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you asked

By 6/23/2010

how is it having a store?


it's wonderful. i am doing WHAT I WANT TO DO. that's pretty remarkable. i have no crazy boss screaming at me and having unprovoked mood swings. i don't have to ask anyone if i need to leave early. i don't have to go on wild goose chases, i'm allowed to tell people if they are being unreasonable, i pick who i want to as co-workers, i determine what i think is fair and i am proud of what i'm offering.

i work hard. everyday. i keep working when i get home at night. since what i 'do' is also my biggest hobby now, it never ends. after spending the day looking at fabrics and blogs for inspiration and helping clients and ordering things for the store and painting furniture, i come home and look at magazines and walk around our neighborhood at night time peering in people's windows from the street for inspiration. i search for interesting vintage furniture, i clip out merchandise i want for the store, i meet with design clients at night, i go over numbers again and again to make sure i can pay my taxes and take pictures of what we're eating for dinner so i have something to talk to yal about. and then i paint furniture again.

i don't make much money. i'd like to one day. the key is diversifying. retail alone will NOT do it. it's about the store. and the decorating. and the custom furniture. and painting furniture for customers. and the blog. and advertisers. and e-decorating. and selling fabric. and having an online store. and one day, a scent, a china pattern and a line of dog beds.

if i had kids, i don't see how i could do this. i also could not do it without a few really important people who i count on each and every day: keila the intern who makes it all happen and buys me kimonos, david the painter/cobbler/lamp maker who thinks he's hamish bowles, my mom who always shows up with a new mirror, my accountant, deanna who brings me lunch and unloads furniture, lauren brings me coffee and funny stories, caroline helps me remember to stay classy, and rowdy who at the very least gets me outside every few hours - but at the very most is dog perfection. and brian meares, who comes in the store every now and then and says, 'wow, furbish is real'.

it's a risk. every day you have to keep taking them. will people buy this? should i order more? try something different? is this too expensive? is this too cheap? should i paint these chairs blue and cover them in crazy fabric? will people buy them or tell me it's awful? it's not vegas. you can't cash out when you're up. you have to spend money to make money, and that's scary.

and then when you make it, you have to pay 37% of it to the gov't. so one day the bank acct is all dolla dolla bill$ and the next day, nada.

i get lots of emails from people wanting advice, and for me to share my story. i'm not ignoring you - i just don't physically have the brain power or time to answer every email.

i get excited when something sells, or i get a new client, or finish a project i'm proud of, but then you have to go right back to making it all happen.

it's a jump. a leap of a faith. every day.
boing boing.
but it's worth it.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I've wanted to call and ask you many of the questions you've answered here, but in the back of my mind, I know you're working hard and didn't want to interrupt! Your followers are all rooting you on and love to see Furbish succeed and grow :)

  2. Great post, jamie. I'm so happy I get to sit back and watch you grow as a person and a brand! Don't forget about me when you're big time.

  3. my husband + i will celebrate the 2 year anniversary of our store (http://www.thegreenlifeco.com) next month.

    it's our baby, our life, our everything. i know how hard it can be. pure sacrifice in the start.

    i love what you do. best of luck as you grow!

  4. Thanks for posting this. I hope you will go more into detail sometime soon and I think you are brilliant!

  5. You are so talented and inspiring! Jamie, thank you for doing what you do!

  6. Ditto that sister. I feel your pain/ecstasy and I don't even have the retail gig, just the decorating. Way to keep on keeping on.

  7. you are so inspiring!

    i have emailed you and you did graciously respond to my questions however silly they may seem.

    that aside, what you are doing is wonderful, it is gorgeous, it takes guts and heart that most of us can't muster up.

    i wish i were closer so that i could visit the store, but just know that there are tons of us who admire you from a far!

  8. Great post!
    Ditto to what everyone else saud!
    and nice aussie reference lol
    sal x
    (aussie blooger!)

  9. thanks for sharing, jamie - you're an inspiration :-)

  10. I loved this post! It is my dream to open a store one day and you have really inspired me...even more with what you said today.

    And don't worry about the negative comments! I was a big supporter of those chairs on DS. Even though there were a few negatives, there were even more positives!!

  11. whoa! I don't come here to cry Jamie! Quit it! Seriously though- lovely lovely post.

  12. so inspiring to know that you are doing what you love! how many people can truly say that?!

  13. Such a great post. And very inspiring.

  14. Thanks for the post. It made me tired just reading it.

  15. YOU ARE MY HERO, JAMIE! Great post and sending my love and support to you and Furbish.

  16. Last time I was in Furbish I smiled the whole way home thinking about how thrilling this journey has been and how lucky we are to have witnessed its progression on this blog.

    I didn't think people talked like that in comments on DS. It made my stomach turn.

    Seriously, Jamie, you have exquisite taste and super powers to boot!

