Shopping small in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and why it matters
We are four and a half years into this life adventure of small business owning, and we've grown very passionate about carrying locally made and handmade goods in our shop, as well as cheering on our fellow small businesses. We recently gathered some of these Tulsans to set fall tables together. A nice project for making something really beautiful–look at these gorgeous photos!–but an even more important endeavor to show what a table set with locally gathered goods represents–the time, heart, creativity, friendships, passion, hopes, and families of people you see each day. These scenes are the heartbeat of our city, the vibrancy of its people.
Sometimes this time of year can feel so busy and often over-commercialized. But that is where shops like ours step in. It's lovely and good to buy gifts for our family and friends, but no one wants to buy presents just because it's a prescribed tradition. Shopping local and handmade is a way to reign back in the meaning of this warm and generous season.
Us small businesses don't talk about the less glamorous side of our lives–the uncertainty of relying on the economy, the risk we put on our families' finances by committing to leases and inventory. For a shop like ours, we are thriving, but it's been a less than easy year. I can only imagine our fellow small shops are in the same place. I say all of this not to get concern, but because we want you to know that your dollar makes a difference in our lives. It's a vote for us to keep being brave and keep being creative. To choose a path with less security, but also a path more bright and joyful.
Our lives running Retro Den are so happy. We get to spend time with our children, we put our hands in dirt each day as we plant succulents for our customers, we arrange furniture and put together beautiful spaces, we encourage and champion all of our local makers who we sell in our shop, we go into people's homes, their most sacred spaces and help them shift their surroundings to uplift their lives–all of this is an easy trade off for us.
But, and I don't want to be dramatic, your shopping with us matters. Every time you shop our small business and others in our town, you are keeping alive what makes Tulsa special.
You are supporting the dreams of passionate people who live in your city and who populate the buildings on your street. We want you to feel really good about buying a table from Ashley and me. Really good about picking up a hand-drawn card by our friends at Laurel and Marie. Deeply proud when you purchase a napkin set made by Bianca Howell of Owl and Drum. We want you to know that not only is your hand-macramed plant hanger beautiful and well-made, but it also represents the lives of Tasha Ball and her two boys and kind husband. It really does matter, and we really do appreciate you spending your time and money with us. Thank you.
The House that Tulsa Built project
// This is the beginning of a series we hope to carry on. We are calling it "The House that Tulsa Built." Not just a great hashtag, but a chance for us to bring our fellow Tulsans together and share just how vibrant and talented our neighbors are. The world can be a disorienting place, and we are lucky to get to live in Tulsa. The House that Tulsa Built is a challenge to help keep Tulsa special by supporting our small businesses. And gosh, we hope it just adds to inspiring anyone to support the people doing hard, meaningful things in their towns. //
Fall Table No 3 Sources // Photography, Abbey Wells Photography // floral arrangements, Ever Something // fiber knots, dyed napkins, House Sparrow Fine Nesting // hand lettered table runner, menu, name card, Laurel & Marie // plaid & solid napkin sets, Owl & Drum // dining set + rug + dishware + candlesticks, Retro Den