I am almost always in the grey area. I tend not to have strong feelings or convictions on most topics. I try to understand both sides of the argument.
Some days I thoroughly enjoy being a girlie girl, wearing fancy outfits, lots of makeup, feeling pretty, and turning heads like a rhinestone Barbie; other times, I prefer to roll out of bed, simply throwing on a hat and jeans, spending the day outside getting dirt on my boots and underneath my fingernails.
When I started dreaming of this boutique and writing my business plan over 15 years ago, my original store name choice was "Diamonds and Dirt." I felt like that name was a perfect example of me being on both sides of the fence: rhinestone Barbie and country girl.
To this day, I still have the email address handle diamondsanddirt. Eventually, I felt like the ___ & ____ names became too popular, and I wanted to be different from everyone else- so I reevaluated my name choice to be more unique.
But at the very beginning of my store planning process, despite not being 100% set on the name, I could physically feel the atmosphere of my store around me. I've always known in my heart exactly how I wanted it to feel and look. I wanted both diamonds and dirt. Premier but pragmatic. Glamorous but gritty.
I wrote this in my original business plan back in the early 2000s:
"[Diamonds & Dirt /Broker Leather,] in its 150-year-old building boasting with character, will be nestled right in the heart of an energetic downtown.
When you enter the cozy space, you are greeted with floor-to-ceiling rows of reclaimed pallet shelves covered in all sizes and styles of boots. The western patterned tin ceiling, wood grain flooring, and cowhide rugs complete the old West style. The up-cycled pallet wood checkout counter design mimics one that you might see at an old mercantile; it will be complete with official branding to reinstate the fact that it's meant to be here, standing strong as the reflection of the backbone of this business.
There will be other symbolic décor placed throughout the store as well. The crystal chandeliers in the front window are a symbol of the quality and sophistication that will be strived for within the brick and mortar; even though we are not afraid to get dirt on our boots and work hard for our goals, we want to do so tactfully and purposefully while keeping brightness and positivity a priority.
To enclose every meaningful piece of the storefront, the walls will be painted a Sea Foam shade of light blue/grey turquoise representing the color of my favorite pair of Corral boots. The color will stand as long as my business does, and I will continue to endure all challenges and triumphs in the matching boots for many years to come."
Pinterest rolled out during the middle of my business-plan writing days, and I spent countless hours saving inspirational pictures to help me physically create this luxurious-feeling store space.
This particular chandelier idea I pinned on my Pinterest board for 15+ years. I've come to love this piece of my store the most.
Once again, this focal point of my store is the most symbolic presentation of my personality. It encompasses both diamonds and dirt. But also, it means so much more. On Facebook, I had made several ISO posts looking for an old, rusted, galvanized cattle water tank to build my centerpiece.
I called the neighboring junkyards without luck. In my highest hopes, I planned to end up with a stranger's piece of junk to hang from the ceiling, no matter what the cost. But that's not how the Good Lord works regarding my dreams.
After many failed Facebook ISO attempts, I finally received a private message from a family friend, Logan, who said, "My parents have that exact same tank just sitting in their barn that hasn't been used since Tim was renting from them."
Tim's cattle tank.
You've got to be shitting me.
I burst into an instant sweaty mess of tears, which is unlike me. I'm not typically an emotional person.
At that point, I was sure I'd do whatever it took to get this unpretentious water tank that was last used by one of my husband's best friends.
Tim had died unexpectedly about ten months before this from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
He was my husband's buddy, one we called to feed our herd while we were out of town, and a friend who kept Payne employed safely on a tractor the summer he broke his back.
Payne valued Tim's easy friendship of weekly pizza and beers and a few obnoxious golf tournaments. But mostly, my husband was devastated when he lost the friend he texted nearly every day.
Tim had a passion for farming and beef cows, a strong work ethic, and he wore his heart on his sleeve. I remember Tim's obituary stating, "Tim's daily mantra was "God, make me the person my cows think I am."
Thanks to fate and friends, my store has this fine chandelier "heart" that serves as a daily reminder that although life is short, relationships and hard work will define our success.
This chandelier symbolizes our fearlessness in getting dirt on our boots while working hard towards our shiny goals.
***Shared with the loving support of Tim's widow, Denise.