It was always my dream to have a little decor shop, but like most things in my life, I didn’t do it the “conventional” way!
Let’s rewind to July 2019… a.k.a. life pre-pandemic
At that point, I had been a lifestyle and design expert on CityTV’s Cityline for nearly 15 years, and my producer called to book me for an August show. We chatted about a few segment ideas and she suggested that we embark on an adventure to the country and visit an antique or farmers market. Now, as much as I love any excuse for a field trip, my initial reaction was “meh”! I had done that before on the show… several times over the years in fact, and I really wanted to do something a little more…ahem, “unconventional”. I shared how I had been noticing the trend of “pop-ups” in city centres… fashion trucks, flowers trucks, chocolatier trucks, and even farmer’s market trucks. I loved the concept of the country coming into the city instead of the other way around, and she loved the idea too! So, we ended the call with a plan to create a pop-up market for the show right outside the Cityline studio which would feature unique and savvy businesses on wheels.
As I hung up the phone, I distinctly remember thinking to myself “how cool would it be if I had my own decor shop on wheels?!”
It was a rhetorical question, because of course I knew the answer was REALLY FREAKIN’ COOL!!!
So, within minutes, I jumped head first into the online second-hand economy and scoured postings of dilapidated and derelict tin can trailers searching for something…anything that had some DIY potential!
EUREKA! That same day, I found one that I thought would work, sent a message to the owner, and the next thing I knew, it was being delivered from the field where it had sat untouched for years straight to my workshop.
Now, “unconventional” me hadn’t really thought the entire venture through. For example, could I get it renovated within 3 weeks to debut it on Cityline? What would I sell in it? And could my soccer-mom-mini-van even tow it? These were only a few of the questions that started to creep into my brain as I stood staring at my new “shop”. Sink or swim, baby! Sink. Or. Swim.
This was a DIY project like no other I had ever attempted. I’ve completed my fair share of room makeovers over the years, but working around the clock in 35ºC+ heat and “making it up as I went” was a new level of crazy even for me!
I had to think on the fly about the best materials to use on the inside surfaces that would withstand various climates throughout the year and movement from traveling. Drywall wasn’t an option, so I opted for a faux shiplap wall treatment using 4x8 sheets of plywood that I cut into 8” planks on my table saw.
I put down flexible vinyl floor, built a bench with hinged top for product storage, and covered the ceiling with cool, lightweight geometric panels.
I did a ton of body work to the exterior, had the entire trailer re-wired with new vintage style lights, and topped it with a coat of Rust-Oleum’s MetalMax DTM (direct to metal) acrylic enamel in a custom pink hue…
And finally, I cobbled together a little counter on the inside with scrap wood to ring in sales… “OMG, I need stuff to sell!”
Again, I was literally making it all up as I went!
Luckily, I had some friends who were also talented makers, so I quickly placed orders for some of their wares, and THANK GOODNESS for social media because I was able to reach out to a few other local artisans who I followed and loved and before I knew it, I had inventory.
When I tell you it was a race to the finish line, IT WAS A RACE TO THE FINISH LINE! I pulled all-nighters for two nights prior to the show taping with a catnap here and a gallon of coffee there. And when I tell you I was paining and drilling and hammering the finals details just hours before the show, I WAS PAINTING AND DRILLING… okay, you get it! My husband helped me hitch the trailer to my soccer-mom-mini-van, and then he drove it down to Cityline while I stole a few Zzzz’s in the passenger seat. I showed up delirious, and I barely remember filming that episode. In retrospect, my dream of having a little decor shop all felt like an actual dream when it happened… albeit VERY unconventionally!
When the show was done filming, I packed up all of the product, not sure if and where I would ever sell it, because I hadn’t really thought about that yet LOL!
The show aired the following week, and my little trailer (affectionately nicknamed “SweetBop”) looked so pretty in pink with her quirky leopard print spots! As I watched the episode, I realized “ER. MAH. GERD. I HAVE A SHOP! I’M A SHOP OWNER NOW!”
There was no sinking, only swimming at that point!
A LOT has happened since that day and the Coles Notes go a little something like this…
We did a bunch of pop-ups with SweetBop and were constantly blown away by the outpouring of love and support for our little shop on wheels. So much so, that we decided to also find a permanent home, and we signed a lease in December 2019 to move into a retail location in my hometown of Burlington. Well, the zoning permits fell through at the very last minute, and I was devastated that my bricks and mortar dreams were temporarily dashed. Fast forward to March 2020… the month that we would have been celebrating our store grand opening, ANNNND well, we all know what went down and continues to have a devastating effect on the world. Not getting my “dream shop” at that point in time was the best thing that never happened to me, and another sequence of divine events has since brought me (and SweetBop) to our current little “off-the-beaten-path” bricks and mortar shop. She hasn’t been on the road since the pandemic, but if you come to visit our shop, you can give her a wave in our back warehouse where she sits still looking pretty in pink with her quirky leopard print spots!