Launching a new clothing shop on a shoestring budget was scary enough. Come to find out, on top of all that, there was a ghost in the store as well (eek!).
The events described here happened two years ago, as I was first launching my new store (Shipwreck Pants) along the San Diego shoreline.
For a short while, I felt as though I had tackled more than I (Robin Caruso, 28) and my trusty other half (Tom Melchior, 28) could handle. By the time I had my wits scared out of me by the ghost, I was in over my head with no way to go but forward.
Then again, we knew it's a wonderful location. The Pacific Ocean dominates the view westward, like a vast blue sheet of glass, and sugary white breakers rolling in (dotted with surfers, swimmers, and small sailboats). Sandy hills dotted with tall, thin Mexican fan palms and shorter, stouter California fan palms form a backdrop to the east, where reddish tile (and tile-colored) rooftops nestled amid eucalyptus, phoenix, yucca, jasmin, rosemary, lantana, mint, and other common trees and shrubs. Closer to the ground you have iceplant, aloe, agave, and other succulents, most of them brightly flowering red or yellow or white at least once a year. Brought in from the deserts to the east are cactus, blue salvia, and the more
all too many to name in a quick breath or two. So we were pretty much sold on launching my store, with the help of Tom (my boyfriend) and our closest friends.
On that day two years ago, when I first saw my future-maybe-store, I had Tom along and I was glad for the moral support. We were both 26 years oldI'm technically the older woman in his life, since he is about ten weeks younger than I am. We were inexperienced and a bit scared to be going into business in the first place. Tom was launching his chauffeur biz (one shiny black sixteen-seat van to start with). I was here that day to sign papers and launch my ultra-cool surfside shop I was already calling Shipwreck Pants. I'd worked in a few big shopping malls like Mission Valley and Fashion Valley further inland, and I had a lot more ideas from designers in Paris, Milan, London, and New York (etc.) than just the fashionably ripped jeans I planned to carry. It's all image, and beachfronts are not the prime locale for ballroom gowns and tuxedoes. Shipwreck Pants sends the right message.
Copyright © 2018 by Jean-Thomas Cullen, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.