About 7 years ago the company I was working for moved me to Milwaukee. I had already lived in several different cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Columbus) courtesy of their relocation department and when they moved on, I decided to stay here. I like Milwaukee. I bought a condo downtown and I love it. I sail on Lake Michigan as long as the weather allows. I can walk to the lake, dozens of restaurants, free music events all summer… And then there are the other 8 months of the year. I am writing this blog to show the rest of Milwaukee (and those of you who have lived here all your lives; you know who you are) that there are cool things to do and wonderful ways to spend the cold weather days. OK, and to convince myself.
The job market in Milwaukee is not great (duh) and after unsuccessfully conducting a prolonged job search here, I decided to start my own business and try to make a go of it here, rather than move to..Minneapolis? Back to Chicago? Part of this effort includes getting involved with the people who are trying to make Milwaukee an attractive destination for job seekers and business. I want to stay here because I really like it and I want to be part of the growth here. So I can afford to stay here. And afford to have fun here! My business is recruiting and HR support for small businesses. Check out Work if you want to know more.
Back in the summer of 2003, my sister was in town visiting and we were , of course, shopping. We came across some purses that had been hand made from wooden cigar boxes. They were kind of rough and very expensive. As we were examining them, we looked at each other over the display table and said in unison “I could do that. And do it much better!” A couple weeks later, after I my sister had gone back home to Cardiff, I was exploring a neighborhood cigar bar in the late afternoon (I had recently been laid off and what else is there to do in the late afternoon if you are not working) and struck up a conversation with the bartender about what they did with the empty boxes. She took me into the humidor and showed me stacks and stacks of empty cigar boxes and said “take all you want.” A few glasses of wine and several garbage bags later (or was it several glasses of wine and a few bags..), I walked out with forty or fifty empty cigar boxes. And so began MyCigarPurses.com. I never set out to make a lot of money or to begin a new career, but rather appriciated the creative outlet as a way to keep my sanity after 10 years of being a workaholic abruptly ended with a short note from my employer. Along the way I have learned a lot about varnish, cigars, PayPal, HTML, Keywords, and things that work in a collage and things that don’t. I hope you enjoy my creations. I have since found (and lost) other jobs and finally started my own business. Although I don’t have the time to make as many new purses as I once did I still enjoy doing it. I hope you enjoy them too.