Behind the Scenes

2018 Lily & Val Flagship Store Update

Lily & Val Flagship Store

Hi Friends. Today I have some bittersweet news to share and I’m not really sure if I have the right words, so please bear with me. Also, there’s SO much on my heart and too many things I want to express, but for now, I will be as concise as I can. 🙂

In 2016 I felt a tug for Lily & Val to expand. It had always been a dream of mine to own a brick and mortar retail shop and when the most perfect, adorable building (hello, real fireplace and mantel!) became available in my neighborhood, I felt it was there waiting for us. We jumped at the opportunity. Guys, it’s the store of my dreams. (I hope that doesn’t sound conceited, but boy it really is!)  From the Print Bar (an actual marble bar you could sit at and browse through our print menu) to the Sign & Seal Station (an antique letter writing desk containing tons of supplies to craft your card) it was a physical manifestation of everything I wanted the Lily & Val brand to represent. It may sound old-fashioned, but I always had a desire to celebrate the tangible and authentic through L&V, especially in our oversaturated digital age. The store was something you could genuinely experience – feel, touch, smell, hear – and that excited me. I think we built something special and I’m intensely proud of it. We had a space for in-person workshops (another dream!) and I loved every one. Seeing your faces and meeting new Pittsburgh friends in the store was amazing. I got to know many of you, and I hope you know how grateful I am. It truly shocked and humbled me everytime fans of Lily & Val would travel to visit our little store. Seriously, for those that came to see us from all across the country, I’m still shocked, but so honored.

Lily & Val Flagship Store

As amazing as all of that is and much as it pains me, what I’ve come to realize is that Lily & Val is meant to expand, but in a different direction. As of February 1, 2018, we will no longer be operating the Flagship Store. I don’t regret anything we’ve done. The past year has stretched and taught me and ultimately helped me see that the efforts of the Lily & Val team need to be refocused. As a tiny team with so much on our plates, I didn’t want us to lose focus on the bread and butter of our company – our online store, wholesale, and licensing programs. 2017 gave us bucket-list-worthy opportunities like collaborating with Anthropologie, winning an award at the National Stationery Show, and working with Starbucks and Martha Stewart! The quote “you can do anything, but not everything” hit me hard. I will be honest, the past year has had a ton of highs, but I’ve also felt often burnt out and imbalanced trying to do everything. I say this news is bittersweet because getting to this place of realization has given me more clarity than ever for the future of Lily & Val.

It’s been a pleasure serving those in our community, but I feel I can better serve on a much larger scale with the full attention of my efforts turned to our online audience. The mission of Lily & Val centers around the idea of savoring and celebrating ordinary, simple pleasures and I desire to bring that joy, warmth, and encouragement to our customers in everything we do. My goal is to spread our mission and passion to as many people who resonate with what we’re doing. I get messages on an almost daily basis from friends across the world wishing you could visit the store and I want to be sure I am serving all of you the best I know I can. As a small business, these decisions are tough but necessary to make sure we’re staying on track with our values and what’s really important to us. And with that said, I cannot wait for you guys to see what is planned moving forward. I am so passionate about what we’re doing and how exciting our refocused efforts will be.

What you can expect:

As the team charges forward into 2018, the biggest thing you can expect to see is more product and product collaborations from L&V! Last year we held a survey and an overwhelming number of you said you wanted to see more products! We heard you loud and clear. Product development hasn’t progressed nearly as much as I would have liked with divided attention, but moving forward our heartfelt product lineup will continue to expand and I really think you’re going to like what we have coming! With continued product collaborations and partnerships, you will also be able to find L&V in an increased number of stores!

Additionally, more Surprise Boxes filled with L&V curated goods are coming! This is our small way to stay connected to the store by pairing favorite products and handmade items with our own.

It is bittersweet to write this news, friends, but I’m optimistic. I’m excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. Meeting many of you through the store has been a highlight of this past year, thank you to each and every one of you who walked through our pink doors! Ultimately though, my goal is to serve and share L&V with as many of you as I can and I’m excited to have realized that to achieve this, we’ve been pointed in a bigger direction! As always, thank you times a billion for your love, support, and encouragement. It means the world to me.

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  • Reply Emily Kleinhans January 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    So happy that you have peace about it- now let the exciting new chapter begin!

