Stash Home: A Proud Farewell...
I started writing this post a little less than a month ago to show how extremely proud I was of the merchandising work that I’d completed at the newly remodeled Oxford location of Stash Home. So proud that I drove my friend and favorite photographer, Kim Thomas, down to Oxford myself and paid her to photograph it for me. THAT proud!
For what’s probably ten million reasons (none I can think of at the moment), I never got around to finishing the post. But, now I know why. The universe decided that this couldn’t be just any random blog post. The evidence of some of my proudest work that I’ve ever done for this brand, had to be the vehicle for my message farewell. Yes, today, August 9, 2019, is my final day as the merchandising manager/senior environmental designer for Stash Home.
Two weeks short of my five year anniversary, I’m leaving Stash to invest in myself and Nubi Interiors. I’ve managed to excel and grow in both for my entire time with the company, but there was a major shift in both worlds about 18 months ago.
Thanks to Arts Memphis’s 2018 Art by Design, Nubi Interiors was strapped on a rocket ship and skyrocketed beyond my imagination. It was a great way to be seen by the city of Memphis and word of mouth spread. Soon, I had more clients than I could even say ‘yes’ to. For the first time in my 7 years, I had a waiting list.
During this same time, my position with Stash grew. I had gone from the Accessory Category Manager to the manager of all Merchandising. An honor, but one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I love every minute of learning the ins and outs of the furniture industry and retail. Learning how to study your ideal customer, think of what they want before they do and offering it up to them in the most visually appealing way at a price they want to pay. But that was only part of it. I then had to take all of that and then translate it to a format that was not only easily understood, but also exciting to our store design and sales teams! They had to be the execution and mouth-piece of my work and if they weren’t on board, all of my work was for nothing.
But the more I perfected my merchandising role, the less I was able to do the things that fueled me and gave me purpose. I loved my relationship with the product and being able to visually tell the story. Putting my hands on the product and physically placing it myself was my greatest joy. But my role was in the office and my relationship with the product was long distance. I wasn’t able to fuel that fire and that ultimately took a toll on the passion for my job.
But, fast forward to two months ago (a maybe even a little bit before then), I found myself back in the stores and hands on with the product. Rearranging the layouts, changing the flow of the product, creating exciting shopping moments for customers and totally redoing the Oxford store. It was back-breaking work, but my heart was so full.
But, three weeks ago, I think I subconsciously came to the realization that those moments would be few and far between. I have a team to do the things I loved to do and going in and doing those things meant 1. not utilizing my team properly and 2. not being effective at my merchandising role. I was torn in between the place I was and wanted to be and there weren’t a lot of roads that led to a compromise that I would’ve been happy with. So, ultimately, the combination of the growth of Nubi Interiors with the hard place I found myself in at Stash led to my decision to bid them farewell.
I leave behind an amazing team, an incredible mentor of a boss and an incredible corporate company with a core foundation of love. The experiences I was given and lessons I learned as an employee and a leader are priceless and immeasurable. I take them and a wealth of retail and merchandising knowledge with me.
Yesterday was the re-grand opening of the Oxford store. A fresh start and new begining for them is the closing of a really good chapter in the book on my life. It’s a bitter sweet, but proud farewell.