Partnership: When One Door Closes


It was inevitable. The end of Playing with Boys.

It was.

I do not say this maliciously, but sadly and thankfully.

Playing with Boys is the styling and boutique venture I launched with an acquaintance then, now, friend in 2010.

Over the course of my marriage, I had this dream of owning and operating my own styling and design company. I could not pursue it because I was the primary breadwinner and that meant I was responsible for ensuring my 9to5 career was successful; for bringing in enough money to keep the household afloat. Every now and then I would work on a plan. Keeping its treasures stored in my locked file cabinet. it was called Nicole Chandler, named after my niece and nephew. What was Nicole Chandler became Playing with Boys when I met her.

I wanted to partner with someone in this venture because I was scared I didn’t have what it took on my own. I was also scared I would flake out, and wanted someone to hold me accountable. It was also important to me to partner with someone whom I respected their style and business sense but that if things went wrong, we wouldn’t ruin a 20 year friendship. She was perfect. We got along, her style was/is impeccable (and I use that term very judiciously). She is intelligent and had already owned a successful business.

I was thrilled when she said yes. We began meeting and planning. We would make little steps in the way of progress but we would stall every few months due to life circumstances. All completely understandable. When this happened, we would touch base, regroup, and restart with a new resolve and new direction. This happened a few times.

Our last  restart, at the beginning of 2013 was our greatest. Our focus in the company’s vision, its purpose, and our working relationship was the best its been. But alas, God has other plans. He always does, no?

Life, albeit great changes in my business partner’s life, impacted our schedule once again. My work life, has become unstable, impacting our schedule once again. And today, at the prompting of my business partner, who has more courage than I, our partnership has ended.

I am sad. But as I reflect over the past three years, I have to ask myself what God’s real purpose in bringing us together was. To launch a fashion empire, or to build something greater? Perhaps to take an acquaintance and make her a life-long friend.

    • Someone who was there to drag me out of the house when the sadness over my divorce would rise up.
    • Someone to troll new and different restaurants with when everyone else thought the menu sounded weird.
    • Me to be a friend to her when her relationship ended suddenly.
    • Or to open my home when she decided to move back to Chicago and needed a place to stay while she purchased a new condo.

The fact that we could make such a big decision over breakfast and still hug and laugh at its close is a testament to the bond built between us since 2010.

The one lesson God teaches me – us – daily is that we cannot predict the day’s course nor that of the next. Just because I want something to work out, to be something amazing, doesn’t mean that it will. Just because I think something has no chance and that I’m forcing it, doesn’t mean it won’t turn out to be a pivotal and defining moment in my life.

Playing with Boys is both those instances rolled into one. It brought me a new friend. It has pushed me to do and try my hand at new things. It has taught me my style voice is unique and special. It has fulfilled its purpose in my life. I am okay with what will be its perceived failure to the rest of the world. It won’t be my first and likely not my last.

As they so often say, because its true and because it brings us comfort: When one door closes, another one opens. Yes, it may sting a bit when the door closes. Probably because our foot is wedged in the corner. Take heed in this though – it is only logical that time freed from one thing be expended elsewhere – hence the new door must open. What could you be doing if  you moved your foot out of the way?

Cheers to open doors in my life and yours! Let’s walk through them boldly together. Thankful for the experience the last has brought us and hopeful for what is waiting on the other side.

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