D A Y 4 - D A L L A S / F O R T W O R T H
Our fourth and final day had us all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Shelley, Shawna, and I made our way to the Bishop Arts District of Dallas. If you’ve never been to Bishop Arts, you have to go. It has an artsy, Deep Ellum vibe mixed with upscale shopping and dining.
One of our favorite shops in the Bishop Arts District is We Are 1976. Not only do they have a brick and mortar shop, they are also an in-house graphic design and letterpress studio. It’s just a really cool shop that’s filled with well designed and affordable prints among so many other things.
While we were in the neighborhood, we couldn’t help but stop by Oasis Plant Shop. These ladies have created a space that lives up to exactly what the name implies. It’s an indoor/outdoor plant haven where you can find any type of plant you can imagine along with some of the most beautiful and unique ceramics. The DIME ladies are definitely plant mamas so we felt right at home in this adorable shop.
Trying to beat 5 o’clock, Friday rush hour traffic , we zipped on over to Fort Worth to meet up with our final store, and one of our dearest friends, Gifted. It’s located in The Foundry District (an area leading in the cultural revitalization and promotion of small business ownership) for a little over a year. Esther has highly curated this gorgeous lifestyle shop and you can see her hard work all over. It’s hard not to enter and be immediately inspired by the space she has patiently created.
We couldn’t end our trip without one last meal together so on Esther’s recommendation, we ate at Righteous Foods whose motto is “clean, tasty, & healthy”, three things we can absolutely get behind! Just for the record, their yucca fries will change your entire life.
Thank you so much for following along on our journey! If you’ve made it this far I’m hoping you’ll go just a bit farther. When we were in Austin, our team sat down and thought through the “why” behind our little road trip. It started out as a fun team/relationship building adventure with other shop owners like The DIME Store but as we spent more time meditating on those things, we found there were many other reasons behind out trip. We’ve categorized them in three categories: Retailers, Makers, & Customers. If you fall into one or a combination of all three, here are some of the reasons we think you should take your own Small Business Road Trip.
One of the best things that has come from this trip has been the way we’ve organically networked with other small business owners. The DIME Store has always been about community (it’s what birthed our own brick and mortar) and this is just an extension of that belief. We’ve had the opportunity to meet and become genuine friends with these shop owners and we feel so honored. It can be really lonely sometimes. It can even sometimes make you question: “why am I even doing this?” and to have like-minded people that you can reach out to in those moments feels like a gift we didn’t even know we needed.
Another reason is that visiting other stores helps to inspire you! We’ve seen merchandising ideas, in-store projects, etc. in other stores that have sparked an idea in us that we then get to carry back to Denton, all without the overlap in customer base. We’ve shared our own methods and organizational structures with other shops as well. The point is, community over competition. We’re not here to spy or steal, we’re here to learn and grow with humility, knowing that we don’t have all the answers and there’s always something we can do better. We want to be generous with what we’ve learned because there have been so many others who have been generous with us.
Not all shops are the same, even in the handmade world. Each store has its own voice and personality you don’t always understand the full extent of that unless you actually step foot inside the store. This also goes hand-in-hand with Makers doing your homework before you reach out to a shop for a wholesale or consignment agreement. Having a better understanding of the store can also give you clarity about pursuing or being rejected. It’s also an opportunity to build relationships with stores you do think your product would do well in.
In the same vein as retailers, Makers, you have an opportunity to support and encourage other makers. Purchasing an item from that Instagram Maker friend that you’ve never actually met is a great way to build a connection. Innovation and inspiration can also be found. You can visit stores and see where there is a gap that you can fill with your own voice and take that back with you and create something that you’re proud of! We found it incredibly inspiring to be around artists who are making beautiful things in their own cities just like our makers in Denton.
Seeing something with your own eyes and holding it with your hands is an experience that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s all about supporting local, handmade businesses! When you travel and shop small, you have an opportunity to truly invest in the local economy. The chances of you meeting and interacting with the artists/owners of these shops are also high. We have met business owners, artists, locals, etc. from starting up conversations in these local stores we visit. These are the faces and lives that are directly impacted by your purchases. You’re helping them buy groceries, pay electric bills, and contribute to their own economies. You’re also building connections with the places you visit. It’s an opportunity to take a step away from being solely a consumer and actually investing in the places you travel and find yourself.
We’re hoping to continue this little tradition of ours and we hope that it inspires you to do the same!