This Week's Transition

Anyone else ever feel so bogged down with things you have committed to, that your feel like your head just might explode? That’s been me since I came back from maternity leave last September, and I hate it. Don’t get me wrong here: I absolutely love what I do. I just can’t NOT go 100% in my work though, and many parts of me have been suffering. I’ve been on the fast track to burn out for almost 5 straight months and I’m finally admitting that maybe I can’t do it all. At least not right now. 

If you follow Sister House on social media (and read the occasional SUPER long caption), you have likely seen that we will be closing our doors after tomorrow.

Although I know the purpose is to benefit Sister House in the long-run, it still stings a little. First, because it’s brought so much community and collaboration into my life and my work. And I know it did the same for other artists. (Double sting.)  Working solo from home/a studio space can be pretty isolating, so having a communal space to share ideas and encourage one another I feel truly pushed us all to grow this year. And second, because I’ve found that having a storefront has given Sister House Collective credibility as a marketplace. I’m learning this whole business-owning thing as I go, sans business degree, just flying by the seat of my pants with an insane passion to see people living their best lives.

A few weeks ago a reporter came into the shop, covering the East end of Fremont. On camera, he asked something along the lines of, “if you had taken out a $100,000 loan- done it the RIGHT WAY, do you think your store would be closing?” And I want you guys to know, THE “RIGHT WAY” to run a business is subjective. Many have told me, THE RIGHT WAY is to GO MASSIVE, or go home. MAKE MASS PROFIT, or forget it. PUT YOURSELF AT THE TOP, and destroy anything that gets in your way. In response, I say: PEOPLE OVER PROFIT. Every. Single. Time. One thing I love about the evolution of Sister House is how grassroots it is. I will never use people as steps to get to the top. I will never value money over the people who work in earnest to live a worthwhile life. I emptied my savings account to start this thing and have worked my tush off for going-on four years- because THAT is how much I believe in the power and impact each human is capable of having. I feel I have done it THE RIGHT WAY, even if it wasn't the smartest, the most-profitable, or the "best" way by the average business person's standards. I have been as transparent and authentic as I can be, just as I will continue to be as this brand continues to evolve. THE RIGHT WAY, to me, is to approach this business with humility, with integrity, and with a whole lot of love for people. 

Sister House is more than a shop, or a brand, or a workspace. It is cultivating a thoughtful, empowered way of life. And yes, I’m still figuring it out. I’m learning as I go, and that’s okay! All I can do is be transparent on this process. 

So moving forward into this new chapter, I’ll be sharing brand stories behind the products I choose to sell at Sister House Collective. You can look for interviews with social impact company founders, studio tours of local Las Vegas makers, and lots of behind the scenes of collaborations and the day-to-day of my process growing as a socially conscious lifestyle brand. And on a personal level, I'll be focusing on spending worthwhile time with my family, taking good care of myself, and continuing to refining my skills as a curator and designer. This year you can look out for collaborations with other small businesses and independent artists to create Sister House branded purpose-driven products, so stay tuned! And as always- thank you for believing in Sister House Collective and joining me in this journey!

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Ashley Ayala