Take the Next Leap

Posted by Joanna Van Vleck on

I sat in our warehouse tonight, lit by the amber overhead pendant that hung over the table. A stark contrast to the dark that was beginning to cover the streets of Harlem. Our oversized living room and dining room, turned Organic Erotic warehouse over the past four months. I looked out at the towering shelves filled with organic linen throw blankets, handmade ceramic candles and the table overflowing with new inventory waiting to be unpacked tomorrow. There is a comfort in the small, busting at the seams living room warehouse. Something familiar, safe. 

We’ve been looking for a new warehouse for the last three months. Countless hours scouring Loopnet, literally no city off limits. We had boundaries. We needed a space large enough we could grow into for the next 2-ish years and yet not so big that we are drowning in the open space. Preferably a place with concrete floors and brick walls. Windows large enough to light the large plants we will place throughout the space. The list is long and, to date, there have been about four spaces across the U.S. that have met our criteria. 

Today Caroline, our director of products, sent me yet another space. I opened it. Staring back at me was a white, brick building. Nothing special. I suggested she call on it because I believe in looking under every rock. The Eros path has taught me that having full optionality means exploring every option, even those you think won’t work. I’ve learned over the past 12 years…when you find the spot you know, it is be undeniable, and until then, keep exploring all options.

We got in our UberX and headed to New Jersey. To be honest, I’ve never heard anything good about New Jersey. I was not really expecting it to be good. The uber driver stopped in the middle of a street of houses and unlocked the doors. I said to Caroline…is this it? As we got out of the car, a round, slightly oversized man waved to us from across the street. He walked over with a bangle of keys and greeted us with a wide grin. 

I stepped foot into this warehouse and something in my stomach churned. At first glance it felt like fear, a knot that reared its head in my belly. I stopped and the moment stood still in the entryway of this crowded, box filled warehouse. I paused and heard the words…oh, you would really have to commit to grow. You would have to commit to letting the world see you through this company and experience the things you have been able to feel in the past decade. The feeling traveled up to my throat. The round man was still grinning and talking fast, taking no notice at all to this burning ball making its way through me. 

To most, I come across like I know how to run a retail business. I have done it before and it was successful. I can drive almost anything. I know how to tend and care for things. Yet, here I stand in the next stage of growth and I feel momentarily crippled by this fear. What if I can’t make it? What if I commit and it doesn’t work? What if I am only a dreamer and cannot create this reality? The list of voices is long in the center of this entryway. We complete the tour and thank the kind man. 

We head back across the river to our living room warehouse and I am clear…this is the spot that has been wanting to open. Me seeing me. Me answering to this thing in me. Me admitting what I am capable of creating. I sat on my new found Craigslist fabric chair listening to a conversation happening amongst friends, the amber light above and I decided. I will take the next leap. 


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