On the eve of New Year's 2015 we took a red eye flight home from Los Angeles to Chicago. We'd been in L.A. looking for houses and just that morning accepted an offer on our condo in Chicago. Time to go home and start packing. That's how our story begins...again.
(I fell in love with Los Angeles–much to my own amazement–twelve years earlier when my partner "AK" was attending grad school at USC. But a job took him to Michigan, then Chicago, so I hoped for a someday return.)
In 2013 I began conceptualizing Province as an online blog/brand and then as a brick & mortar store. Province gave me permission to liberate some suppressed concepts: owning a retail store, selling an eclectic inventory of new & vintage objects, telling our story. By that Fall my mom was onboard, stashing away inventory—vintage housewares, curiosities, original artwork, and natural science specimens.
The "farm-to-modern home & garden" theme evolved from our story. A country kid living in Chicago—yearning for rural comforts, spoiled on urban culture. And AK, originally from Hong Kong, coping with my overflowing boxes of dingy vintage in our modern condo. And Mom in rural Michigan collecting antique farm objects and shipping them to the city.
In the summer of 2014, only weeks after signing a lease on the new Province space in Chicago, AK heard word that an opportunity was waiting for him in Los Angeles. Province quickly rebranded from a long-term storefront to a pop-up shop and opened its doors until December.
February 2015—Friday the 13th proved to be our lucky day. Six weeks after accepting the offer on our condo we left Chicago with Mia, our canine mascot and only child, and a car full of houseplants....we left a few things behind, but not the plants! Province's inventory was, by then, on a two day's head start in a moving truck. This did not for a moment feel like the end of Province. It was another beginning.