After earning my BFA in graphic design from Daemen College in Amherst, New York, my career took a path very different than I had ever imagined. Interestingly it was the concept and execution of my senior project that led me down that path. I wanted to explore our perspectives on “used” and secondhand products, making people aware of the amount of household waste we generate while also showing them the possibilities for giving used items new life. I devised the concept for an entire store and created compelling branding and materials, a process that took several months. By the end, I was on a mission to create a community solution.
I have always loved creating things and interacting with others. I also never seem to want something simple, and I hate being told I can’t do something. The mixture of my personality, my love for design, and my passion for the concept behind my senior project whipped up the perfect storm, which resulted in me and my fiancé taking OffBeat Emporium into the community as a business.
We opened our first store in 2011 in Elmwood Village in Buffalo, New York. Not long after, we opened our second store in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York. There are no words that can describe the amazing people I met along this journey. My fiancé and I owned the company jointly, and together we continued to develop its concept. We had an amazing staff and the opportunity to work with so many local artists!
I will never forget the first time we had a customer who had never had the experience of purchasing a “used” piece of furniture. After expressing how she never had “used” things in her home, she purchased a piece I had personally refinished. Delivering it to her home was beyond rewarding.
Monthly art shows featuring local artists and DIY classes were just some of the experiences that evolved in connection with the store over the years. Unfortunately OffBeat Emporium closed in 2016 after the sudden passing of my fiancé.
So, you might be wondering what I did with that graphic design degree? Well, I will say I have no regrets about opening the store. I had the opportunity to create something unique with someone I love, and those experiences are priceless. I may not have taken the expected path for a designer, but OffBeat Emporium was its own kind of creative endeavor and allowed me to use my skills in a new way.
Currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. January 2018 was my one-year anniversary of living in Music City. Throughout the past year I have made some amazing friends! I would love to say that it’s been a year without obstacles, but years without obstacles do not exist. Finding yourself in a new city can be hard. For me, even though I wanted to move and to have a fresh start, I was still holding on to so much from my past and not fully letting myself embrace the new city. So I had to ask myself, “Why did I move?” I wanted to experience something completely different, something fresh, and to allow myself a completely new beginning. Well, living in the South is definitely different in so many ways, and now it’s time to really embrace Nashville. As I continue to explore the city, grow my creative portfolio, and make new memories every day, I feel like the possibilities are endless.
I always thought I wanted to have my life planned out, to know exactly what was going to happen next. Everyone’s life journey is different. It’s like dieting—the same thing won’t work for everyone. Although there are plenty of benefits to a structured, planned lifestyle, in my personal experience when things didn’t go as I planned, it threw me for a loop. I had the constant feeling of always picking up the pieces and trying to fix something. So moving forward, I am now more open minded, working on living in the moment and enjoying right now.