The past 20 years have seen Stella through 3 store locations, several crashes, and many crises in this wonderful city. Running a small business is no small undertaking, and while it’s always been rewarding, it hasn’t always been easy. In honor of our twentieth anniversary, we’re looking back at all the lessons we’ve learned (and every place we’ve been) throughout this amazing, incomparable journey.
Bursting at the seams, Stella #1 was a mustard colored shop filled with textiles.
Lesson #1: Be Adaptable.
The first Stella Store opened only 6 weeks after 9/11. Since then, we’ve moved locations twice, changed up our business model, and worked through a pandemic. Change is inevitable, and the #1 secret to our success is being able to go with the flow and quickly adjust our expectations to work for any situation.
The gorgeous floor that my friends painted for Stella #2, and pillows and textiles I made to fit in with the things we purchased.
Lesson #2: Always go High-Quality
Sustainable pieces are all the rage these days, but at Stella, long-lasting, high-quality goods have always been a staple. We consider our pieces investments, and we find that the happier we are with the pieces have, the more likely we’ll find someone who loves them just as much as we do.
Lesson #3: Celebrate the Wins
In a twenty year career, there have definitely been losses—some bad, some not too bad, and some absolutely terrible. The important thing is to mark your progress using the good things. Your wins matter more than your losses, and seeing how far you come is a huge motivator for making strides in the future.
Opening in Stella #3. Fresh and new! Loving Reade Street and our fabulous landlord.
Lesson #4: Build Meaningful Relationships
Being able to work with talented, creative people is a god-send for a small curated shop like Stella. Designers like Anke Dreschel are a huge source of inspiration, and their original colors, ideas, and designs always signal the beginning of a new season for Stella.
Latest rendition of the Stella Diffuser...having a design partner for details has made all the difference.
Lesson #5: Keep Your Creativity
If there’s one thing to take away from our reflection, it’s this. Your creativity is the reason you started your business in the first place. Continuing to invent, imagine, and innovate is how you stay in love with your passions and bring new ideas to the surface. At Stella, we’re always making something new. Whether it’s 5 years, 10, or 20, our creativity is the one thing we’ve kept that guarantees our future will be filled with things we’re proud to have, enjoy, and sell.
Lesson #6: Prioritize Rest & Appreciate Beauty
For a store that places emphasis on comfortable, quality living, finding time to rest during the first few years of Stella was near impossible. It was only recently that we were able to take more time for sleep and relaxation, and we've seen firsthand just how much of a difference that time has made. Taking a day to stroll through a garden or wander through a beautiful space allows you to come back and face challenges with a fresher mindset—and sometimes even a whole new perspective.
New learning processes... photo shoots for the Stella website.
Thank you to all our Stella customers for their kindness, support, and patronage. These last 20 years have been lovely. Here’s to at least another 50 full of health and success.
The Stella Team