Setting up Shop: Navigating through The Providence Arcade

My Original Sign Providence Arcade Raw Space This is the Providence Arcade space that will be my store Salvage items for display Painting display case Repurposing and painting Banister legs

I was having lunch (which turned into too many drinks) with a friend a few months ago and he mentioned that the Providence Arcade - the oldest indoor mall in America -  was renovating and accepting small retailers on the bottom floor. He told me the rent and kept refering to it as "free money." I'm not no sure about that, but my jewelry is ready for increased exposure, that's for sure. 

A few years ago, one of my many intuitives (aka psychics) had told me I was going to open a store. She saw it with an all-white interior and on the water.  I told her I would never open a store, but this one sounded like it was in the Mediterranean, so I vaguely kept my mind open.

For some reason, my friend’s suggestion (although not exactly on the Mediterranean) made sense. Plus, all that free money!

By the next week I had a meeting with the Arcade, then a contract, and negotiated my dog’s rightful presence in the space, all without any real thought as to what this might mean. The Arcade isn’t finished and I am not sure when I can even get in to paint the floor. An opening date of June has been bandied about, but May is moving forward and I am pretty sure June comes next.

So, in the meantime... 

I immediately took to Pinterest in a design fury. This is easy for me as I know what I like and it’s how I prefer to spend my time.

Actually, on a recent date a guy asked me the annoying question, “What do you do in your spare time?” I didn’t tell him that I make Pinterest boards, go to salvage yards and collect old shale slates and marble and turn them into displays, gather banister legs, and windows and paint the shit out of everything until my world is uniform.

Instead, I informed him that I like to watch movies. He said, “Do you like to dance?” I said, “no.” I digress.

The design for the store is alive and well in my head. The execution has proven to be a bit of gymnastics, as I have to juggle a general contractor, concrete floor contractor, painter, builder, and industrial design team and organize them with the Arcade, which is access by appointment only.

But even that has been fun since I get to come up with crazy ideas in a state like Rhode Island where there are people creative and talented enough to do things, like, turn my cash wrap into a bistro or make shelving inspired by Lincoln Blocks.  Yup. It’s happening.

But that’s where the fun ends.

I have a secret. I don’t keep track of inventory. Until now I have priced things with a formula someone mentioned (it turns out there is a standard way to price jewelry) in passing, and a strong gut feeling of what something is worth. In all fairness, I had to survive quarantine in China for certain pieces and haggle in developing-world markets for others. They get priced higher.

There are so many moving parts to what I do that I honestly think I have been in denial about the chaos. My world is a flurry of casting, wax making, plating, stone setting, engraving, chain, jump rings, clasps, more chain, graphic design, epoxy, packaging, custom stone cutting in India, stone dealers in Thailand, bead stringing and I need to stop now because I may have an anxiety attack.

Thanks to a team of interns, I am taming the beast. So much so that I have switched over to a Rainman-like obsession of cost of ONE thing, like, ONE jump ring, ONE bead, ONE 18-inch chain. The days of eyeballing are over; I am almost unrecognizable.   Well not really. I just hired someone to make plaster castings that will look like volcanoes with my rings lodged inside.