This past week I had an unexpected surprise. My friend, Maria – ex-physics professor, artist/web developer, and badass randenneur got in touch with me to say that her jeans had worn out and she was in need of a new pair. For well over a year now Maria and I have been meeting every few weeks on Wednesday mornings at our favorite coffee shop to provide status updates on establishing our dream life/careers from what started out as two women with crappy job situations both recovering from rough break-ups.
I am (clearly) so excited about my new place, so I invited her over to the feminest for our regular breakfast and to try on the Riding Denim. Though the feminest is not quite set up to receive customers, I knew that she would provide excellent feedback and ideas on how to get the place outfitted as a workspace with her artistic and handywoman sensibilities.
So many good things happened on this visit. First off, Maria tried the pants on and freaked out – a response that brings me enormous joy. They fit her like a glove. Maria has super muscular legs from riding that makes my form of biking look like weenie wheals. This past summer she biked 465 miles through the Rockies ascending 40,537 vertical feet (!). When we do what is a short ride for Maria and a super-exhausting day ride for me she smokes me, patiently waiting as I catch up after each stretch of road. You get the picture. Well the Riding Denim could handle it, which was a relief to me. “They are [expletive] great!” she exclaimed. I was so excited that I went over and picked her up and swung her around. 1.5 years of meeting for breakfast and we are both starting to see our dreams materialize. (Maria has started a consultancy using her programming skills and background as an artist to designs beautiful websites for artists/creative types. More info at 3rd Hand Group.)
The second awesome thing that happened is that together we realized that my place was IDEALY set up to receive customers. Maria loved the place. Said it reminded her of an old European tailor storefront. Workspace and greeting room in the front, with a kitchen and living area in the back. There is even space for an old-fashioned dressing screen. Once again, my joy and amazement at locating such a place to fill every need I currently have to fulfill my dream, took my breath away. How is this possible!!??
The last awesome thing I realized is that the feminest serves an additional function that also sort of blows my mind. It is a place for me to live out the dream life that my brand seeks to create. The feminest is a place that is modest but beautiful and has function and style. Because of the set-up as a two-room studio you are forced to confront all your possessions all of the time. There is no extra storage, no second closets. For this reason, you may only keep or acquire things that you absolutely love and that serve you regularly. (Thank you Marie Kondo for preparing me for this.) What’s more, in 550 square feet, everything must remain organized and kept pretty damn near spotless. You must take care of your belongings. If not, you will see the scuffs, lint, dog hair all day long (no thanks to you, Brosef).
The feminest supports the aspirational lifestyle I am creating with REID MILLER Apparel. It is living tailored to help me find the energy, inspiration, courage and center to build creations from my dreams. To make material my design thinking and to piece it together to build beautiful clothing. Simple, high quality, functional, moveable, classic. Only staples. No more, no less.
There is just enough space to do this. There is just enough space to hang and admire the beauty of my bicycle. The feminist apartment is positioned on the edge of town on an ideal street for biking everywhere, living my life of urban mobility and modest ways of supporting a greener future for our urban spaces.
So, for those of you in Durham, in approximately 1 month the space will be ready to welcome you. Whether you want to come in and try on the Riding Denim, womanhandle the Riding Jacket, check out some new designs or take in the images that go into the process, I will be here. I have an excellent selection of tea and plan on having something more lively on hand if the mood strikes you as festive. Details to come. For those of you who are out-of-towners, Durham is an excellent place to visit particularly in the spring or fall. Look me up!
Thanks for all your support.