Friday, April 12, 2013

The New Kid and Retail Realities

Not unlike pre-Miyagi Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid, I'm the new kid on the block and feeling it.
Those of you who moved a lot in your adolescent school years know what I mean...You may have been the most popular kid at your old school but you may as well just hope for the apocalypse the first few days/weeks at your new school, as it's quite possibly a more acceptable option in that moment than the feeling of being "new".

I don't just embrace change I actively seek it, so the pre-Miyagi phase of moving the shop to a new town has swept the leg, Johnny.  Crept up on me like an unwelcome Karate Kid reference.  Since the hubbub of a successful warehouse sale, the truly amazing Hope Helpers event, the move, the setup of the new shop, and an overwhelmingly awesome grand opening has ended, now I am left feeling...less than regular.  It's slow.  AND it's new.  SO.  It must be that it's slow because it's new, right?  That equates to feeling unsure and uneasy.  Add that with a lot of painting to do and a slow week of sales and here I am sniffing my armpits and asking, "Does this smell like desperation to you?"

This is when I get "super sensey-poo", as my husband calls it.  I can't control the volume of my voice when I say hello, I think everyone hates my stuff.  You see, as a retailer trying to grow and support a family...when I'm not balls to the wall busy, I start to think a lunatic's thoughts.  You suck, no one loves you, why are you so repulsive to others, here's what you could or should be doing differently, your ideas are dumb, you're weird, all of your clothes are ugly, you're a hack.  Not thoughts:  it's the week prior to taxes being due.  The weather sucks.  Others are slow this week.  It's RETAIL, stupid! know this!

And I do.  I have been here before.  Let us travel back in time to Memorial Day weekend 2012. The shop had been open for a couple of weeks and I had planned a big 3 day extravaganza for the holiday, starting on Friday afternoon with Happy Hour.  Mom and Denniel were there, we had the wine out, the food out, the store all cute...and know how many people showed?  Think less than one. Zero.  I cried.  It was a sense of disappointment and embarrassment I had not experienced since I was a little kid.  And by little kid, I mean high school (high school was awful).  I cried at the shop, I cried in the car on the way home, at home, and I cried on the way in to work on Saturday.  On Saturday, not one person walked in the door. 
So I closed the shop and kept it closed for a few days.  Surely no one would miss the rest of my Memorial Day spectacular.  They didn't.
The next week?  We had a wonderful new customer come all the way from Marysville, she bought out the place and became not only our savior, but a very good friend.  The next week?  I sold my first big painted piece. Met two designers that became integral parts of our shop, painted out and got a ton of gorgeous inventory in, we were featured in a blog, the shop started to look like something.  Looking back on it now...that's when lots of good things started happening.

The point is, retail is a fickle broad.  She will start out with a slammed door in your face.  And then smother you with kisses to make it all better right before she kicks you in the chest.  It's a roller coaster ride.  And it takes time.  It really does, even when your bills are like, "yeah, you're kinda outta time".  Or your family is like, " is THIS gonna go"...just keep on going.  I know all of these things.  But being in this new and totally better location still gives me pause.  I catch myself wondering if I would be busier IN MY OLD LOCATION BETWEEN A POT DISPENSARY AND A GHETTO HAIR SALON.  Lunatic thoughts.  See?  Told you.

So though I would rather it just be easy, I know it was hard and it still is.  The friends, the godsends, they make it worth it.  The "I brought you wine and a custom order" sweethearts that own your building that you love like family already, the "I left my shop and came down to your shop because I know you needed a laugh today" love of a friend, the sweet words and encouragement of others, the texts, the husband dropping off the Antiques sign I've wanted for months (that my auntie bought for the shop), there's so much that is good.  It doesn't pay the bills during the slow times, but it makes you feel rich.

So maybe this weekend will be another Memorial Day 2012 massacre.  Can't help it.  It's retail.  It's a slow week.  I'll survive somehow.  I don't suck, I'm weird in a good way, and ya know what?   Sunday I am taking the whole day off.  Hopefully not to cry all day, but hey, we'll see what the fickle broad brings us tomorrow!

I sure do love this place, and you guys.  You're all Miyagi's in my book.



  1. You are the best Mandi!! Don't change a thing! We all love your "uniqueness". So glad I have been fortunate enough to get to know you!

    1. You are awesome, lady! So happy to know you too!

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  2. OMGosh... April has always been the worst! Who planned that "the people" would pay their Fed Taxes and two weeks later, their Property Taxes! The Stup!!

    I remember when "we" (the downtown merchants) decided to start a new event called, "Bring in Spring" where the shops would open early & have a progressive breakfast for our Customers. Off we went to the Black Diamond Bakery, spent a crap load of $$$ so our treats would be the best, and when we opened we probably were lucky to have a dozen ladies show up! The Sumner Senior Center ended up being the lucky recipients of 75% of our delicious treats. "I got a million of em for you..."

    Do whatever you need to renew your soul: cry, scream, laugh until you pee yourself (you might be too young for that one!) and then count your blessings. Like Ms Marysville! Like Persnickety's Awesomeness Emporium wanting to move to our adorable downtown. Like wanting to love our building & seeing her potential. Like putting the Totally Awesome-ess Mandi in our lives. I thank Him for YOU, one of my blessings!!!

  3. I found you on Facebook recently and have been seeing your updates and totally rooting for you. You have such an fun energy, it makes me want to come to your shop and check it out, which I'm going to do next time I'm near Sumner. I'm sure there are lots of others you are reaching on Facebook. I think we all feel the way you described at one time or another. Keep on going girl, it's all about the journey!