A little background about who I am. Born on 5/10 at 10:05 pm on the 5th day of the week. I weighed 6 lbs 6 oz, but I did go home 5 lbs 10 oz, as I am always reminded by my mother. I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts where I went through all 12 years of school and continued onto a state college while waiting tables on the side. Mom and dad paid for school, but I learned to support myself, kind of. I got my degree in Fashion Design and eventually moved to southern California for two reasons. The first and most important, to get Tobe back. The second was to “jump-start” my Fashion career. I only succeeded in one of those tasks and ended up back in Massachusetts after 2 years.
So who is Tobe? People tell me they like our story. Tobe and I began dating in 1998, we were 19. During the last 4 months of our year and a half relationship I went to London for a semester abroad. It was planned before we met and I wasn’t going to allow the opportunity to pass me by. I always had this feeling about Europe. That I was meant to be there instead of here, an itch that needed to be scratched. By the end of my first week away, he had proposed a proposal. By the end of my first month away, he reconsidered his proposal, and suggested instead that we live together. I had about a month left before i was to come home and he came to visit on my birthday. We were going to Rome for the weekend. Something was up but he would not budge, so I kept nagging and pushing until he ended up breaking up with me on the Tube to Heathrow airport. I was devastated!!!! By the way, I was right about Europe, I must have lived there in a former life, and I kick myself now for rushing home to a failed relationship instead of staying as a vagabond. Cleaning toilets for money or something.
We spent 3 years apart, but we never quite found anyone else that made us happy. So at the end of year 3 years apart he moved to southern California, and instead of moving to Manhattan to get a leg into the fashion industry, I followed him. We were engaged 6 months later, and married in September of 2005.
So while in California, I didn’t really make much of myself. I worked a retail job selling shoes, hoping to climb the ladder to corporate, but I was just a glorified Al Bundy. I stopped working for a while, slept until one in the afternoon, gained about 20 lbs and was pretty much hating my life. My mother who owns a retail home furnishings store proposed I design some funky curtains for the store. This was the beginning of “the curtain business”, a 3 year education on what not to do while starting and running a business. It ended up a nightmare. After 2 years in California, we moved home with high hopes that my mothers investment in “the curtain business” was going to be our ticket to success. I worked part-time at the store for mom and attempted to run a business of manufacturing ready-made silk draperies in India.
We lived with my parents. Tobe had no job, I slept until 10 am and hung out in my PJ’s for hours doing very unproductive and time-consuming research online. But, I had it all figured out. I was organized making spec sheets and samples, signing up for trade shows, emailing constantly back and forth with India regarding changes to be made on the sample’s lengths colors and design. The first order was $30,000 worth of inventory. 1 style in 5 different colors, 50 pieces per color (do the math and that’s one expensive curtain). We flew down to Atlanta, set up our first trade show booth, and introduced “Kimberly Reed” to the world. I was so excited when people were intersted and placing orders. Then the shipment came 2 weeks later and we started opening the boxes. The dye-lots were off, the lengths were off, the quality was off. What a disappointment. I had my depression moment, but we kinda made it work in the end. The demand was there, customers loved the designs and the concept, so we just lowered the price and dug through the batch to find the good and fixable pieces. The next shipment was great and I had high hopes, trade shows were going well, but I was still in the hole over the first shipment. With every shipment afterwards, prices went up, and quality went way down. I was loosing more money than I was making. So I went back to waitressing and Tobe, to an old Factory job that he hated and eventually quit . We had to get out of my parents house. He became a financial advisor in 2007. 1 year before “The Great Financial Crisis”. But he made it through and is still with it today. At the same time our country was melting down, so was I. It took me a long time to realize I was not a failure. But I gave it up, and I am so glad I did.
Now I work side by side with my mom at The Purple Rose, and I feel I’ve finally found my calling. I love to decorate!