.
We'll be open for about six more weeks. I will teach my last class May 5th.
Can you even believe it?
And so it goes...
And so it goes.