The Story

It's not a revelation that 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year. All of a sudden we were forced to stop everything, then move twice as fast to adapt. I think that in someways, it took away the fear of change, and replaced it with courage. It’s that courage that brought me to Santa Cruz in May 2020, knowing no one, signing a lease for a hopeful vision by July, and opening a store with over 60 artists by October.

Back to April. On top of a global pandemic, I was in a particularly challenging time of my life and knew for my own mental health, I needed to make a hard decision and a huge change. I was standing in my yard at my old home, grieving the future I once believed in. I was admiring the roses along the edge of the property, when my neighbor asked if I knew why there were two different roses growing on the same bush.

So typically, you would take the roots of a strong plant, in this case, a wild rose, and graft on a more delicate plant to give it a better chance to survive. Usually, the wild rose wouldn’t ever flower, but on this bush, it kept growing. It was a small dark pink bud, hiding under large, beautiful white roses. This was the rootstock. After teaching me about the rootstock and explaining how special it was, she said to me words I will never forget, “Just remember, be strong like the rootstock and beauty will grow from that strength.”

Not only did it give me the strength I needed to make changes for myself, it gave me the drive to start something big. I wanted to be the rootstock for the artists who all of a sudden had no where to go. I wanted to be that strong foundation. I wanted to create something I craved as an artist myself, a home for collaboration, a home for growth, a home for authenticity.

It has been the most inspiring time of my life to watch the Santa Cruz community support local businesses, artists, and myself. I can’t wait to watch this community continue to grow and am so thankful to be part of it all.