On behalf of all the artists we represent, I want to reach out and say thank YOU for making 2016 a banner year for independent art, craft and music. When I think of all the people—artists, musicians, and our wonderful employees—who are presently earning part or all of their living from TLE it makes me realize how dedicated you—our wonderful, ever supportive community—has been this and every year since we started this thing back in 2007.
Yep, 2017 marks 10 years since Brianne and I started this little business in the second bedroom of an apartment by the freeway. Initially conceived as a record label with the intent to release my first album, TLE quickly expanded in scope when we realized just how many amazing artists, crafters, and musicians we knew or knew of who were making exceptional work. The thought of their art remaining in their studios or bedrooms or under their bed was simply unacceptable. We wanted to make a place where these artists could showcase and sell their work—affording the artists a living and providing beauty and music for the lives and homes of the community. To this end, despite the fact we had no business experience, we opened a tiny little shop in an out of the way spot in NW Portland...
And it worked! Sort of. Slowly at first and with many daunting obstacles (ahem...2009) this little business has somehow traversed the last decade. And as I look back, besides the unbelievable artists, the main thing that got TLE through from 2007 to 2017 is the support and unflagging optimism of you—our community. Thousands and thousands of you have come into our store(s) over the years, sharing your stories, your unbridled enthusiasm for art and music, and your kind words of encouragement for us. This constant flow of positive energy has given us the strength to keep on going when times were hard. That spirit has made this place what it is and what it will become. We are truly humbled and invigorated by your support. As it says in all our stores "You are part of this place."
In that spirit of support and positivity, at the outset of this new year, I'd like to share with you a song I wrote called "This is Your Year" (above) from my upcoming album you'll be hearing about soon. It's a peppy, kinda Cars-ey song about seizing opportunities, accepting ourselves as we are, and believing in our power to change our lives for the better. I hope that it is a little ray of light for you today and the rest of this year as you have been to us over the past ten.
Thank you so so SO much.
Jared Mees & Brianne Mees