Welcome to my new business, blog, and lifestyle: Tobacco Road!

At Tobacco Road I will share images, products and ideas I have discovered. Some to help inspire and share with others; some to create what I would like to call "slow style". Probably not a new phrase to describe a way of living, but I'm using it here to help us all slow down and get comfortable with real places, real objects and creative ideas that have soul.

My original business, Curious Sofa, has been put to bed. Why? Because it was time. I have changed, my customer has changed, and well, life has changed. Curious Sofa was a retail store I opened in 2000 and for ten years I ran it with a vengeance! After it closed in 2011, I took time off to rest, regroup, and rethink a new direction.

In the last 7 years I sold my Curious Sofa items online, in an antique mall, and was asked to be a guest dealer at Good JuJu in Kansas City for the Christmas season. That proved to be fun and successful and lead me to meet 4 amazing individuals that wanted to open their own First Friday antique venue. They asked me to help them design and brand their new shop, Top Hat Mercantile, and once it was open I became one of their 25 dealers. This was my life for the next three years.

On March 17, 2015 my beloved Bichon Pearl died in my arms from a tumor on her heart that I didn't even know was there until 6 days prior. If you knew Curious Sofa at all from shopping in my store or seeing articles in your favorite design magazine, you knew Pearl was with me 24/7. She was the ultimate shop dog. She was my love and when she was gone, well, I fell into a grief I have never known. It surprised even me. Six months later my mother died and suddenly my comfortable daily routine was turned upside down. I struggled with working because I had to, socializing because I needed to and trying to maintain some sense of normal when I really just wanted to hide under the covers most days. I can honestly say, some of that is still with me. I will never judge another for how they handle grief. It is a powerful emotion that can disrupt you life, your thinking and your heart. I lost some friendships because I couldn't and didn't want to explain it, and I struggled with my work and business trying to find my direction.

I am not sure what brought on the idea of Tobacco Road but there are a few things that happened along the way. When I moved into Top Hat Mercantile I wanted to do a space for Curious Sofa and also a more masculine space for men. I gathered men's work shirts, trunks, leather chairs, belts and bandanas, and voila, Tobacco Road was born. I had always been a lover of country music, cowboy boots, western shirts, etc. so gathering these items wasn't so difficult.

After three years at Top Hat Mercantile my sales were not up to par so I moved from Kansas City's West Bottoms into another First Friday venue a few miles away, Urban Mining. I was fortunate to get a small space there so I had to make do with what inventory I came with. I struggled there for a few months and realized for financial reasons I had to sell my little cottage after 19 years so I could use my equity to get out of debt, buy inventory and breathe a little. I had a massive Estate Sale selling everything I owned practically own to the Tupperware and old Curious Sofa inventory and moved into a fancy new loft apartment.

I went to Round Top, Texas for their fall antique show, Fredericksburg, Texas, Magnolia Home, and off to Pioneer Woman too to buy new things for the apartment and get some well needed retail inspiration. When I returned to Urban Mining, they announced they were moving to a new location. I would finally be able to expand my space and focus on something different.

Urban Mining had a different clientele than Top Hat and it took me awhile to learn what they would buy and  to reorganize my buying accordingly. I moved to the new location and tried a little Curious Sofa meets Bohemian, but it wasn't really me. I also concluded that the original, Curious Sofa style of neutral coloring, simple farmhouse style, relaxed furnishings was well, being done everywhere. Because of Magnolia Home everyone from Hobby Lobby to Target was selling items that could easily pull that look together- so why would I continue?

I also concluded after 15 years of antique dealer/retailer mode that I wasn't ever going to be the kind of gal that carried a delicate handbag, wore heels and dresses and lived without a bruise or scratch! So Tobacco Road is me accepting and "embracing" (I hate that word!) the part of me that isn't going to be the delicate flower I wish I were!!

I spent the better part of August curating, shooting, and loading products to the new Tobacco Road website as well as fine tuning my "brick and mortar" space at Urban Mining. Instagram is my new form of advertising all things new but the ShopTobaccoRoad Facebook page shows you the same posts, so feel free to follow me on whatever connection is best for you.

I hope you enjoy the items I have found for you, and more to come!


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