Monday, May 21, 2012

Look Up In The Sky! It's Bird! It's A Plane! Nooo...It's Just KAZA!

Once upon a time, there was a shop named KAZA....
 Have a seat, kids, you are about to hear a story that is told every five years and some news that will make y'all super excited! I know it's long, but you've got to read it through. It will be worth it.


When I went to design school, I never thought of opening a shop.The thought never even crossed my mind. During a class project and on a search to find bisazza tile, an opportunity presented itself and 6 weeks later, KAZA's doors were open. With no knowledge on how to run a business, let alone how to KEEP a business, we took a deep breath and jumped in, feet first.

We started KAZA, 10 July 2007, just as the economy was falling. Being a little young between the ears, I  shrugged it off and said, "well, if it doesn't work, we'll go home with a ton of rugs & pillows".

With boxes given to us from designer samples, KAZA's first pillows were made. Cowhide rugs
 & pillows from our "family" in Turkey, were shipped to us. And a small storage unit with props and staging furniture from my previous blink-of-a-career, as a homestager, were brought in.

It took literally, 17 days to make our first sale (Thanks Barbara D). It was for 84$.
I remember going home that night and thinking, "everything is going to be fine".

Everyday, a few people would pop in and chitchat, wanting to know the new kid on the block
and try to figure out what we were. Not a second hand shop, not a thrift store, not an
antique shop...."what are you?!". Just a little bohemian indie shop.

The more people shopped, the more pieces would come out from our own personal collection to replenish. "How do we do this?!" "Where do we get new inventory?!"--we explored different options & catalogues and were frustrated that nothing was made in the USA, let alone locally. At that point, we decided we would work with the locals or make it ourselves, dolly garnet. Thas'all!
One day, 6 people came in (wow!! all in ONE day!-lol) and each person said, "Matthew Mead told me to come here". Not being from around here, I was unfamiliar with the Uber Fabulous Stylist, Matthew Mead's work and wondered who this nice man was. It took me 3 years to put the face and name together and finally thank him.

Around the same time, a beautiful blonde woman came in with more energy than anyone I had ever known. She was funny, happy and on her way to a designers party. "I want the pillows that say KAZA, in your KAZA bag with a bunch of your KAZA business cards--I'm going to a designers party and am telling everyone about you!". And she did. Mela, we cannot thank you enough for being such a wonderful support for KAZA. You & Mr. Mead made starting a business, in a town where we did not know one single person, much easier. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

As time went by, I started carefully having fun with some of my creations, trusting that the toe I'd stick out of the box would not be scoffed at or chopped off and so came "Tallulah" . Now, I had made mannequins for a while and would ship them out to Oakland, CA to be displayed in other shops. But no one really saw them here. So, "Tallulah" was created for Concord. Made from recycled Concord phone book paper in honour of Concords green (purple) garbage movement. Y'all accepted it. In fact, y'all were kind of excited about it. That was a defining moment. I knew then, you had accepted KAZA and all it's kookiness in your wonderful circles of friends & in your hearts.

At KAZA, we have been involved in many projects in this beautiful city. Project Laundry List, Red River's Casablanca night, Bridal show at the Capital Center, Dressing up Tallulah (Butter's cow) in a crown of butterflies, creating a centrepiece for an auction (Womenade) as well as numerous weddings, etc.

We've had living window displays with live models wearing vintage haute couture (thank you to the lovely Arnie & Marty), Art Shows (Thanks Barbara C for setting the professional tone & for everything xox), NHIA Interior Design Students creating our window displays for 2 months, Marche aux Puce (s), Soiree de Noel's, creating props (Eiffels) for Lakes Region Bridal Magazine, and are now being recognized in Boston.

KAZA has been Nationally recognized as one of the 50 Rising Stars in the USA and even won Best of NH. We've done alot of interviews, told our story many times and you all have all become family and a special part of that story.

We've had the best shop girl that anyone could ever ask for and look forward to working with her more in the future! Merci Julianne xox

We will always love Concord, NH and will always be so thankful to our Concord family for being so open to this kooky little design shop and the wacky French-Canadian owner.

Now we are at the 5 year mark.
What's next? How does the story continue? What is on the next chapter?
Well kids, I'm getting to that...

For me, 5 years needs to be a defining moment in business. A decision MUST be made in year 5 to either expand, go in another direction, or call it a day. We love the space next to Vinnies, so leaving for something bigger was never an option. As you know, the KAZA shop has evolved and changed and has become more known and in the process has become much busier behind the scenes, as well. We got to a point where we had to see which aspect makes us the happiest.

We love the KAZA customers to bits and pieces. We also love to develop new product lines that reflect KAZA's core values: Recycle. Trade Fair. Live Funky. In order to be our best, we need time to give to our best.

I've always said, "Selling is not an option. No one is stupid enough to try to do what we've done, without killing themselves in the process"-lol. Until we can find a balance to do product development and maintain a shop simultaneously, we need to make a decision.

So... decision time (the bottom line):
We are closing this branch of KAZA and will focus more on KAZA Designs; Product Developement. Anyone who knows me, knows that sitting behind a desk is just not for me. I need to create. I am way too kooky than to just sit still without folding some paper or something-lol.

What does this mean?
It means, we are going to have a catalogue of our creations --(Photo shoots are happening as we speak!)

It means, we will include things that will be available at our
annual pop ups; Marche Aux Puce & Christmas popup (yes! we are coming back in random vacant spaces in downtown Concord, for our popups!!)

It means my availability to spend more time travelling, looking for goodies to share with you and blog about them!

It means, creating and wholesaling our products to other shops, so KAZA will always be available to you!

And it means, we will continue to support, endorse and encourage local Artists & Artisans to be there best!

A Few Things To Remember:

1. Keep buying local, Bella's.
2. Keep supporting your local artisan & small businesses.
3. Keep checking under everything you buy. Be aware of where your money is going.
4. Keep following KAZA on Facebook, Twitter & the blog (we will be posting our goodies, events & travels)
5. Keep eating cheese. (Because cheese makes everything better)

Final Days for KAZA shop (at this location): Starting at the Marche Aux Puce, 21 June 2012
*Gift Certificates will be valid and can be used at the Popups, Catalogue & KAZA Ecommerce
The Marche will be amazing this year! Displays WILL be sold!

SAVINGS START AT 20% OFF THE FIRST DAY AND WILL GO UP FROM THERE! (We want a total refresh for the upcoming Pop-up, downtown Concord--coming in November!!

Thank you so much for the past 5 years at KAZA on South Main. We are looking forward to KAZA on Main St, this coming Christmas with a Pop-Up shop full of new goodies!

Wait 'til you see the new product line--it is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S and I am rolling-on-the-floor-proud of it! There is no catalogue out there like it. It's a very evolved KAZA, but still oh so sweet & funky!

A huge thank you to all the faithful customers, I wish I could have had the chance to tell you these things, in person. You mean so much to me and I cherish our friendship so incredibly much. I feel we are on this journey together. It's a leap of Faith. But so was opening a shop, 5 years ago without knowing a single person here! (Kind of wacky when I think back-lol).

Check the blogs often. Check KAZA Facebook often. We are not going anywhere, but UP!
(Yipppppeeeeeeeeee!)

KAZA Christmas Pop-Up: Main St, Concord, NH
Opening, November 2012!!


Ciao Bella's!
xox

PS: Sorry about the sore butt-lol xox






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