I moved to North Carolina a year ago and I am (once again!) starting over in a new place.
Throughout the years, I’ve made home studios WORK. I was planning for having kids and it made the most sense. But all along, I’ve always dreamed of having my very own space.
Here was my crazy-if-I-could-have-everything-wish list: a historic building, in a thriving and charming downtown, high ceilings, lots of light, lots of great architecture in the neighborhood to do outdoor shots, and if it could possibly be big enough I wanted to have a vintage store.
Recently, someone who believes in me, said that I would do well with a store front. At first I dismissed it out of hand.
I have a perfectly good studio on the farm where I live. But he has an incredible business-sense and his finger on the pulse of the local market. He kept telling me I could grow. I started to listen and ask questions.
For giggles I looked for spaces online. The entire time I told myself I was insane and that this was a ludicrous idea.
Then… I found THIS.
Built in 1919 as a bank, this historic building has been restored. In the heart of the downtown of Mebane, it’s surrounded by charming shops and eateries.
I’ve fallen in love with my town. The more I meet people who live here, the more I visit local businesses, the more I fall in love.
I spent a few days going over all the possible scenarios. I got counsel from photographer friends from around the world. I went to my friends and family.
Now here’s the part of the dream process that we don’t often talk about. Fear. I shared my fears and concerns. Some well-meaning people thought I would be smarter to be too afraid to try. And they ALMOST convinced me.
But my very smart supporter set me straight. He reminded me that I’ve proven myself in this business before. All businesses have to evolve over time. This is the perfect time to create the next evolution of my career.
As I thought of the risks I’ve taken over the years and the amazing things/people/places that resulted, I realized that I could totally rock this. If I show up every day and work my tail off, I’ll see results. I’m pretty good at working my tail off when I’m lit by an inspired fire.
So I’m choosing to push past the fear. I told myself that I was allowed to be afraid until the moment I signed for it.
After that, there was no room for fear. Only action.
And since then I’ve packed so much into the hours of the days, I know I’m on the right path. I feel the same joy of discovering how work turns into results as those blissful first few years of learning photography.
To my supporter and everyone who has said they believe in me, thank you so much. I couldn’t have taken the plunge without your support and encouragement. It’s not that I needed permission to do this. It’s that with the last few years I’d lost sight of my strengths. Thank you for reminding me.
And to the well-meaning cautioners: I can’t wait to prove myself. AGAIN.
In keeping with the evolution, I’m tweaking my brand. I’ll elaborate more on that in an upcoming blog. There are lots of details to be worked out. I’d love to find a complimentary business to share the beautiful space with. I’ll blog along the way.
Let me introduce you to my very first retail space.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, ImanWoods[dot]com.
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