In 2010 I walked away from my design job. I had spent years designing graphics, products, ads, billboards, you name it. I truly thought it was going to bring me creative freedom, but ultimately, I felt like I was just putting pieces of a puzzle together that someone else designed. Everything was dictated by price points, factory capability, buyers, managers, and everyone else but me. I rushed to meet deadlines, I argued over samples and ultimately one day I just realized, I don't think I like doing this anymore. So I stopped. I was suffering from burnout and didn't even realize it. I felt lost, creating was all I knew to do, but couldn't find that spark. So I started to paint - apartments, not pictures.
I started painting apartments that year, which was a life saver. At the time I was also going through a tremendously painful time in my personal life. I found painting alone in the vacant apartments very soothing. It helped me get my head back on straight. I learned a great deal about myself with every wall I painted. I felt mentally free for the first time in a long time. But, I wasn't being creative. It was at my best friend's urging that I keep creating.
Laura Bay kept urging me not to waste my talents to keep moving forward. She (and all my friends and family) have believed in me more often than I have believed in myself. Laura Bay knew I was struggling with burn out and felt lost, so as per usual, she lifted me up, and became my support system and biggest cheerleader.
Originally, we were going to make yard greenhouses out of old windows. They were beautiful, but next to impossible to move, lol. By this time we had collected about 200 plus windows for this project. So, we opted to set on the side of the road and try to sell them to clear out our garages. At that time we were messing around with fabric making hair bows, that really started to gain interest and sell. It is funny really, looking back at everything.
I actually have a picture of the first time we sat up on the side of the road selling our windows and pretties we were making. This was in October 2010.
After that, we peddled around enough that we got into several stores locally and began wholesaling our pretties.
Late last year, Laura Bay's husband was transferred and they had to leave state. It was a difficult time for me, for us. I felt lost again. Derek and I decided to move closer into town and try to figure out what I was to do next. In February of this year, we opted to move back into our old apartment we had lived in many years ago because the landlord was a dear friend of ours and we trusted him. It was then at his urging that I actually started Bella LuElla back up. By this time I was struggling again with what to do, but continued to paint apartments, and ask for guidance.
I had stopped creating but wanted a space to try and had approached our friend Roger, to let me rent out a space for a small studio so I could try to continue to create. It was then that he asked me, "Why don't you open a shop? You have the skill set to do this, it will be fun. You need to, as Joseph Campbell would tell you, follow your bliss!"
I thought it over and thought, what do I have to loose? It was in March that I began working on the shop. It took me three months to get it in shape and I did a soft opening in June. It has taken me many months to find my way, lots of ups and downs and much learning to be had. I had jokingly been saying all I have been creating are spreadsheets, until recently.
This has been my journey with Bella LuElla thus far and I have a feeling this is just the beginning for me. Where ever this path leads me, I will go in gratitude and in knowing that it is all working out as it should.
And while I am very nervous about the upcoming Bella Affair, I am also excited. I am excited to see my friends who have supported me whole heartedly, been there when I wanted to throw in the towel and urged me, just keep creating, you will find your way.
I hope you find your way to come see Bella LuElla, she has been like a caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly.