To Everything There is a Season

Posted by Kate Ellen on

We will be closed Nov 9th - 12th for a little beautification.

Next time you pop into the shop it's going to look a little different. As part of our 6th birthday we're doing a like sprucing up, giving it a little 'jouje' as Christina would say.

Now for a little context. When I opened Crown Nine six years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I was offered a retail spot out of the blue and had only days to decide if I wanted in or out. At the time I had $700 to my name. I figured that I didn't have much to lose in trying. So for two years I clicked along as a one woman team of owner, sales gals, jewelry maker, accountant, janitor, marketer, and fire-putter-outter (with a lot of unpaid help from friends and family who believed in me).

Me loading up lumber to build out the original shop in the alley on 9th st.

The space before opening in 2011.

Original Crown Nine Store in Oakland

Our first swing at the plate: my colleagues Sarah Swell and Christine Aiko Beck holding down the only three cases of jewelry in the entire shop.

Back when I taught classes-- this is wax carving and my mom is there on the right. She really got into it and still wears her charm.

 

When the current space in the Carriage House opened up for lease, it was another significant risk. I still didn't know if the sluggishness of my growth had been due to my location or if I was just running a unprofitable business model. Really, I had no idea. So signing a new lease was terrifying. But I had a hunch... just a weird feeling.... that I had to try.

So that brings me to the space itself. I've always adored it. It is hands-down one of the coolest buildings in Oakland -- and I can say that because I did almost nothing to it when moving in. I really didn't even take time to dream of what I wanted it to look and feel like. I just did the very best I could with what already existed. I would loving describe the look as cool, tough, unique, femininely edgy.

The space itself leads me to the space within. The texture of my inner world was very much the same at the time. "I really didn't even take time to dream of what I wanted it to look and feel like. I just did the very best I could with what already existed." Crown Nine was the epicenter of my happiness, it was the one thing that gave me constant joy, excitement, and feelings of connection. I loved coming to work, being at work, thinking about work, talking about work. But elsewhere in my life things were a bit different-- it was marked by loneliness, a few very significant deaths that rearranged my entire worldview, and a struggle within a very abusive and long-lingering relationship.

Moving in and building out the Carriage House location, our current spot on 9th street.

Some vibes from the last four years...

One woman team because a two lady powerhouse when Christina Bohn Silva joined. She is my godsend-- and we often showed up twinning.

The bench always remained my favorite place.

The work is where I learned how to transform.

My last silver collection, Seven, before moving on to my dream to do only fine jewelry. The last remainders of this grouping will be featured at our Plaid Friday Sample Sale the day after Thanksgiving this year. 100% of sales will go to help with the fire recovery.

And then two became three when Solee Darrel joined the team.

...and then Erin came on board...

and then it was four when Caroline rounded out the group. I guess technically there are six of us here...

 

So transforming the space has been something I've been so eager to do for the last year. I want it to look how I feel now. Full. Light. Grateful. Loved. Abundant. This past two years have permanently rewired my life. I let go of the things and people no longer serving me. In my grief I welcomed in the feeling of urgency to live my life and let that guide me toward joy. I adopted Jim, my dog, who seriously transformed my heart back into its original, tender, very loving form. I found a partner and was for the first time open to him not being exactly what I expected or fantasized about. That left a beautiful space to be surprised by things he offered that I didn't even know I needed. And now here I am, seven months pregnant and overwhelmed with gratitude that I will now become a mother.

Getting Jim Dude...

...Getting Pregnant....

...and Getting married to Louis...

The ascension. 

 

I share all this not just to prepare folks for it to look a bit different, but also to encourage y'all to consider how the spaces we live and work in are in relationship to our inner life. Crown Nine has always been a beautiful place to be, and now in its new iteration--lighter, freer-- will be a different kind of beauty. I harbor no ill-will toward what the space has looked like for the past six years, in fact I honor how far it took me. Yet, we talk back and forth with our environments. It's important to not treat them just as utilitarian but as sacred spaces that can be a part of our well-being.

It doesn't take any money to do in your own life either (although it is nice to get a few new things if you can!). Simple transformations happen when you just rearrange the furniture. One time when I was really really struggling I read a witchy blog post and it advised that before taking a trip, right before you leave, rearrange all the furniture and art so when you return home you get that beautiful thrown-of feeling. It resets things instantly. New habits can build in a new space.

Another big one for me was to throw away or part with artifacts and relics that were part of a life I no longer leaded. I lived with roommates for seven years while starting my business and one day I walked into the kitchen and realized the cabinets were crowned wall to wall with bottles of alcohol that our household had drank. I never noticed before. Don't get me wrong, I like to have a drink, but it struck me that it being such a big part of my life was over. I jumped up on the counters in that very moment and filled up five garbage bags full of bottles. It was amazing to walk in the next morning and see the green plants I replaced them with. What a lovely chat I had with my kitchen-- we all can benefit from sitting down and investing in what those conversations tell us.

So back to Crown Nine...we will be keeping some of the signature vibe for sure, but hopefully the end result will give you a sense of levity, peace, and pleasure when you come through the doors. A bit sanctuary, a bit dress-up closet: a place to come laugh and chat and connect.

We'll see you on the flip-- until then go talk to your home <3

All my heart,

Kate Ellen

 



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