One of my favorite projects recently was an article that I wrote for Southern Living Magazine.
It was about Winnsboro — a “Main Street” town 2 hours east of Dallas, nestled in the autumn trails of East Texas. My Mother grew up there and her parents before her. I grew up visiting during the summer, roaming the hilly pastures, talking to cows and exploring old cemeteries. But in the past decade, wealthy urbanites began to flock to this small Texas town and have brought some worldly culture with them.
Main Street is now a blend of old town and new world, with a trendy coffee shop, wine bar, brick-oven pizzeria, pub, day spa — and even a shop that sells clothing and gourmet foods from South Africa. And so, the article was meant to be a “coming of age” story of the urban cowboy town as we met the people and places of Main Street.
Due to space restraints, etc, a lot of the content had to be trimmed to the most essential — and some of the storytelling of personalities and pasts were left on the editing chopping block (as is very common in any publication.) However, the process of getting to know these store owners was inspiring to me. It was about more than opening a business — or making money — it was about pouring passions into a piece of real estate that was really, a piece of their hearts.
Because the truth is, owning your own business ain’t easy — but it’s the American dream.
My husband and I own our own communications company — and, really, it’s like our fourth baby. It takes attention, nurturing, sacrifice — and oh how proud we are when it meets another milestone. And so it is with the entrepreneurs on Etsy. What might be a hobby is also a dream — “What if,” many store owners think, “this is all I have to do the rest of my life. Make things I love. And make people happy.”
And so: this Etsy Besties 2012 contest is not just a showcase of stuff — but of stories.
As much as I wish I could offer the winning store owners a feature on the front of Martha Stewart Magazine (What do you say, Martha?) or a gamillion dollars, I can’t. But I would like to tell their stories. (Which may be a bigger prize for us than for them!)
Friday we’ll learn the winners. And then, we’ll learn their stories.
And speaking of America: exercise your right to vote!