Updated: Sep 12, 2020
I got the idea to do a open my own business in Paris when I was at the Maison Object Show in January of 2018. I was 57 and it was the first time I had ever been to Paris. Getting to go on this trip was a professional bucket list item. Everyone wanted to go, and over the years many of my coworkers at the different companies got to go, but I never got the chance. This was the trip I had waited years for. Literally years. I was headed over with two coworkers that little did I know at the time, would become two of my best of friends for years to come. At that point I knew I liked them both but had never spent any significant time with them or traveled together. I left the United States feeling so lucky I got to go on this trip. I was going because I was the head of the Decor Division. Julie was coming over as the head of the Fabric Division and Scot was coming over as the head of the Paper Division.
We all arrived at 7:00 a.m. on different flights. We met up at the designated place and took a cab over to the show. Yes, we were going to go right from the airport to the show. You would think we would be exhausted, but we all were giddy with excitement. I found out then, it was the first time in Paris for all of us. Which kind of instantly bonded us. We started the show after checking our luggage. Maison Object shows all of the decor and furniture that is happening in Europe for that year/season, which is why it is such a big deal. As we started to walk the aisles, we could barely contain our excitement. So many new and clever ideas and products. Plus you had three highly creative people who were looking at what and how they could bring these ideas to the US. We started brainstorming on the spot. Every idea got better as we all put our thoughts together. I cannot exactly tell you what happened at the show. It was almost like 3 minds became one, and the concepts and the ideas were spectacular. What was great was all three of us "got it." That "it" is something rare. It has only happened a few times in my career, but you know it when you feel it. It's the creative equivalent of having the "it" factor in show business. By the end of the first day of the show, we were literally finishing each others sentences. We were highly connected.
At dinner that night we talked about how spectacular the day was. Our heads were literally swirling with products and concepts. It was like we gave each other the permission to be creative, all the while we were ourselves. There was no negative talk, only how were we going to top this day at the show the next day. Looking back now, I see that we were 3 very stressed people, who were each responsible for millions of dollars in business, and for 4 days in Paris we were free from our day to day responsibilities and the corporate environment, and we got to be creative. Really creative.
Over the next few days, my life changed forever. I finally had the ability to again, to think big thoughts. That creativity that was pouring out of me was just not going to go back inside of me. It was out and released, and there was no turning back. Julie, Scot and I all bonded on that trip, and like all travels with coworkers, the longer you are together the more your personal lives come into the mix. All very different people, but we all wanted the same thing. To be more creative and in control of that creativity, and have more of a work life balance, as we were and still are, so driven.
There were so many good parts to this trip. Too many to write about. However I want to mention at least three. One night we wanted to walk over and see the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. We were all still buzzing from the show. It was January and it was a wet damp cold and it was a long walk. As we got closer, we entered the park known as the Jardin Du Carrousel. A beautiful park with huge statues everywhere. We were not in Kansas anymore. As we were walking Scot decides he is so happy he wants to twirl...and so he does. Then he says "the only thing that would make this moment more perfect would be if it would snow!" I kid you not. It started snowing so beautifully and delicately, we all knew what a special moment this was. I will always remember Scot's face as he twirled with his arms out. It was sheer joy. And how his face lit up again in astonishment as it began to snow. Small miracles happen everyday. This was THAT kind of a trip. I should mention that in real everyday life Scot is not a twirler.
By the fourth day of the trip we were the best of friends. Scot had researched restaurants and wanted to go to a restaurant called "Vivre" that night. "Vivre" is a place where you take what they make for you, and it's several courses. You have a few choices but it's minimal. We were all up for it. Very experimental for a boy from Minnesota. Dinner was actually amazing. I'm not entirely sure what I ate, but all of it was good. By the end of the night the owner had come over several times to chat us up and laugh with us. To thank us for coming to his restaurant, he brought out a bottle of an after dinner drink that was made with Plum or Prune, none of us remember, but it was a super strong liqueur. I took one sip and was like "mmmmm I think not." But the owner had joined us so I was just going to sip a little bit. Scot loved it... so when he or the owner wasn't looking I poured a little of mine into his glass. It seems like the owner and the liqueur drink lasted for hours! Finally the dinner was over and we have to walk back to the hotel. I maybe had sipped a half a glass. The hotel was not far maybe like 6 blocks.
Block one my stomach starts to turn, it was a rumbling! Block two I say to them I may have to walk slower cuz my stomach is upset. They were having none of that, we all would walk slower. Block three I give them a warming that things are really not right with my stomach. Block four the sounds come, I mean I literally could not stop the noises. They were loud and I wasn't even sure they were human. To this day I have never heard those sounds again. This is kind of "you had to be there" moment, but we all started giggling and soon both the noises and the laughter were non stop. As we got to the corner across the hotel waiting for the light all of us were laughing so hard we were crying. To this day we call this the "night Paul lost his large intestine, and everybody heard it" I knew that night we would all be friends forever.
My last story which brings us back to Crescent Moon Home. The day before we were going home, we were walking the shops and we passed a beautiful shop that was closed up. I remarked it had great windows to do displays, another part of my past. Then Julie says "you should open a store in Paris, you would be so good at it." I literally stopped in my tracks and said "Wwwwwhhhhhaaattt?" Just saying it out loud made my head spin. In a moment, never had I
been so open to life, so open to a new creative role, so open to possibilities. It was at that moment that I knew my life was going to change. Not that I was going to open a store in Paris, but I would do my own thing, whatever that looked like. The seeds of that day has brought me all the way to Luck WI, and Crescent Moon Home. I still thank god that the three of us got to go on that trip. It started a journey of a lifetime for all of us....
If you ever get a chance to go to Paris, DO! Don't wait till you 57 to go...I have since made up that the fact that I missed it for so many years. I now have been 6 times, and three of the times, I was with Julie and Scot. Like I said, good friends.