Hi there, I am Abbe’, owner of The Cottage Collective. Chances are if you shop at The Cottage we have met. I am the one who paints the furniture, answers your emails, and spends many late nights making The Cottage the beautiful, warm and welcoming place that it is. It has become a home away from home. Even my children spend many days there.
Because I value you as one of our dear customers, I wanted to let you know about some changes coming soon to The Cottage. Exciting things are happening. Things I wouldn’t have pictured in my wildest dreams. But that also means things are going to be a bit different for our little store, and I would like to share with you the very personal story behind the upcoming transitions.
You see, The Cottage is much more than a store. It has become a way of life, and a huge blessing to me and those who participate in it. Because of connections from The Cottage, two of my dearest friends just moved to India to partner with the line JOYN. (which many of you know from the store) and serve children there. Talk about an incredible thing to be a part of!
And even beyond that, The Cottage has been the launching place for many small, home-based businesses, giving artisans a way to get their start. It has been a place of community, friendship and fellowship. This store has seen mother-daughter shopping trips, new mamas outfitting their nurseries, family reunions, prayers with customers, God-moments and blessings galore.
And all of it is precious and wonderful… but it is also a tremendous amount of work.
A few months ago I was offered a teaching role with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. I was beyond humbled and thrilled at the opportunity to join with a product I love and that has changed the course of my painting career. You can read about that here on Miss Mustard Seed’s Blog.
Within a few short months, my role with the paint company was growing. Homestead House, the manufacturer of the Milk Paint, is a small, family-owned and operated business that has sky rocketed within the last year. My relationship with them began as a MMSMP retailer and then organically grew into a consultant and product ambassador. I was asked to become the Primary Educator for MMSMP and now have the opportunity to create work and tutorials for Homestead House as well. To say it is my dream job is an understatement.
For the last 2 months, I have juggled keeping the store stocked with painted furniture (you may not know it, but about 30 hours of painting goes on before we open on Thursdays), ensuring the store was staffed, managing vendor relations, doing all the tasks my MMSMP role required, and managing all the behind-the-scenes duties that go into running a small business.
As you can imagine, this pace was overwhelming. As a mom of three young children I quickly lost control of my home, my schedule and my sanity. The store began to run my life versus me running my store. I am human and simply couldn’t do it all.
My supportive husband and I crunched numbers to determine what it would take to keep both the store and my new role with MMSMP going at the rate they were. The amount of furniture I would need to paint in order to pay for someone to take over running the store front was unfathomable. So we had to make a choice.
I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to partner with the Milk Paint company. But my heart didn’t want to loose the store, and my family needed me present (and I wanted to be).
So after much prayer, lots of conversations, and many sleepless nights, we have decided that I can ease the pressure on me and my family, continue to paint and sell furniture, and still team with the paint company through holding a once-a-month shopping event.
The Cottage will absolutely live on, just in a different capacity. I have a beautiful painting studio in the charming city of Kechi, Kansas, and my retail space will be moving next door to that. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to paint and sell in one location! It will marry my two loves and also allow me to be home and more available to my children, who are the ones I long to serve the most.
I mean, look at them, can you blame me?
I know many of you will be sad that The Cottage won’t be where it was, and available every weekend. And believe me, no one is sadder than I am. I love that place! This was truly one of the hardest decisions of my adult life.
But, we hope you see this as the opportunity to save your pennies, grab your girlfriends and head on out to Kechi once a month for the sale of your dreams: painted furniture, vintage and reproduction home decor, and lots of handmade goodies. It will be worth the wait, I promise!
I never expected such incredible opportunities to come to me when they did. I feel so thankful to be a part of the handmade and vintage community, and even more fortunate to have had the BEST vendors in Kansas selling their wares in my little shop. The support from our customers has meant the world to us, and we ask that you keep that amazing support going as we change things up a bit. If you would like to keep up with me and what I am working on, follow my blog at www.alldolledupwichita.com to see the pieces in process!
Change is hard. But change is also good. And I believe nothing but GOOD is coming.
From the bottom of this dreamer’s heart,
Here are a list of current vendors, please LIKE their facebook pages to keep up with them during the move!