So, it’s been about 2 years since Katherine and I seriously started to talk about buying the bra shop. We had both worked there, we both liked being in the industry, we thought it was a viable business and something we could grow. We had clear ideas of who would be responsible for what. How we could figure out the partnership deal-breakers for each of us. What we wanted the business to be. A couple of initial call-outs:
Katherine wanted a Nest to manage the temperature of the shop and a Roomba to vacuum. There was also something about website hosting which I have zero opinion on, so I was grateful she had figured that out...
I wanted all the walls white with built-in storage where the bra wall previously resided. I had very specific ideas about colors and logos...
We both got what we wanted.
Those were some of the little things. Keep in mind, we didn’t know each other well. Didn’t know each other's stories, families, irritations and small joys. Katherine didn’t know that I delight in miniatures. I didn’t know she was an accomplished equestrian. I mean...she really is much more impressive than me. We brought a horticulture degree together with a French degree and have worked like hell over the past two years to keep it going. We had no idea the hurdles the first year would bring, the list is long. Then the second year we got Covid.
Not just Covid. But a pandemic right as Katherine was having her much desired second child. Henry was born on March 18th. On March 15th I told her I was freaked out with bra fitting. Remember, we knew very little about the virus and there were no masks in play. On March 16th the governor of Vermont closed all non-essential business. I could go on a tangent about why what we do is essential, but that isn’t what I am writing about today.
Katherine is a planner, she has lists and spreadsheets and word documents. She did it all. She scheduled all of the instagram posts based on the deliveries we would be receiving for the paltry 2 months she was going to be at home. I won’t say she wasn’t working, that’s not how she rolls. But she wasn’t going to be in the shop, because she was having a major abdominal surgery and bringing a new life into the world. And just being able to have a few months to chill with her new baby was something that she was happy about and I wanted her to have. Covid had other plans. I started to stumble around awkwardly doing live videos on Facebook. She filled out grant applications and extended our credit line. I tried to figure out how to put things on our website, poorly, I might add. Katherine invoiced sales online from home, while she was nursing a newborn and figuring out remote learning for her 4 year old.
We stumbled along, cheering our successes and trying not to freak out about the bad stuff and the stuff we couldn’t predict. See, that’s the thing about Katherine, she’s a rock. She is the duck looking calm on the surface of the water but paddling like hell underneath. I can chat with anyone, I love every single thing that we bring into the shop. I can easily justify the need for an expensive bra or pair of underwear because I really love those things. My business partner is much more sensible, she is more reserved and cautious. While I may go around declaring things before I have thought them through, Katherine sits silently thinking before speaking. She is kind, thoughtful and generous. She is trusting and loyal and compassionate. Oftentimes I see our differences in terms of the generations we come from. I am smack dab in Generation X. I am sarcastic and jaded while her millennial self is earnest and open minded.
This second year in business has been difficult and scary in many ways that aren’t part of the experience we want you to have in our store so we don’t share them. The saving grace of our partnership is having each other to go through this together. Over these two years I have come to appreciate Katherine and our shared vision of having a business that manifests the values we both hold dear; that the seemingly small act of putting a woman in beautiful, quality well-fitting underpinnings and cozy loungewear can be a step for overall wellness. We both hold the idea that small acts of kindness can grow exponentially and we want to be part of that growth.
We welcome 2021 and are looking forward to the future.