Topics: VULNERABILITY, GROWTH, BRAVERY, FEAR
It's no secret to many who have tried to shop at Kleur in the last month or so : the shop hasn't been open very much. There are many reasons for this. I'll begin somewhere else.
There is something no doubt liberating about owning your own business that could arguably give a person reason to throw their arms in the air and start Googling routes to visit all the people and places they seldom had time for in career paths past. Two years ago, when Kleur was just beginning to really take shape and getting ready to open it's doors for the first time, leisure was the last thing on my mind. Actually, it was impossible to even imagine being able to relax. The subsequent twenty-four months have been much the same. True to the form of many start-ups, this one's founder found, in fact, very little time for anything except the shop and the mission attached to it.
It is a terribly romantic way to live. You wake up every day, look through various levels of adversity, sitting obediently at the foot of your bed, waiting for you to rise -- all the bills, the criticism, the nagging responsibilities to your family, your friends, the fears and odds working against your favor -- and yet, you challenge yourself to rise to every single moment. You swear up and down that you won't let anything get in your way.
Knocked down more than a few times, the shop proved resilient. Kleur grew it's audience, grew interest, grew inventory, grew a reputation. In August of last year, the shop switched shells and moved down the street - to a bigger castle, a bigger potential. Instead of lightly attended occasional creative workshops in a tiny space, the calendar began to boast a more diverse program, that was usually fully attended. By November, Kleur was regularly offering talks, discussions, debates, panels, music and dance performances, play readings (okay, okay - yes, sure, the old space had performances and readings, too) -- here was a place to stretch wings. Here was a place that people started to -- finally -- call (a sort-of) home. Back when it was a mere idea, I'd dreamt of the shop being a sort of clubhouse for idea-sharing, a low-pressure arena to try new things, and to maybe fail. I couldn't believe, by mid-March, when I'd realized It had happened. It started. By that point, I was getting emails every day from makers and product lines who wanted to be in the shop. My inbox was flooded with folks who wanted to lead a workshop or lead a talk or presentation. There had been three successful artist residencies, with more on the horizon. We were proud to say that we'd hosted over 100 events in the space. Like, holy shit. That's crazy.
There was an enjoyment - a truly deep one -- of Kleur's successful growth. But then, it grew silent. And then things sort of just halted. Why?