You guys, I seriously cannot believe that we’re already celebrating our 5th anniversary at Unearthed Vintage (which also means Jovan and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary next month!) It feels like yesterday that we got started, and also like we’ve been doing this all of our lives, all at the same time. Some of you know how we got started. What you may not know is the stories of what took place over the past (almost) 6 years to get us to where we’re at today. If you feel like reading a short novel, I’m sharing all that has taken place over the past 6 years.
When Jovan and I started this company we truly had no idea what we were getting into. It was June of 2011, we had just gotten engaged and we were looking for a company like us to rent from. ((Rewind a few months, and it was March of 2011 when we first had the conversation about getting married, what our wedding would be like, and “oh my gosh, you like vintage too?!”)). At the time we were only able to find a company in California and a few others in far off states, who we (unsuccessfully) tried to rent from. When that didn’t work out we started collecting. We gave ourselves 8 months with a February deadline to have “enough stuff” for our 100 person wedding.
We spent countless hours scouring flea markets, garage sales, craigslist, you name it. After around 3 months we had enough, or so we thought. Our second bedroom turned into storage from floor to ceiling, and we were thankful that Jovan’s parents had a warehouse with some extra space for a few sofas. It was at that time in our wedding planning that we realized that we were having so much fun doing this, and that Miami needed this. That Miami needed us. Miami’s first vintage rental company. So naturally (said sarcastically) we took the next step. We started business planning while we were wedding planning.
Since we were planning the wedding on our own, and it was such a large undertaking, we opted to wait until January of 2012 to officially announce all of the hard work we had been putting in behind the scenes. On January 24th, 2012 we made it official and registered Unearthed Vintage. No turning back now.
We got married on February 18th, 2012, knowing we would use our wedding photos as the first photos for UV. From there we launched our website, and we were fortunate enough that Ruffled Blog featured our wedding just a short month later. Check it out here (and see what Jovan looked like before he grew his beard): http://ruffledblog.com/camp-greynolds-vintage-wedding/
It has been a wild ride, to say the least.
Our goal, or my goal, was to book 1 wedding a weekend, totaling around 50 every year. That was my definition of success in 2012.
In October of 2012 we were at a crossroads. Jovan and I had each worked at our full time jobs, and also full time growing Unearthed Vintage. We had so much “stuff” that we no longer fit into the shared warehouse space that we occupied with Jovan’s parents in Kendall. We were also only able to afford rent on one place and we’d have to choose, our house or a warehouse for Unearthed Vintage. Naturally, again (said sarcastically) we took the next step. We cancelled the lease on our house and we moved into our warehouse in Wynwood. Yep. That happened. If anyone wants to test out your new marriage to make sure it’s going to work, become business partners a month before you get married, work 80+ hours a week/each, and then move in with your business during your first year of marriage. Ha!
We spent 1 year and 2 months living and working out of the same space. It allowed for incredible growth, and was also the most difficult 1 year and 2 months of our lives, both personally and professionally. It’s where we threw the first Unearthed Vintage party, that became the marker that every party had to be better than the last. It’s where I was able to leave my full time job (March of 2013), where we hired and had our first employee working for us (hi, Anne!), and where we met so many of our amazing partners for the first time. At the time we kept it secret that we lived in our studio space. We were ashamed that we were “forced” (aka chose to be) into this space while we chased our dreams. Looking back, I am now proud to say that we made that sacrifice to make Unearthed Vintage what it is today, and thankful that Jovan and I shared that experience with one another. I am also thankful that we are still married. Seriously.
When getting ready to leave Wynwood we thought we’d be a bit more central and move Unearthed Vintage to Hollywood. We signed a lease on a new building and got to work knocking down walls and getting it ready to move in. A few months, and a LOT of money later, the building was condemned by an inspector stating it was “inhabitable” due to the roof basically caving in. That building was later torn down. We were back to the drawing board.
In the middle of all of that chaos (and still trying
not to kill each other to love one another while living in a shoe box sized room in our Wynwood studio) we stumbled upon a space in the coveted Bird Road Art District. It. Was. Perfect. After meeting the landlords and having them fall in love with me (no seriously, that happened) they allowed us to move into their available space, graduating from the term “studio” to “showroom” in how we referred to our space.
