Big Decisions...

(image by design love fest)

- You can do anything, but not everything. 

This quote is what I keep telling myself after recently making a really big decision for my brand and my business.

We are closing our retail location.   

There. I said it. It feels as if I am declaring failure, when I know deep down this is a business decision and a smart one at that. But, it still hurts to tell the world that something I did, something I tried, something I dreamed about, didn't work out. As a perfectionist, this is something I struggle with. I don't like criticism and I don't like defeat. One of my goals this year was to share more of myself, my feelings, like I used to do when this blog was new. So, here I am, sharing that I am sad and disappointed in the hopes that if you go through something similar, you will always look at the positive side. 

In Fall of 2014, an opportunity came up to share space with FOUND, the most gorgeous furniture/accessory store you could ever imagine. It was a dream come true, given I had looked into leasing my own large space only to find that everyone wanted a 5 year lease and retail space is expensive where we live. An expensive 5 year lease could have killed my business, so it was never anything I seriously considered. So I jumped at the opportunity to share space with FOUND in their beautiful, high-end lifestyle center surrounded by stores like Banana Republic and Sur La Table. It was a dream come true... I put together my shop inspiration board on Pinterest, filled with white paneled walls, fancy chandeliers and all things pretty. I called my contractor, and within a month we built our retail shop as well as rented additional space and moved our warehouse to the back of the new building. My amazing team put in the hours to make it pretty and get the warehouse setup in a crazy organized manner. All was well. Thankfully, the owners let me do a year lease, since it was really a big test to see how TomKat would do in retail. We expanded our product lines to more gift and stationery, which was pure fun for me to pick out the cutest stuff around! Our online business continued to flourish, and the retail sales were a nice bonus!

As time went on, I felt the pull in so many directions. My time had always been torn between running the online shop and doing my creative projects and photo shoots, but having a retail shop added another layer of stress to an already busy mind. I am terrible at delegating (remember I am a perfectionist) and running a huge team of people frightens me (I want to be creative, not a manager). In Fall of 2015, I was approached with an idea that would take some of the load off of me and you better bet I jumped at it. I believe that when you are doing it all, you aren't doing anything well. I made the decision to partner with the incredible team at Studio Calico to handle our online sales, inventory, warehousing, fulfillment and shipping....and new product development (YAY!) These people know what they are doing. They've got a team of experts in their fields and they've got the logistics down, unlike me who figures it out as she goes. My mom was out of a job (sorry,mom!), but HOORAY! some of the stress and responsibilities were taken off of my plate. In October, we moved our warehouse to Kentucky and started developing new product lines and ideas with our new partner. I can't tell you how exciting that is! More details soon... 

With the larger part of our inventory and sales being handled out of state, the reality of what would fall on the retail store quickly hit me. And even though we had our best month ever in December (hello, Christmas gifts!) when I took a hard look at numbers again, it just isn't enough profit to add more stress to my life. Don't get me wrong, if I were a normal shop owner and actually worked at the shop all week, the numbers would be good! But because my other projects and photo shoots keep me away from the shop, I am filled with guilt for always leaving my amazing staff to fend for themselves and handle everything on their own. If the shop was the only part of my business, and I could give it my full attention, I know it could thrive...but I just don't have that time! After weighing all of these factors, this decision got easier.

I am ready to let go of that guilt and let go of this little portion of the many dreams that I have for TomKat. It doesn't mean retail isn't a possibility in the future, but now is not the time. I know all of the things I could be doing to make the retail shop better, but it would take me being there and a lot of time to get things going and that is not where my heart is. My heart tells me that I am supposed to be were I am most happy. Working from home, generating ideas, creating and styling for my brand partners and my own brand. The retail shop opportunity came up, I jumped on it and I'm so glad I did. 

(image source unknown)

Thanks for listening,


  1. RachL2016 01/19/2016

    “Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
    ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your experience helped me think about some items in my own life differently.

    • tomkatstudio 01/20/2016

      That is an amazing quote from Brene Brown! WOW! Thank you so much for sharing and I am glad my post inspired you to think about your own experiences! xoxo

  2. kissmekatestudio 01/19/2016

    Who's to say that it "didn't" work fulfilled your dream of opening up a gorgeous, wonderful shop! YOU DID IT! It's not ending as you wished or planned, but what good would it do continuing something that you know in your heart and in your head is not the right thing RIGHT NOW? The great thing about being a grown up is trying something and if it doesn't go as you wish, you change it up and move on. No regrets, no guilt....just the belief that you are doing what's right for you and your family. I'm SO PROUD of you for making this difficult decision. Take a breath and know you are always moving forward. I'm so honored to call you friend!! XOXO :)

    • tomkatstudio 01/20/2016

      Thank you, Tina! You are right...I did it and it turned out beautiful, I should recognize that. Timing is everything and it just wasn't what my focus should be right now. Love you so much. xoxo Kim

  3. madebyaprincess 01/20/2016

    This is not a failure...this is a growing your business in a new and bigger direction. You learned some incredible business (and life) lessons by opening your retail store and it brought you to the path you are now on. This is just one more chapter in your book, Kim. A beautiful and dream fulfilled one. Congratulations on your new ventures! What an amazing start to 2016! XO K

    • tomkatstudio 01/20/2016

      Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Kylie! Hope to see you soon, my dear! xoxo

  4. morselsparties 01/20/2016

    This decision is the farthest thing from a failure! Trying new things and knowing when to move on is what makes you so successful in all parts of your business. It's exciting to follow along on your journey and see what you'll do next. If this gives you more time and less stress to be the creative inspiring person that we all know you are, then I say you made a very smart decision :)

    • tomkatstudio 01/20/2016

      Thank you so much, my new BFF! You are correct. This will allow me to spend my time on being creative and doing the work I am most passionate about. xoxo Kim

  5. NCampbell 01/20/2016

    While I am sad that you will be closing your retail location as I enjoyed stopping in from time to time, I don't view that as a failure at all! You learned what was working and not working for you and your business. I wish you the best of luck with your new venture with Studio Calico and you being able to focus on the creative end of things.

