My Woo Woo Office

Jen’s office with rocker, plants and wall calendarI love people. I enjoy looking at their unique features that long to be drawn or painted. It may be an aging hand wrapped in skin so thin that the veins read like a roadmap. Occasionally, I will run across a thick pair of wild and woolly eyebrows like my father’s, which I miss so dearly.

Most of all, I love their stories. I want to hear about their journeys. What brought them to this point in their lives? Did they see it coming? What makes them tick?

Oftentimes I end up inviting visitors up and into my office (which conveniently sits directly above the shop) to continue an amazing conversation that feels like it is the start of something good. You know - the conversations that feel like your paths were meant to cross for some reason undoubtedly written in the stars. When folks first walk into my office, they often comment on how much they like it, as they look around the myriad of plants and my huge wall calendar, an 8’x12’ block of rectangles chalk painted on my wall filled with events, sales, marketing deadlines, etc. I’m a very visual person, so keeping track of several businesses takes more than a Google calendar in my world. The incredibly talented, local artist, Lauren Magda painted the most luscious mural around the wall calendar which just makes it perfection.

I always appreciate their kind words as this office is so special to me. This is my “dream office.” Yes, it is beautiful with tons of south facing natural light and tall ceilings, and wall space for my ever growing art collection. It has equipment I never imagined having and has birthed ideas I couldn’t have seen coming. But…the office…THIS office I saw coming.

I enjoy sharing the story with visitors and always preface it with “this is going to sound pretty woo woo.” I am usually fortunate enough that they are open to hearing my story, and occasionally it is replied to with “I LOVE woo woo!” I carry on.

I had both of my hips replaced in 2019 at the age of 46 (yay genetics!). I had my left hip replaced that spring followed by the right hip in the fall. It was a gorgeous autumn day, and I was just sitting in bed, healing. I had the window open, allowing me to hear the birds and the rustling of dry leaves still clutching to the trees, I wasn’t meditating per se, but I was simply enjoying the sounds and sights of my favorite season. As I sat there, with a whole lot of nothing going through my brain, I was struck with the most vivid image. It wasn’t just an image in my mind, but it was also in my gut. It was of me, sitting at a table with a group of people who I knew were creatives. I only recognized one of them. Amy’s a talented, graphic, designer, and illustrator with whom I had met and worked with on a couple small projects. I immediately texted her, telling her about this. Also, in this image, there were three tall windows behind me overlooking a busy street. I suddenly realized that this was where my business was going to be in five years. At that time, I had my shop called Unicorn Feed & Supply, a safe and whimsical place whose mission was to “spark joy.” I had a very small office in what was once a crowded supply closet which also housed the breaker box and a utility sink. I had successfully brought this beautiful and rather quirky dream of a shop to fruition and my entrepreneur brain just couldn’t quit thinking that they’re another project coming which would embrace my love of all things home, kitchen and garden. There was nothing like it in our town, and I couldn’t even imagine where I would have it, given that commercial properties were being snapped up as soon as they hit the market (if they were even listed before selling). There was a lovely, old storefront two doors down from my Unicorn shop, and the one time I let myself peek through the glass front door, I immediately knew that there was no way I could ever afford it. It was too beautiful. The original wood floors, exposed brick walls and the Tiffany-esque chandeliers adorned with hand-painted dragonflies were beyond anything I could have ever allowed myself to imagine.

I carried on about my business, just letting this percolation of another shop rest on the back burner. One day I was returning from Sherman Williams, and while I was covered in paint and carrying two new gallons, I happened to catch someone coming out of that "too nice for me" building two doors down. At that point, I had owned my Unicorn shop for two years and had never seen anyone come in or out of that building. For whatever reason, I began running across the parking lot towards a dapperly dressed gentleman who was locking the back door. I am sure I appeared to be a mad woman in dirty overalls, but I quickly introduced myself, explaining that I had been curious about that building. He said, "Would you like to see the space?" I quickly dropped the paint off to my shop and returned with cautious optimism (mostly curiosity TBH) of what the space was because I knew there was absolutely no way that space was meant for me. He started by showing me the main floor which I had peeked at through the front door. He showed me the incredible basement with stone walls and brick floor. Lastly, he let me up to the second floor, which is Jen Smiling, resting her head on her handcomprised of a large, carpeted room, and three offices. I curiously walked through this large room, wondering what it had been used for in his previous life. When we reached the three offices, took a quick look into two small offices. The third office had a set of closed French doors which he nonchalantly pulled open. When he did, the amount of light struck me as sun poured through three tall windows overlooking our downtown’s busy street. A smile spread across my face and I turned to him and said “OK, this is gonna sound kind of woo woo.”