WLW ORIGINS (PART THREE)
It was so exciting to see the space take shape. To watch the big open square turn into the shop, circle room, hospitality area, and my office. Once the walls were in, the finishes went in quickly and every time I stopped by, it was different.
We chose the Roman Clay product by Portola Paints (in Patagonia) for the walls. It’s a hand-applied finish that gives such a beautiful texture which really made the walls a feature. It was an expensive choice but gives the space depth and simple beauty.
The wall finishing took weeks but when it was done, the shelving, circle room carpet, drapery (by Everhem), and lighting was all installed so quickly.
As we were getting closer to the end of the project, Robin checked in to let me know it was time to start planning the launch parties. I’d known her for many years, first for her exceptional event planning and hospitality skills and then as a participant in my groups (she was in the same WLW Group as Marisela, our contractor). Robin has planned and organized personal events I’ve hosted and attended; I love and trust her and knew she would make sure we celebrated the opening of The Well Lived Woman right.
It was strange and stressful to be planning the opening parties while the space was still very much a construction zone. We planned anyways though, setting the date for late June when Sarah would be in town, and hosted one party for our ladies and another for families a couple days later.
Somewhere in the process of construction, Sarah asked me if we were up for being on an episode of her upcoming show on Magnolia Network, Inspired Interiors. I was happy to be included and I agreed to have the design and construction process filmed.
I was busy ordering all the products for retail, not knowing if it was too much or not enough. Boxes were piling up at my house. It was overwhelming and fun. We sent out invites for the party and planned the details of it.
In the days before the opening and parties, we enlisted the help of so many talented ladies. Once the place was finished and clean (not until 2 days before the party — eeek!), we unpacked everything I’d ordered for the shop and merchandised it, put up the signage and lighting, brought in furniture, coordinated small tasks with the handyman. Asia was there with her best friend Jill (who is now our Retail Manager),along with Lynell (our Full Moon Circle facilitator), Robin, Kathleen from Robin’s team, Dionne (a local artist and enthusiastic WLW supporter). It was all hands on deck and so fun. The feeling of relief, awe, and anticipation made those days really special. We were all excited and proud of the fact that what we were building came together and it felt good to be part of a team effort.
People began to ask me what we were going to offer there, what hours we’d be open, who was going to work there, whether it would be me, etc! I was so consumed with all the opening details, I had no brain-space left to plan beyond the opening day and parties. I just told people that I didn’t know yet and we’d all have to wait to find out! Robin did point out that WLW would need someone to organize our events and community and offered to do it. It was an immediate YES for me. Robin is so crucial to The Well Lived Woman, making it organized, dependable, and inviting; it’s wild that having her on board wasn’t always the plan. Once she presented the idea, I was relieved and excited to have her talent, skill, and measured energy be a continued part of WLW.
We opened. The parties were beautiful and fun and thoughtful. Robin shared her amazing idea of having a strings trio to play pop songs and it was such goodness. Justin Bieber’s Peaches on violin? What is this good life? It was wild to see what I had imagined become real. I’d gotten to make my vision a reality! And it happened in 4 months time with some of the people I admire and enjoy the most. I loved being on the receiving end of the support of all the people who came to celebrate the opening.
The parties were on a Thursday and a Saturday. I fully enjoyed them and ended the weekend exhausted and happy. Monday morning came and I went and opened the shop to spend my first normal day there and figure out what was next! In the next few days, we set hours of operation and figured out an initial retail staff. That Monday was June 27th and I finally felt able to start planning our programming and our first calendar of events FOR JULY — which was in 4 days! I did it though. Asia, Shannan, Robin and I worked quickly to invite the initial round of practitioners to offer their talents at WLW in July and put systems in place to create a new calendar of events each month going forward. We were late in getting July’s events out but by July 5th they were live!
It’s been fun to think about how we got here and the intense and vibrant months of being creative and resourceful. For taking a gamble and seeing it through. I am truly touched and thrilled that The Well Lived Woman exists. That there is a team of ladies that I trust to do what I can’t. That we get to host practitioners and original thinkers in sharing their gifts. That people love being in the space and respond to it with open hearts and enthusiasm.
I look forward to seeing how The Well Lived Woman adventure evolves and hope that it is the beginning of more spaces that women can come to for support in living intentionally.
Jaimi Brooks is a licensed marriage and family therapist, women's group leader, founder of The Well Lived Woman, and creator of the Values Deck.