  • Reply Cara January 4, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I didn’t know what to expect when I saw your IG post but I’m delighted in knowing that you’ll still be offering your products and talent.

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks, Cara! Yes! Very excited to continue offering products and more to come! 🙂

  • Reply Karen Capern January 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    You have to listen to your heart, it’s never wrong! Visiting your brick and mortar store is not possible for me, living in a different country, so I’m very excited to know that there will be more product coming to your on-line store! I LOVE your art and wish you all the best!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Karen! That encouragement means so much to em. I’m glad you’re excited – I am too!!

  • Reply scrappin4fleia January 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Hello! I love the feelings behind your decision. You have enjoyed a dream and yet taken time to focus and see where you truly want to go with your brand, so that you don’t kill yourself trying to do everything. Good for you!

    I continue to love your products, and I believe that is because I also love your spirit. Every print and product of Lily&Val brings joy to so many of us. So, I am glad you will continue to create and produce.

    Best of luck and I look forward to seeing where this year leads you!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Ahhh. I can’t tell how much those kind words mean to me. Thank you SO much. <3

  • Reply Ashleigh Tidd January 5, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations on these big decisions! It is always peaceful and motivational to get to this point of change in life and business. You and your team will continue to success and you have loyal customers who will continue to support you. Cheers to 2018!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you, Ashleigh! That encouragement means so much to me!

  • Reply jenniferkentfield January 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Very bittersweet! I would have loved to one day see the store, but being in Canada I knew that potentiality never would have happened. I’m glad you’re expanding online and in stores (hopefully continuing to do things with Indigo!) and I’m excited to see what’s next!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      I’m so glad you feel that way, Jennifer! That’s exactly why we made this hard decision so I’m happy you’re excited. Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot.

  • Reply Betsy January 5, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Our dreams often lead to our greatest adventures! Good luck and I look forward to seeing more of L&V

  • Reply Gwen January 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    I’m truly proud of you for recognizing your best roll for your company. It’s not like there are twelve of you. My dream would be to have Lily and Val stores in old downtowns all over just as Anthropologie expanded. But that may be a great thing for your senior years . It’s exciting that YOU are excited!! Your dreams never imagined a global business, did they?!! Now this is time for rejoicing over your time to get your product out there while we are all so excited about it!!! And hold the 2017 Christmas designs for I will be ordering another one I eyed and have in the card size but want next year in a canvas. I’m saving. Congratulations!!!!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you, Gwen! Your support means so much to me. Thank you for that encouragement.

  • Reply Thea January 5, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    What a heartfelt beautiful and introspective note! Love your work, took your on-line class, own lots of your cards ( that I won’t part with), prints etc. can’t wait to see you in more stores and hear about your collaborations. The best of luck and prayers!

    • Reply Valerie McKeehan January 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Thank you so much, Thea! Your support and prayers mean so much. Thank you.

  • Reply Teresa Stang January 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    So happy to hear the bittersweet news isn’t entirely bad news! It’s great to be busy but not so great to be overwhelmed with your passion. I know this new direction will be a great opportunity for you and your company, and I will continue to support you in spirit even when my bank account isn’t as supportive! Love your talent, Val. You have been blessed with that…and Mak!

  • Reply Laura January 6, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I have been wanting to visit your shop so I will have to do it soon! Love your work and I had noticed that the art on the cup sleeve at Starbucks seemed familiar but I didn’t realize it was yours until I read this post. Best wishes for all your plans!

  • Reply Lauren Waite January 10, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Sweet Val, your talent is limitless but the hours in a day are not! Cheers to you for knowing yourself well and making smart choices even when they are hard. Your store was amazing and so beautiful, so you, and I’m glad I got to visit it, but you (and Mak, and your team) were the best part! You’ll continue to do great things, create beauty and bring joy through all you do!

  • Reply marahfrank January 10, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Will you still be keeping the storefront or is it now going to be an online only business? So happy for you though and the new direction you’re taking. I’m such a fan of Lily & Val. Can’t wait to see the direction it goes this year!

  • Reply Katie January 15, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Sad about this! That rooftop all the way over on the left in your the picture has been my porch since July. Being neighbors with such a great store has been awesome.

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