Friday, May 16, 2014

Sometimes Yes Begins With No

I was invited recently by someone compiling an anthology to send in a submission for consideration.  The project was called "The Book of Yes" and she was interested in essays that embodied whatever "Yes" meant to any of us.  Ultimately my essay was not selected.

I think she was looking one of my more tear-inducing pieces (despite being someone I like to believe is somewhat fun in person, the reaction I get most often to much of my writing is "I cried buckets"), but that wasn't what I was inspired to do.  When I tried to think of something I specifically chose to say "Yes" to, what came to mind was opening my store.

In any case, I thought since she can't use it I would share it here.  Hope you enjoy it!

by Korinthia Klein

I never thought I wanted to run my own violin store. The responsibility of it all was daunting. It was enough to work for others and let them shoulder the burden of inventory and taxes and customer relations. I just wanted to fix violins and make them play. That was plenty.

But I had a lot of ideas, and I knew I would run a violin store differently from places where I'd worked. As a player and a teacher myself I knew what sorts of instruments were needed in the community that weren’t being provided. I knew what kind of service would be appreciated. I could envision a space where I could create something friendly and new.

The main thing holding me back, when I was honest with myself, was that I felt inadequate that I couldn't offer everything a full service violin store would have. How could I run a violin shop if I didn’t offer obscure repairs? Most customers want appraisals and that was not something I was prepared to do. What about advanced bow work? I could only do basic work on bows. The skills I had were good, but limited. I didn't feel qualified to run a violin store because I couldn't do everything. I continued working where I was working and kept my ideas to myself.

However, when my husband was deployed to Iraq the first time it became too difficult to care for my small children and continue to work outside the home. I built my own instruments during scraps of time as the baby slept or the girls played, but my connection to the store where I did repairs wore thin. Eventually my husband returned from overseas to a situation where neither of us had a job and we had to figure out what to do. We decided to use his combat pay to open up a store.

The real moment when the idea of my own violin store was something that seemed possible was not when the finances became available or the circumstances seemed right. It wasn’t about a moment of “Yes.” It was when I realized it was within my power to say "No." I discovered that if someone came into my store and asked for a neck graft or a headplate or an appraisal, I was allowed to say, "No, I'm sorry, we don't do that." “No” was okay. When it hit me that I didn't have to do everything, that what I did have to offer could be enough, my world opened up. It was okay to just do what I do. By having the freedom to say “No” to some things, I could say “Yes” to so much more.

Now I run a store with my husband and I couldn’t ask for anything better. It's wonderful to have space to do what interests me and be able to offer a service I am proud of with nobody above me to limit my vision. This freedom now extends to my life beyond work. In particular I think I’m a better parent for not feeling I must do everything. I'm not drowning in “Yes” at the expense of “Enough.”

Today my world is full of “Yes,” but only because I no longer feel I must apologize for “No.”


  1. It takes a lot of guts to start your own business- I'm glad you said yes (no) to that! Great writing , as usual!

  2. I'm with Lisa, it DOES take a lot of guts to start your own business!

  3. Been meaning to comment on this since I read it and this my first chance. First, this is a great essay and I wish it was picked. I really liked your having to say no to get a yes moment. Second, you are a total rockstar starting your own business.