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Everything is an Experiment

Here goes – I am closing the Moulton storefront.

While we often interpret closing or ending a venture a failure, I don’t see it that way at all. Opening a brick and mortar was an experiment for me. Retail has piqued my interest for years, particularly individually owned retail shops, and I felt that opening a retail shop of my own was in my future. At my 30th birthday dinner a friend asked me what I wanted to accomplish in the next year, five years, and ten years. I blurted out that I wanted to open a retail shop in the next five years (it was the first time I’d said it outloud and some wine might have been involved. But it was a truth deep within me that I didn’t over-think and just came out. I’ve learned to trust those truths over the years as I feel that they are meant for me – even if I think they’re a bit crazy at first).

And so I opened up to my goal of opening a retail shop. I thought it would come to fruition within the next three years or so. I was very surprised when a space became open, a space that I had said aloud was exactly where and what I wanted, just four months later. I felt like I’d been tapped by a magic stick that I got to be in this location with some amazing partners in the space. A location that I’d frequented often five years before when we moved to Austin. It felt right.

It has been an incredible experience. I’ve grown tremendously as a person. I am still surprised that I, a fairly quiet introvert, opened a store. A storefront! That I’ve worked countless hours at building. Where I’ve spent more time talking this past year than maybe the previous three years combined. It is truly a feat for me and one that I never would’ve thought I’d be brave enough to do. I am so grateful for this past year – I think it’s been my most transformative year yet.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m closing then? It sounds like it has been all amazing. Well, it’s a complicated answer. While having the store has been truly amazing, it has also challenged me and really pushed me to my limit. And living at my limit caused me to become really aware of my energy, my time, and my sense of fulfillment.

Some of you may know that I had cancer six years ago. I was 24 when I developed ovarian cancer (answers to your questions: Yes, that is really young. No, I didn’t have a family history or predisposition. Yes, I lost my hair. Yes, it sucked. My surgeon described it as bad luck.). It was a grueling nine month journey to recovery and I am very grateful to be in remission for almost six years. I am also grateful for my experience and I feel very lucky that I came out of it as a better person and with a hopeful prognosis. My experience with cancer changed me deeply and set me up with a very intense evaluative process for how I spend my time (my life).

So I was really shaken when I had a health scare this spring. I’m not going to bury the lead – I am healthy and have a few upcoming follow ups to make sure all is good. But for a few days I wasn’t sure which way it would go and let me tell you, nothing will clarify your priorities like not knowing. And while I lived in that place of fear and the unknown, I dwelled on a specific question – if I am not well, am I content with where I am and what I’ve done these past six years? It’s basically a version of: if this all ended tomorrow do I feel satisfied with where I am and what I’ve done? Everyone says it but we really don’t realize how truly fragile life is. Things can change in an instant.

So, I spent many weeks thinking on that: am I content with where I am? For me that means: Am I spending my energy in a way that lights me up? Am I making a difference the world? Am I connecting to the people and things that matter? Am I fulfilled? Etc.

And then very quietly I knew. I knew that closing the store was the right thing to do. And then I spent a couple months thinking through it, making very sure that it was the right decision. And I mourned it – closing the store felt like a loss at first. And a failure. It was a dream of mine and I had entered into it with the best of intentions – I truly believed that owning a store was ‘it’ for me. Over time I’ve come to see it as a success. And that some things are meant to be in our life for a short time. I set a goal to open the store and I actually accomplished it! It is an incredible feat to accomplish any goal and see something through. I am grateful for it and I am also grateful to let it go when it isn’t part of my purpose anymore.

So now what? Well, I have a few exciting things on the horizon. I am traveling to Europe for the month of August! I am taking a ceramics workshop in Denmark, spending two weeks traveling alone, and then spending two weeks traveling with Matt. (Spending a month traveling is another one of my blurt-out-not-sure-how comments I made after my first trip to Europe in the summer of 2015. My sister reminded me that I’d told her that and now it’s coming true). I have traveled more this year than any other and this year is my first time traveling solo on two international trips. I am thrilled and nervous. I am growing so much this year, it feels good. I wrote this back in 2015 and it still resonates with me: I’m beginning to see travel as more than a luxury, it’s an investment in personal development. Yes, thank you, more please.

As for business, there are some changes on the horizon. I want to devote more time and energy to custom and semi-custom work. I’ve gotten to collaborate on some incredible projects this past year that challenged and fulfilled me, deepened my relationships with clients, and left everyone thrilled at the end. And I’ve had to say no to some things due to lack of time in my schedule. My heart has always been in the custom work, it’s just taken me awhile to fully realize it and have the courage to pursue it fully.

And lastly, I’m excited to have space in my schedule for the things I love – Learning. Ceramics. Photography. Sewing clothes. Maybe even a drawing class! I’m also developing a podcast (which both excites and terrifies me – a theme for me it seems).

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much! I love that I get to do this work and I’m grateful for this wonderful community that I’ve found myself in. Thank you, thank you for the support this year and the ones before it.

Lastly, a few logistical things. One, our last day open will be July 31st. Two, online shop/custom work will be on vacation for the month of August. Three, keep an eye out for a sale beginning next week! Sign up for the newsletter or keep up on instagram to be notified. 

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  • Diane Hirsch

    Jen,
    Happy and excited for you. Looking forward to hearing about your new adventures and your up coming trip to Europe and the trips you taken earlier this year.
    Something I thing you should add to you list of things to do/accomplish is writing about your experiences.
    Best Wishes.
    Diane

    • moultonatx

      Thank you, Diane! And I’m trying to make more time for writing as well! 🙂

  • Kathryn Mader

    So happy to hear you are healthy. Congratulations on opening AND closing your shop, i.e., following your heart. Have a wonderful time traveling and God bless you!

    • moultonatx

      Thank you, Kathy! I appreciate your kind words. Hope you are well and enjoying your summer!

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