Our first big move happened in 2013, when we moved our workshop across the country from a storefront apartment in Chicago to an actual storefront on Welton Street in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. The initial set-up was minimal: we put up a few shelving units, assembled some tables, got our two sewing machines up and running, and off we went.
We affectionately named it the Outpost. We got to know our neighbors. We became regulars at Purple Door Coffee, trued our bike wheels and stocked our chocolate drawer at Chocolate Spokes, and became accustomed to the train rushing by every 20 minutes. We hosted pop-ups, had parties in our side yard, and played hacky sack on the sidewalk.
We grew from a team of three to a team of five to a team of ten. We put up more shelving and hung pegboard on the walls to hold all of our tools and thread. We acquired larger tools, which we put wherever we could fit them (our laser cutter found a home in the closet). We even rented some extra warehouse space down the street for a while so that we would have room to lay out patterns, cut our fabric in bulk, and die cut our leather.
We had visitors. One customer a week became two, and eventually we were getting a few a day -- whether it was a neighbor wandering in to see what we were up to, or a customer visiting from out of town who wanted to pick up a Day Pack in person. Our 'shop' was a small display of bags and wallets in the front of our workshop. If you walked in the front door, you'd almost immediately run into a sewing machine, and most likely someone was sitting at the machine sewing a bag -- surrounded by finished bags on the wall above and around them.
It was only a matter of time before we would need a larger space. When a warehouse space opened up just a short drive and bike ride away, we hopped on the opportunity. Rents are skyrocketing in Denver and we were worried we would have to look for space outside the city.
Even though the new spot was only a mile away as the crow flies, we had A LOT of stuff to move. It took our team a full week to disassemble fixtures and tables, sort through tools, pack and label everything, and then another full week (and countless trips in a U-Haul) to move it all to our new warehouse. We drank a lot of iced coffee, ate a lot of popsicles, and got really good at stacking and unstacking things efficiently.
The new studio is much, much larger. We have space to work and space to play, space to meet and space to dream. We will miss our cozy spot on Welton Street but we're looking forward to a new chapter ahead. To us, the name Winter Session has always represented shift and change, and this move feels like just that.
While we're getting settled into our new digs, we invite you to come visit us -- we'd be happy to show you around! Jot down our new address HERE, and scroll down to see a visual journal of the move.