It all took place so quickly yet it felt like forever for it to all happen! We moved into our new location at 180-B North Plaza Street at the beginning of March 2018. Somehow, I thought it would take about ONE WEEK to get moved in and to set things up in place, but jeez, was I wrong! It literally took up the entire MONTH of March! However, sometime in that chaotic whirlwind of unpacking boxes and decorating, I had a conversation with Katie from the Brawley Chamber about doing a grand opening. When she asked me what date I would like to have it on, I realized that April 16th was right around the corner! You see, April 16th was the 6 year anniversary to the day that I first hung a sign on the door in 2012 at 155 South 6th Street and very quietly declared "I'm in business." There was no hoopla, no celebration or no fuss when I started. That's the way I wanted it because honestly I wasn't quite sure what would happen or where this road might lead. Back then, in 2012, with all that was going on in my life at the time, opening up a studio and following my passion was definitely a leap of faith and it took a lot of gut! So, there was simply no other obviously meaningful day to have the Grand Opening of Monarch Iconography Studio, therefore April 16th it was!
The preparation for the Grand Opening was a piece of cake compared to that long, complicated move! Jason, Marissa and I were just getting used to working together and setting up smooth workflow systems. We could sense a very busy Spring season on the horizon. The Grand Opening celebration was the perfect "inhale" pause before we dove right into the season full swing!
So on the evening of April 16th, we welcomed city officials, chamber members and clientele into our studio. I was very grateful for my family members and close friends that could make it and for those that couldn't, I knew they were there in spirit. I was told I had to say a few words so I had prepared a speech. Because I rarely get nervous about anything, I couldn't believe that in the days before the grand opening I was nervous about getting up to say my speech and about what I was going to say!
So as the music played in the background, Jason and Marissa were mingling with guests and I was doing the same. Our Associate Photographer, Mel, was in charge of taking photos. Ceci from the chamber had set up quite a table of delicious light snacks and finger foods and our Photo Day Crew was helping out with whatever was needed. It all was a team effort for sure! Then it was time...
Katie opened with a welcome, then handed the mic over to City Mayor George Nava who said a few words, then handed the mic over to ME!
I can tell you that it was a good thing that I had my speech written down otherwise, I would have forgotten what to say! How often do you get to publicly express your gratitude to those you love and let them know why they're special to you? Can you see why I was nervous? But hey! I got through that and the rest was a blur! We posed for some pictures with the ribbon and that humongous pair of scissors before we made the official ceremonial cut!
The next day when I woke up, I realized that having the Grand Opening felt good. It felt right. It felt necessary.
As in any long journey, I think it is important to stop and look back to see how far you have come. You have to pause, humbly pat yourself on the back, give thanks and take it all in before you continue back on the journey...and smile.