    • tomkatstudio 01/22/2016

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! The good news is that all of our products are available online still with more to come! xoxo

  6. fantabulosity 01/20/2016

    You are such an inspiration, and always have been. I seriously think I talk about you, or something that you have going on, to my husband, at least once a week. He knows you have an amazing site, online store, retail location, monthly tee subscription, etc. Why does he know this? Because I'm so inspired by you, ALWAYS, that I can't help but brag about all of your success to my best friend.
    You fulfilled a dream of opening a retail location, and that was a success! You are such a smart woman, to make drastic changes, that need to be made. Be so proud of that!
    Doing business as "silent investment partners," ourselves, in other's companies... we see so many, make the wrong decisions in business. I am once again inspired by your honesty, smart business move, and so much more. Although we've never met in person, I feel that we have. I hope we finally get to meet in 2016! XO

  7. crsanthmum 01/20/2016

    I'm so sorry to hear, but I know you've got a plan and that plan is evolving your brand. You did not fail, you fail if you don't try. I know how sad I was when I sold Milk and Cookeez, I wouldn't do it anymore, that felt like failure, but I knew it was best for me and my family. Business is a risk, especially retail. You'll continue, onward and upward-Best of Luck to you, in your new endeavors Kim.

  8. lindseyriel 01/20/2016

    Love you, Sister! So proud of you, and all you continue to accomplish! xoxo

  9. AlwaysTheOccasion 01/20/2016

    You are such as inspiration! I love how real you are (and loved your class at BASH )Plus, always have the best quotes. I have a hard time with that "you can do anything, but not everything thing" I try to do everything myself and it doesn't always work! Best of luck with whatever is to come! I know it will be amazing! PS: GO PATS!

  10. GloriousTreats 01/20/2016

    You are such a beautiful success and inspiration in so many ways... including being real, honest and human =)
    I'm sure this has been a hard decision, but it certainly sounds like the best one for you and your family! Wishing you so much continued success in every area of life... which includes being successful at finding balance in your life, not just being what others might think business success looks like. Love and hugs from California! <3

  11. samanthas 01/20/2016

    I think it takes tremendous confidence and leadership to even write this, let alone actually live it and own your experience. You're an inspiration Kim! I hope I can be half as brave as you in my life.

  12. AndreaS 01/20/2016

    You have been a success and inspiration to me and so many others since they day we began writing all those years ago. I love that you've share your honesty, your decision and what will continue to spark that inspiration I so admire. Failure? Hardly. You've decided after some soul searching what brings you joy and where you need to be. Bravo, my girl! Love you to bits, xox

  13. lorlando13 01/20/2016

    You are such an inspiration and such a success story. I admire you and all that you have become! You are such a hard worker and an amazing success in every way! You are a strong person for making a decision like this. Feel proud of all your amazing accomplishments and excited for what is to come!! I can't wait to see all that you create!! XOXO

  14. Alovelydesign 01/20/2016

    Hi Kim,
    You are such an inspiration and by no means a failure!
    "If you never try, you'll never know." ... Is so true.
    I had a small retail clothing store years ago. I had dreamed of owning my own store, an opportunity came about, I did it, had it for 2 years and found it was just not working on many levels, so I closed it. But I felt that I tried it and did it as you did! Having the courage to try it and do it, means you never have to wonder... How it would have turned out. You did it! And that is success!
    So glad to finally have met you and
    I can't wait to see what you have in store for 2016!

  15. Pinkcakeplate 01/20/2016

    Sometimes the hardest decisions are the best. You have to do what is best for you and your brand and follow your heart!! This is just another step in the right direction which you are already headed in!! You don't need luck you have it!

  16. Tonikruck 01/20/2016

    Thank you for sharing your story! True inspiration of determination, drive, honesty and integrity. You should be proud of yourself, because all of your creative community friends are incredibly proud of you. We're all behind you with nothing but support and excitement tho see what your next adventure will bring.

  17. leanneambrogio 01/21/2016

    Hello Gorgeous Kim - You continue to be such an inspiration and this decision will always be the right decision as it is the one you have made - big decisions are always tough but once made you never look back! I can feel your relief already (I know I felt that relief myself once I finally decided to close up my shop after tip toeing around it for almost a year!). I can't wait to hear about your next creative venture! Always Leanne x

  18. SwishPrintables 01/21/2016

    I know that it was an extremely difficult decision. One of my mantras is: if you don't define success, you'll never reach your goal. You not only met your goal but I think that everyone will agree that you set the bar for beautiful retail stores. Keep dreaming Kim! You're doing it - living it - and reaching higher! Can't wait to see what's next for you! <3


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