  17. Great post! I can totally relate - even when you're so busy, you have to make sure that it will still be that way next month. Business will never fully sustain itself, it's always a labor of love. :)

  18. I redesign furniture in the Baltimore area, and for the past 6 months have been contemplating and researching opening my own store. When I found your blog, I spent hours reading every post like a novel. What you've accomplished is truly inspiring. I am now at the point where opening a store is right over the horizon, but it still feels like a daunting journey. I was literally hours away from writing you to ask a million questions on how to get from the dream stage to the reality stage. Thanks so much for sharing and please give us more when you have a chance. I'm thinking you have your next money maker...write a book about how to do what you did? Seriously, I have so many questions!

  19. Congrats on taking the jump...very inspiring! Tracey xx

  20. Love your honesty. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you have a great, busy, day :)

  21. opening Furbish had to be a huge leap and you took it and thats awesome. From dream to reality-I hope to do that one day too.

  22. I love your blog and love your balls. I think you put yourself out there and that alone is a life worth living. Reading about your struggles and the truth of the ups and downs is an inspiration and a relief. Isn't it a dream to be working 24/7, not because you have to but because you want to?
    As far as other people's opinions on what you do, you take the criticism and decide for yourself if it's valid. Not every opinion counts...Hitler said "Anybody who paints and sees a sky green and pastures blue ought to be sterilized." F U, Hitler. You do your thing. I've heard well known and successful shop owners complain that in order to sell anything upholstered, they have to have it done in plain linen. Such is the life of those in retail. You take chances. I like it. And I like that Roberta Roller Rabbit; it might be the thing to make me drive to Raleigh and meet you in person.

  23. A N Y O N E who is putting their superpowers into play is a fucking superstar!!! that means YOU meares.
    when i have my own show you and rowdy will be guest number 1. (and a half)

  24. I like that you tell it like it is! I hope to make it in soon to peruse some pillows!

  25. Jamie, you are doing a fantastic job and I love coming in to your store and seeing all your new finds every time. Please keep up all your hard work, the community and designers need shops like yours! Elizabeth Goodwin

  26. Thank you for baring your soul to us for a moment...your blog is one of my favorites, I've printed out almost every piece of furniture you've painted for inspiration, you're high-larious, I'm pissed I don't live close enough to stalk your store...everything you're doing is perfect. Your taste and talent are spot-on...trust it and yourself! xoxoxo, cassie

  27. Thank you so much for this post! I agree with everyone on here that you are an inspiration!

    And just to add my two cents, because I can and it's what I do, I LOVED your chairs on D*S...don't listen to the haters...

  28. thanks for taking the time to write this post. your store is a gem and your story is of daily inspiration.

  29. let that entrepreneurship rock on! as a fellow female small bus. owner, I say kuddos! well said..

  30. I admire you and the risk that you took with opening Furbish. You've got impeccable taste and challenge the way I approach design. Thank you for sharing your challenges with readers.

  31. I'm so happy that everything is working out for you with the new store, I've been a follower of your blog for quite some time. This post particularly hits home with me as I'm starting to get to that point in my life where I'm disatisfied with the "rat race" but not sure if I'm ready to put myself out there and go in a new direction. This definitely sways me to do so though. I look forward to hearing more great things about the trials and tribulations of the business =), and of course Rowdy stories are a must.

  32. You SO hit that nail on the head!!! Thanks for reminding me of it all. Hope to visit your store one day and if you're ever in Dayton, swing by ours.

  33. Thanks for keeping it real, and letting us in on the ups and downs of your otherwise-apparently-totally-glamorous design entrepreneur life. I've been stopping by for awhile and love your blog, but for some reason just today it clicked that you're in Raleigh . . . where my husband has to fly periodically for work. Next time he goes I am getting a companion ticket so I can come check out your fab store.

  34. Thanks so much for this. It really takes guts doing your own thing but I agree, im exhausted at the end of the day but totally wake up in love with my life.
    PS, Royal Apothic should totally do a Furbish scent!! :-)

  35. Had a store for many years and had to quit by the time the second baby came into play (could not begin to afford the Store Baby plus 2 actual babies). This post hit the nail on the head. And your words about retail alone not getting the job done ring true. The idea of a shop consisting of just hanging your shingle then waiting for folks to come in and drop money in exchange for your fabulously merchandised inventory is pretty much just that - an idea. And one far removed from reality. You have to have the work ethic of a farmer, which you quite obviously do. Not to mention the need for design talent and ability to diversify, both of which you clearly have in abundance. Thanks for sharing this post. We are cheering you on.

  36. go jamie go! you are one of my heroes, too, thank you for sharing all that goes into what you are doing.

    i too have to say that i was stunned & sad at the negativity of some of those d*s commenters...everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if they don't have something nice to say, they should just hush.

    obviously, so many people LOVE what you are doing! keep following your fabulous instincts. you are making things beautiful.

    all the best. xox

  37. Fantastico! Honestly, you are the most up-front, honest, straight-talking, funny, shoot from the hip, gutsy lady. I love what you do and you deserve all the success that comes your way. First in line for the range of dog beds please!

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