We simply can’t believe that it’s been five short years since, after sharing a bottle of wine at a local French restaurant and shaking hands (we barely knew each other!), we opened our little blue door…and life hasn’t quite been the same since.
Anis Restaurant in Buckhead. Where it all started…we shared a bottle of wine at lunch and decided to go into business together. Were we nuts?
In that crazy time, we've laughed, cried, thrown occasional temper tantrums, high-fived and basically loved every minute of it. Most of all, we've learned one big lesson: to happily run a business, you really have to follow your heart.
The event got us chatting about the zillions of highs (and a few not-so-highs) that have marked our one-twentieth of a century in this adorable cottage that now feels so much like home.
- Being the delighted recipients of our artists’ endless inspiration and talent. It doesn’t get any better than seeing a painting for the first time and having a mini-swoon.
Rubicon, by Doug Foltz, pretty much had us all swooning when we first saw it.
- Being named Best New Gallery in 2006 by Atlanta Magazine
- The countless openings we’ve had at the gallery…and the fun times we Huffingtons have had after the doors have closed, everyone has left and we get to have a party rehash.
And, speaking of Doug Foltz, here we are mugging with him last May
- Singing the French classic “Oh, Champs Elysees” at our first Bastille Day fete and exhibit – the wine was flowing, the music was jamming, the art was breathtaking and we all had a blast with French artist, Pascal Bouterin. We were happily caught up in a joie de vivre moment – priceless!
That’s Pascal on the drums and the rest of his cute band (the Huffingtons are in the corner singing at the top of our voices)
- The Hanging Mojo State of Mind: we’ve hung and rehung (and rehung some more) over the years and we’ve learned one thing: we have to have the hanging mojo going. Once we get it, it’s loads of fun and we love the Aha moment when it all comes together and the gallery is shining.
Ann (and Scurry) have the hanging mojo going.
- There’s nothing better than offering some direction to an artist – and then having new work sell out two days later
- The French Connection: thanks to our Madame, we all get to have a taste of our French fix.
Cataloguing new paintings…at Les Murets with a nice rose to keep us company. Surely this doesn’t count as work, does it?
- We love seeing our babies hanging beautifully on new walls and having happy clients (see next item)
- We get a gallery high when our clients (and artists!) are delighted enough to email us their appreciation
And…believe us, just because not every moment has been a glowing one…here are the Not So Highs:
- Theft at the gallery: one of our precious little Nepos is stolen out from under our noses at an opening – and we are bereft with sadness and simple disbelief (however, we have to say that the front page, below the fold, on the right hand side of the Atlanta Journal Constitution was not unwelcome!)
- Two days after we opened the gallery, one of the Huffingtons (nameless here) was cleaning out her wallet. Somehow, at least five rather sizeable checks (our very first sales!) got tossed in the trash, never to be seen again. We made some red-faced calls the next day to explain the debacle and that Huffington never took checks home in her wallet again.
About two years ago we were feeling especially professional, savvy and smart. A nice looking, well-dressed and smart-talking advertising gentleman paid us a visit at the gallery and sold us (hook, line and sinker) for some publication he was financing. We excitedly wrote a rather sizeable check on the spot…and then never heard from him ever again. That episode is loving called The Scam Artist. Ouch.
- Not so long ago, the gallery was the location for a very fancy girls night out Christmas party. Champagne was flowing, the music was thumping, the food was gorgeous – and you should have seen the guests. Halfway through the party, we are tugged aside only to be told that the toilet was completely plugged up and spewing all over the floor. Imagine the sight of a couple determined and high-heeled ladies trying to plunge the darn thing! After frantic plunging, we admitted defeat and put a sign on the door that said: “If You Have to Go, You Have to Go.” Not our finest hostessing hour.
- And this one still happens every once in a while and continues to break our heart: we fall in love with a specific painting because of its very essence, its magnificent texture, its sublime composition and palette, its very perfection…and it hangs on the wall for days, weeks and even months without even one comment of admiration. Why does that happen? How can we so misread our clientele? If anyone has the answer, let us know. It breaks our heart and we take it so personally.
- Our final low is really a high: when the painting we’ve all lusted after in a very personal way (as in “wow, I could really see that in my bedroom/over the mantel/in the living room) sells before we could put a red dot on it.
This one got away from Meg
And, lessons we learned in our five short years:
- Always take the high road (even if it means a financial or emotional hit)
- Realize that no mistake is so gigantic that it can’t be fixed (usually by taking the high road)
- Treat your clients with the utmost respect and kindness (and always make good on your promises)
- Follow your heart – always.
- Have fun
- Believe in yourself
Finally, we have to admit that after five years, the Huff and the Harrington have officially become Huffingtons. We had a rather important meeting at the gallery the other day and we both showed up looking like this – simultaneously black, white and pink with virtually matching Hermes carres.
And take a look at our business card. Since we’ve basically morphed into a Huffington, we thought we’d just share a business card. It sure makes life easy.
To all of you who have supported us and believed in us over the last five years, we sincerely thank you. And to our wonderful Linda, Sarah and Sam, without whom gallery life would be dull and flat, our most heartfelt mercies.
Meg, Ann, Linda and Sarah…
And finally, to the long-suffering Huffington Husbands…merci with our all hearts.
Here’s to the next five years!