Fast forward a bit more and we were happily working out of our Bird Road showroom in Miami where we spent almost 2 and a half years. It was this location that allowed us to grow even more. Here we started focusing on the company culture that we were creating within. We worked with our team and defined the culture that we had created, and were recognized with several awards in 2016. More importantly it helped us find some of the most amazing people, many who are still part of the Unearthed Vintage family. We spent time defining new goals, some that we’ve already achieved (like offering health insurance to our employees) and some we’re still chasing (like the second location we plan to open). It’s also the location that helped us welcome Baby Sawyer James as part of our family. I’d wear him at my desk all day long, he’d nap in the meeting space (when I was lucky), and was close enough to home that we could make the working family life work for us.
Toward the end of our Bird Road showroom the energy had a shift. We no longer felt the positive vibes that once surrounded ourselves daily. We were out of space. Like, completely out of space. I forfeited my parking space in my garage at home to house 20 tables and 200 chairs. After running out of space there we had a neighboring warehouse in Bird Road that allowed us to store more than 60 tables and 200 chairs when we kept building and buying, but the walls remained the same. We had 6 people working out of what once felt like a large office space and it was impossible to even have a phone call, let alone have a quite thought. We also experienced a break-in where a person hopped our fence and stole the exhaust system off of our truck, twice in the matter of a week. We were in a negative place, and if you know me (the queen of good energy, positive vibes, and receiving what you put out into the world) you know that is not how I am used to operating.
In the midst of all of that taking place, we began our search for our current location. It took us 8 months to find it. 8. Long. Months. It had to be perfect. We knew exactly what we were looking for and more than anything, it had to have the right energy. We walked into so many spaces that just weren’t right. We knew we had to find something new, and more than that, we knew it had to be “the one”. Our realtor was a saint, he seriously just “got” us. After so many months of searching, and having a lease contract in hand that we were ready to sign (and knowing in our gut that it just didn’t feel right so we walked away), Jovan and I met one last time to sketch out our perfect space. The perfect space had 2-3 meeting spaces, 8-10 offices, and more than 12,000 sq/ft of showroom (aka warehouse) space. It had more than 2 loading docks, it was within 5 miles of our home, and perhaps most importantly it was not in Hialeah or Doral (sorry guys, it takes years off of my life to drive to those places). We wrote all of this down on a piece of paper. That week our showroom found us.
When we finally found the space (or rather, when it finally found us) we worked as quickly as we could to get in. We did 1 month of renovations alongside our landlord and his team, and in July of 2016 we officially moved in. There were so many problems. So many. We’re talking no high speed internet, working off of hot spots and super slow DSL (which is still the situation today). Our air conditioner broke for 3 weeks, IN AUGUST. When we finally felt like we were up and running, we found dust in the showroom, dust that didn’t look quite right. The building had subterranean termites. F***ing termites. Little critters that could have eaten their way through our entire collection leaving us with nothing. We also have a bad ass exterminator, and a bad ass landlord, who helped us work quickly to take the action we needed to “terminate” the problem (see what I did there?)
Like I said earlier, it has been a wild ride.
Looking back at our experiences, I am so thankful that we have gone through each one of them. Each one has brought Jovan and I closer together, and has pushed us forward to keep growing the company into what we have here today. Most recently we held our grand opening bash here at this location. Guys, I was moved at the turnout that we had. The overwhelming love and support of the community that we’ve made our way into and helped cultivate, it brought me to tears, literally. The most memorable moment of that night (for me) was in giving my speech (which, can we talk about the fact that I’m comfortable in front of a crowd now?!) I looked out to the crowd and asked everyone to raise their glasses. Standing up on our dock, looking out at more than 300 people who were there to support us, I saw nearly 300 glasses raised into the air. I’m actually starting to cry right now thinking back on that night.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years.
Thank you to everyone who believed in us from day 1.
Thank you for allowing us to chase our dreams.
Thank you to all of the amazing people who have allowed us to be part of such special times in each of your lives.
Thank you to vendors who became partners, who we can now call friends.
Thank you to our business coach, Jody Johnson, who on some days is more like our business therapist.
Thank you to our employees for believing in everything that we do, and working well beyond 40 hours a week.
Thank you to all of the people and companies who offered their time and services to be part of our grand opening event, and any other event that we’ve put together, it’s truly amazing to work alongside you.
Thank you to our community members for helping create the environment that we want to walk into each and every day when we get to work.
Thank YOU, for taking the time to read our story and for giving meaning to everything that we do here.
From the bottom of our hearts. Thank you.
All images from our grand opening event by Sweet Memories Photography