The Rise of Dirty South

This wonderful life never ceases to amaze me. This past Friday, as most of you know, we pulled down the brown paper and let light and life back into the commercial part of our building. For so long I have harbored this baby, shielding it from the prying eyes of negativity and naysayers.

I purposefully kept the design and progress of the store from viewing eyes, not because I was ashamed of it or because I wanted to make a grand reveal, but because it was mine. My piece. My work of art. And those who went to art school with me will know that I do not like revealing a piece until I have worked and over worked it a million times, perfecting any flaws. Why? Partly because of my own insecurities. I have trouble verbalizing my ideas, and would much rather show than explain. The other part was that I wanted Dirty South to look and feel like it had always been there. I didn’t want many people having the in-process images stuck in their heads because, to be honest, it wasn’t a pretty process.

Before we opened the door to the public, I was a bit apprehensive about the response we would get. The amazing thing was that even though I normally have the nerves of a cat walking a tightrope over water, I was so insanely busy trying to just get everything ready for the open that I didn’t have time to feel the slightest bit nervous. And rightfully so because we had a better turnout than I could have ever wished for. I was in go-go-go-mode, but there was one point in the night that I wasn’t ringing up a sale or talking with someone that I just stepped out of my own head and really looked around. Here I am at 26 years old, and I am completely surrounded by friends, family and kind strangers who have cleared their plans to come and support us in this endeavor. To make sure that we knew that they were behind us and rooting for Dirty South. I took a large breath in, scanned the room left to right to take a fantastic mental panoramic photo, let all the amazing love and warmth flow over me, then snapped back into reality and started checking out customers.

There is no greater feeling in the world than realizing that all your fears are wrong and that you’re wildest dreams have been exceeded. For that, I want to thank each and every single person who took the time to come to our store, send us a message, liked or shared our page, mentioned us to a friend or who just happened to wander in from the street. Thanks for the years of coming out to our booths at festivals, for the online purchases, and giving out our business cards to a friend. Thank you for you warm wishes, smiles, and encouragement, because that love is what has placed us here.

From the beginning, we wanted to create a business that everyone could be comfortable in (not easy since we create such breakable work). I believe positivity attract positivity, so I have tried to say nothing but inspirational mantras while working those late, late nights and coffee driven mornings. And guys, it worked. And I cannot thank you all enough.

With all that being said, there are many parts of our store that have hidden meaning behind them. My goal (pending the holiday season doesn’t completely deplete me) is to post a blog here about once a week until the stories are all told. Stay tuned for more.


Ashley Norman

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