From The Owner: 5 Years Down February 14 2020
It's already over a month into 2020, and I am just now finding time to write something I've been thinking about since last Autumn. Believe it or not, our little shop is over 5 years old! I launched the online shop in September of 2014, and soon after started doing Pop-Ups around the city of New Haven. Less than a year later we had a signed lease on an official storefront.
Being the owner of such an endeavor like starting your own business (props to all who have done this before) one finds little time to slow down and reflect. Usually you're just trying to tread above water. You want to seize every opportunity. No time should be wasted. You are constantly working. And when you're not working... you're thinking about work.
I will say that's been made easier for me these past years, because I do truly enjoy and find passion in what Strange Ways is about. Our product assortment is one thing, but all the items in our shop—they are me. I often get asked how I pick out what the shop carries. While it's not just out of thin air, a main component is my gut. If I think something is unique or fun or says something I'm drawn to, I buy it and hope others get it too. That “strange” vibe the shop has, it's me. I created a store I would want to shop at and support.
The past 5 years have also been made easier, because Strange Ways does have that support! The customers that seek us out, that spread the word, shop with us, and come to our events: Y'all are awesome. I love that Flair Fair has become a market we do twice a year, and people look forward to it. If I ever feel drained or down on things, that excitement is filled up again with your enthusiasm. I also can't believe some of the early press we received from StyleCaster to Refinery29 to Seventeen Magazine. Is our shop changing the world? No. Do we represent something? I think so. Do we carve a hole for artists, and some underrepresented people? I try to. Is it carrying product that is a bit weird and unique? Absolutely!
I want to say a loving Thank You to the people that get us. We've had an online shop for over 5 years. We've had a storefront for over 4 years. For such a niche product offering, one might think we'd be a trendy flash in the pan (I mean, I never thought so!). But something amazing happened last year. Our sales have gone up—specifically in-store. The online shop and storefront build off each other in a nice, symbiotic way. We've increased open hours to accommodate visitors. (We're open every day of the week now!) And to let you in on a little secret, we're looking to expand...
When I started Strange Ways, I knew people were making cool stuff. I knew others would connect with it. I thought maybe customers would want to support it even! But truly, the shop has outgrown my dreams of where it would be. I can't wait to see where else it goes, and I hope you continue to stick along with me for this strange ride.
Founder & Creative Director
PS - Here is an interview video from about 3 years ago when we were starting out. Look how different the shop looks!