The weather has been AMAZING this summer. Which for me, personally, is great because I am like a hothouse flower and I needs the heat and the sun to be happy. I live for summer.
Great weather is not so good for retail. When every day is a beach day, that doesn't leave much time for shopping days.
I spent the spring getting the shop ready, placing orders, arranging displays, doing all the stuff, and then....
Feels like getting stood up for the prom! Ahhhh, retail. That wiley bastard.
We have yet to have a great summer season here and it's been three years. When we opened, we thought summer would be our big time. But it turns out that we actually do better at the winter holidays. And I mean we do better than the summer, not that we do great.
I know many people who would say I shouldn't say this out loud. Or write it here for the whole world to see.
Well, F that S.
It is a sensitive subject, and I do feel awkward about it. But you know I believe in not fostering illusions about this stuff. Does me talking about this make my shop any less awesome? No, it doesn't.
Writing about it here helps me to regroup and rally and take some of the sting out of it. Talking about the reality of small business ownership might make someone think about supporting their local economy a little more, or might comfort another business owner who is struggling. Totally worth it.
I love my shop, I love what I'm doing---it is a dream come true.
I have yet to take a paycheck from it and I get very discouraged by it sometimes. I give up about ten times a day, I really do. But then a customer will come in who loves the shop and tells me that they are inspired by what I'm doing and I remember why I'm here.
I want this. I love it. I love my customers who come in just to be uplifted by the atmosphere. I love it when people walk around the shop and giggle to themselves at some of my silly stuff. I love it when they tell me they keep up with what I'm doing on facebook. I love this community and I want to invest in it, build it up into something that sustains me. I want to connect with people and bring something to the table.
I want that, I crave it and it is worth working for.
We are committed. We have something unique and wonderful to offer. We are just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. People do love the shop when they come in, we just need to get more people inb the door. We'll figure it out and the economy will shift and things will get better. (right?)
One thing to celebrate: we won the Silver Award for Best Gift Shop on the Mid-Cape in the Cape Cod Life Magazine Reader's Poll! That's kind of a big deal around here. Thank you SO MUCH if you voted for us!
If you love a local business, please GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to support it. If you can't patronize it yourself for whatever reason, please GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to send your friends in. Even if you think they don't need it! Make it your mission to help your favorite businesses survive!
I am using this time to rethink some things, examine what I can do (in addition to working a part time job, which I do) while we work toward our goal of having the shop be successful and profitable. Who knows, maybe I'll do something really awesome and I'll be glad I had to rethink things.
And yes, I have been painting a lot while it is slow. And I have been selling many of those paintings in a gallery (omg, yay!)--- which I will write about soon. The response to my new work has been awesome and it is inspiring me to do more and more. I think I'm going to reopen my web shop so people can shop for them online if they like. See, good stuff.
I am just going to keep plugging away until the next time I give up (probably in an hour.) And then I am going to (eventually) regroup and start again.
And now I am going to blow your mind by quoting Jon Bon Jovi:
"Success is falling nine times and gettin up ten."
P.S. Awesome photo of me and my honey Stuart by the amazing Stacey Hedman!