I’ve gotten my snapdragons and sweet pea seeds planted and going in my basement. This Saturday I’ll plant basil, globe amaranths, love in a mist, larkspur and more. For me, March is a time of hope. I’ve made the plans, I’ve invested in all the things I need to see those plans come to life – soil, seeds, trays, lights – I know how many seeds I need to plant because I mapped out my garden, but so much could change between today and planting day, or even after.
one 6x6 Ikea unit held all of our products in Queens
As long as I ran Erin’s Faces out of my home, whether it was our tiny apartment in Queens or our house in New Jersey, people have said “I bet you can’t wait to get it out of your house!” But in fact, I could wait – I didn’t mind the space being taken and I didn’t have the money to pay for rent and insurance.
orders spread out on my dining room table in New Jersey
That changed in 2018 when the business began to take over the entire first floor of our home. And so, after months of looking I found a space to rent and signed a lease starting on January 1 of 2019. To say I was elated is an understatement!
our first location out of my house
Incredibly long and complicated story short, six months in it became untenable and we had to leave. All of my planning and spending didn’t matter – we couldn’t stay. The tin ceilings I had painted, the glass wall and barn door I had put in – we had to leave them all and, on top of that, pay to walk out of our lease early. I didn’t know what to do. I had to find a new location, negotiate a lease, get approved by the town, pack everything and move – all in five days.
My husband said “we can get a storage unit, put all of our furniture from the first floor into it and move Erin’s Faces into the house until you find a new space”. While I appreciated his willingness that sounded terrible to me. But the mountain I had to overcome was so huge he didn’t know how it would be possible to do anything else. It had taken months to find the previous location, weeks to negotiate the lease, weeks to be approved for a Certificate of Occupancy by the town – how could I do it so quickly? Well, on my own I couldn’t, but I got quiet and started doing some heavy listening.
you can see a little of our second space in opening of this video
I was led to call my friend, Deb, who got a landlord to show us a space. The landlord was willing to go down on the rent and do a three month lease, enough time for us to hopefully find a permanent home, and then Deb walked me over to the township office as she knew the folks there. She said “we need to get Erin in by the end of the week.” They all laughed - this had never been done before. I burst into tears and explained we had nowhere else to go and we couldn't stay where we were. Then the South Orange Township office leapt into action – they were incredible. And, another super long story short, Friday of that week we were moving into our new temporary home.
This gave us the time I needed to research a third location which is where we’ve been for the last 2 ½ years – our landlord and his team are ethical and responsive, the building is safe and well-maintained and we’re able to run our company with focus instead of needing to put out fires due to poor management as we did in our first space.
Back to those seeds and watching them grow – I feel like we have to plan, we have to have goals, but sometimes they shift and turn into something even better. Sometimes all of your snapdragons, that you lovingly tended to for months, die. And that packet of cosmo seeds you haphazardly threw into the ground grow up strong and beautiful and you wonder “why wasn’t I excited about these?! Cosmos are amazing!!”
And it can be horribly painful, confusing and alienating in the middle. And sometimes I have a hard time remembering that there IS another side – another view – another perspective – another thing that is equally or even more wonderful than what I planned. So I need to be reminded to hope. Because in hope there’s a belief that good is in control – that we will have everything we need when we need it.
my first garden in NJ in 2017 where all of my snapdragon seedlings died but so many other beautiful flowers lived and grew
So my little seedlings are growing and I’m so looking forward to the garden that they will bring. It may be totally different than what I thought it would be but I know that it will be beautiful.