As we just wrapped up our last Whimsy Green sale of the year, I can’t help but marvel at what the Lord has taken as a hobby and turned into a full fledged business, and what we love to think as also a ministry. A lot of people ask how Whimsy Green came to be, and we keep scratching out heads trying to figure out how it has evolved into what it has, so I thought I would share our story with you all!
Ry and I bought our house 4 1/2 years ago now. If you don’t know the whole drama of that story I’ll sum it up in a nutshell. We just redid a house in town that was big, had storage, and a ton of room inside. But I am married to a country boy…and I’m actually much more of a country girl than I ever realized, so when our current house came up for auction we had to check it out. Ryan was smitten with the two huge pole sheds that flanked the entrance, and I was quite enamored by the character of a 100-year-old farmhouse that had a driveway that wrapped all the way around the house. The view wasn’t half bad either;) We went to the auction with our final budget in hand, a friend that was willing to buy our house if we purchased the farmhouse, and an anxious heart. Let me tell you, real estate auctions are not for the faint of heart. I almost passed out at one point, thinking that the future of our family laid in the fate of the other bidders who showed up.
Knowing we had a great deal of work to put into the house, our budget was modest. At the last minute a bidder bid us up another $15,000 and we thought we would lose it, but he backed out and we were the proud owners of a 100 year old farmhouse on a 3 acre hobby farm homestead. We then packed up all of our belongings and moved them into a pole shed for another 3 months, while we lived in a pop up trailer in the driveway. Every minute of that summer was spent on completely gutting and renovating our sweet little abode. To look back at pictures now are so fun because what looks so bare to me now, looked like a palace at the time. That’s the one thing I love about doing it all yourself. It.takes.time. But you so appreciate every little detail!
We had worked on our house all fall and winter, and when the next spring rolled around, I was getting antsy to get some new furniture to fill our, new to us, house. I had a lot of old furniture that didn’t work in the new space, and instead of just having a garage sale, my friend encouraged me that I should have a barn sale, and set it up like a shop so that we could make a little extra cash to buy that furniture I had wanted. The barn was adorable, and had great character….but it also needed quite a bit of work. And asking a hubby who just spent every waking moment of his life for a year working on a house, I was scared as heck to ask him to help fix the barn up. He must love me though, because he appeased me and did. We shoveled all of the straw out of the top of the barn, (and by we I mean Ryan and my brother-in-law:) sprayed the ceilings white, re-wired the whole barn, patched holes in the concrete, and pressure washed the floors and walls. My friends husband got his hands on an extra actual check out from a Pottery Barn store that they couldn’t use, and asked if we wanted to use it for Whimsy. This just seemed like the confirmation we needed from the Lord to keep going;) Knowing I couldn’t fill the barn by myself, I called my sisters and asked if they wanted to be a part of this “barn sale” I was having. They appeased me as well. We came up with a name, Whimsy Green, (which has no significance, we just liked the name:) started a FB page, put flyers at all of our local shops and kept our fingers crossed that a few ladies would come and check us out. Here is a post from one of our first sales…..so fun to look back at!
And here are some pictures of our inventory…
Oh how far it’s come in 4 years!!
But women came, and we were so excited!! We decided at this point to try to make a business of it, got a tax id number, registered the name, and went through all of the hoops to create a small business. We loved the fact that there was minimal overhead since rent was free :):) and we decided that since we didn’t have to pay monthly, seasonal sales would work best for us since we all are mommas who love to be with out kids. It was at this time we decided on the four sales a year.
Fast forward three and a half years and this little tiny dream of a barn sale has evolved into something so much bigger than any of us could of imagined. So much so that we know there is only one person to give the credit too. We pray before every sale and thank God for blessing us with this sweet red barn. We pray that He blesses the women that shop here, that He allows them to feel His presence throughout the day, and that He would use us to love on women.
And He is FAITHFUL!
And we are HUMBLED.
By YOU ALL!!!! What started out as a few women coming to shop the sales has turned into women lining up two hours early to get in line to come shop this little red barn in my backyard. In literally the.middle.of.nowhere. To say we had a few doubters when we started this is an understatement. Heck, I’m sure we all did at some point, but the women came! And we will continue to do what we love as long as the Lord continues to bless it.
So, here are a few pics from the day to give you a glimpse of what a Whimsy weekend looks like.
My sister took this pic during the first day of set up so you an understand how far it comes in 24 hours….
We usually have about 36 hours to set our shop from piled with boxes and signs, to completely set up. To say it’s exhausting is an understatement, but also exhilarating. That’s the crazy part about our sales. Since we are in an old barn, we can leave anything set up between sales. It get’s dusty, buggy, and isn’t ideal to keep things out. So instead we keep most up at the sheds in boxes and start from scratch for every single sale.
Here is a picture of all of my sisters that contribute….
It’s so fun because my oldest sister Jenni on the far left, and the my sister to the right of me, Mel, live in Wisconsin. They come up and we are guaranteed at least 4 sister weekends every year…a blessing in itself:)
We were a little nervous how Whimsy week would affect the kids, but the kids LOVE whimsy week! They get so much fun cousin time, it’s so fun to see the memories they are making…
Usually our sales are open from 9-3, but for this sale, we extended it an hour and opened at 8. The first women showed up at 6:09 and starting peeking in windows:)
My mom and dad are the hardest working of the bunch! I missed out on getting a picture of my dad because he’s out there at 6 parking cars. We fill a field on our lot and then park them on a diagonal the whole length of our road, which is a 1/4 mile long!
My mom does everything. She literally does.not.stop.
Yes, that is tape around her neck! We have all sorts of tricks;) The ladies grab so much stuff that we lay plastic tarps on the ground outside for them to put their “piles” and then give them a piece of tape to put their name on to reserve it.
when it’s cold we hand out numbers to the ladies so they can stay in their cars until 15 minutes before the doors open. They then line up by number to shop either the barn or man cave this year, and my mom gives them the speal on how things work and hands out bags. This year we checked out in my house to keep the line from being in the buildings and it worked out quite nicely. We have quite the honor system with these ladies. They bring us their tags off of their items and we add them up. I’d like to think that everyone obeys by the rules, some may not, but the majority are so completely honest and amazing that we enjoy trusting them:)
So how has our inventory changed in 4 years? Well, it has increased and increased…that’s for sure! We keep trying to make more to keep up with demand, but we also can only fit so much in our shop! So we fill it as full as we can and hope everyone can find some sort of treasure.
Here’s a few sneak peeks we put on from our FB page…
We keep rubbing our heads and figuring out how this has evolved into such a great business, and the only thing we can come up with is that the one who gave us this creative desire has blessed that sweet little red barn of ours. And that YOU women, are amazing for braving the crowds, the cold, and the chaos to support this little business of ours! So THANK YOU, doesn’t even begin to express our gratitude!!