Retail is a monster. Sometimes it can be a fickle, soul-sucking, insurmountable, formulaic problem with no answer. There are times when I do not know how to succeed at retail or why I'm even trying.
I've been wrestling with my love of having the store. I've been meditating a lot on what it's value is to me. I mean, It's kind of odd that I own a retail clothing store - I'm not much of a shopper and (quite obviously) I'm not particularly fashionable. However, I love making art, I love the outdoors, and I love facilitating community. The store is an excellent avenue to express my love for those pillars of what Tree & Leaf represents. The physical location of Tree & Leaf can be a hub for art, community, and outdoor activity.
I started penciling ideas for sections of the store that were not working well, and the front corner was one of those areas. It's awkward to navigate and is oddly shaped. We've tried stocking it with goods, but its honestly kind of a clustercuss. I've been brainstorming what to do with it for a while, and finally started planning a way to build community, teach art, and show customers that our shirts are unique to our store and hand-printed.
We tore down the front window display, moved out all the product we had in the corner and thoughtfully turned it into a community print station. I've been getting a lot of requests to teach printing classes again, and I'm stoked to announce that we'll be starting classes this summer. We'll be live-printing shirts regularly, hosting local artist print sessions, and printing shirts simultaneously with bands/events hosted in our backyard. We'll even be working out a rental system for folks that have the capabilities to print their own gear but don't have the equipment quite yet.
Come check out our new print corner, ask questions, and see what we have planned for it! We'll be brainstorming some more community-driven ideas for other parts of the store, but this is a good start. Thanks for supporting our little shop, our art, and our community!
Clarifying note: I'm not going to be getting back into custom printing. You can check out our 'CONTACT' page for info about great local printshops if you need one. I'm teaching people to print for themselves and offering print demonstrations of T&L shirts.