This was me, back in July 2004 full of the excitement of embarking on my new venture. I was Susan Mann. I'd been living permanently in America for two whole years, and I was a soapmaker. This was going to be my office. It was going to be my workspace. This was my Manor Hall. In my hand is my hang tag. Oh, I was so proud, but it would be another nine months before I settled on the real identity that would become Manor Hall.
Back home in England, manor houses were grand. They were a picture of great british establishment, standing on land passed down through generations and dating way back to the 1200's. Where knights carried off ladies on the back of their horses, and the Lord and Lady of the manor reigned supreme.
My Manor Hall was originally intended to be a black and white affair. Modelled after the Tudor homes that so grandly stand with huge black beams, interspaced with white facings. I was ordinary folk, but setting up my little soap empire afforded me the opportunity to be the Lady of my own Manor. Being Susan Mann, it also played off my name nicely, and the thought of my grown up children being able to tell all their friends that mother owns a Manor Hall amused me greatly.
So, for a while, my fairy tale Manor Hall Soap Company was black on white...
...until Jason gave me the splash. You can even see it in the corner of the original design. I fell in love with it straight away, and as those first few months of the development stage passed we came up with many designs in search of the right glass slipper for our Cinderella of soap.
Every year since 2004, we've taken a break over the Christmas holidays. We use this to sit and reflect on our past year, and chew the fat over what's to come for the new year ahead. This year things were delayed a little due to him needing major surgery, but that didn't stop us plotting and planning and setting our goals while he was in the hospital.
My little soap company has grown every year since it began, and although this year has started a little late for us, new growth is planned. The office is having a much needed makeover, and the new flatpack furniture we bought back in November from IKEA, will finally be opened. But first comes the painting. The room in the photo above, once more finds itself empty. The computer and other office essentials have been moved temporarily into the shipping and stock room, so as not to interrupt the flow of day to day soapy business. By the weekend, I should be doing the happy dance once again.
It's strange how things sometimes come full circle. There I was back in 2004 with a black on white vision for my Tudor styled soap company. That soon gave way to a splash of color, and here I am all these years later looking around that empty room again where it all began. I'm painting a nice modern neutral, and guess what I'm filling it with? Yes, I'm filling it with a chic look of black furniture. And you just know that it'll be accessorized with... a splash of color. All from IKEA of course. For although I may dream of being titled English gentry... I'm just ordinary folk. And ordinary folk can't afford Chippendale stuff.
P.S. - Chippendale is antique English furniture dating back to the mid-18th century. My husband just read this and told me what "Chippendales" is in America. :D