06 22 18 Jessica Zimmer

Five Years

Embracing the cosmic

Someone recently mentioned to me that if a new business is going to crumble, it typically happens within the first five years. I suppose that means we’ve made it? Though that newborn feeling never really leaves. There are plenty of days that still feel wildly uncomfortable and strange, where the notion of being swaddled in a soft blanket, wrapped up in the cooing noises of Mom is more than a little appealing. There are fumbles and false starts, setbacks and deep sighs. But at least they are our stumbles and setbacks, and that offers comfort.

When Jim and I kicked around the crazy idea of doing this thing, our own thing, I don’t think we knew how massive an undertaking it would be, or how much it would twist and turn and what it would show us about ourselves. Grace, then, in that, because we probably would have over-analyzed it ad nauseam and never taken the leap; or at least, have stalled the leap-taking. But we had paid our dues as they say, to the corporate world, to the unpredictable bosses, disappointments and disorganized chaos of previous positions, and we had learned enough to feel like we could actually make a go of it and figure out the rest along the way.

And so, we did.

We planned for it, staggered our respective leavings of said previous positions and, bit-by-bit, collected more clients. We set up an at-home office in our old Chicago loft where we could hear our downstairs neighbor sneeze and sing with such utter clarity it still triggers a cold sweat considering the intimate conversations and arguments he must have been privy to over the years. And when we’d had our fill of Chicago and decided to move south to Louisville, people thought we were a little odd, but mostly they were supportive of our dreams to find an old home to love back to its earlier glory days. And they understood we needed more quiet, more trees, a chance to create enough space in our heads to grow the business into what we had been dreaming it could be.

And really, isn’t a dusting of magic needed to make a dream a reality anyway?

It took a minute to find our groove in our new city. But the people, they were patient with us, curious and welcoming, gracious in their invitations. It seems to me that Zimmer-Design has, in large part, been able to grow and thrive due to the kindness of the people here. Our clients haven’t all been local (they are still scattered to the four corners of the globe), but more so that Jim and I have been able to access a place in ourselves that had previously been inaccessible. Maybe it was those trees, or the slower pace of life, or the greetings of genuine warmth from passers-by, but Louisville softened us – there’s no denying it. And perhaps it was that softening of our thick skins that brought new opportunities and people to our doorstep.

We’re more than two now; 2017 and 2018 have seen the addition of new bodies – and isn’t that something? I still marvel at that: to watch a dream transition from the ether of an idea to actual humans sharing office space with us. I’ll admit I had visions of this when I was a kid. I did, I pictured it. So it doesn’t seem strange to me that this has happened, though there is certainly a touch of the surreal about it. And really, isn’t a dusting of magic needed to make a dream a reality anyway? There’s the hard work, of course, the perseverance, the consistency and follow-through, all true and important to the equation; but there’s also the intangible, that alchemy that brings these separate energies together. Some may call it chemistry or luck, but I call it straight up magic.

And magic is where we are today. How ‘Design for the Cosmos’ was born. How we come to be here after five years, a gang of seven for now, open-eyed and open-minded, ready to welcome in a new galaxy of creativity. Thank you all for joining us on our journey. Welcome. Let’s get cosmic.

You know, when people look at a tree, they look at the leaves; they don't look at the spaces between the leaves. They're focused on the tree. I think there's an awareness of spaces or it wouldn't look like a tree to them.
Keith Jarrett
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