Friday, 5 February 2016

2016, what can I say…..

I guess there has been quite a time lapse between now and the last time I wrote anything. This is partly due to not having anything to say about January…like, nothing. Nothing notable happened that I can recall. I probably could have closed the store for three weeks and nobody would have been the wiser, except for maybe my plants. Although, I think my constant presence is doing my plants a disservice. I water them five times a day because they look like they’re dying, not realizing that I’m probably the one killing them. It’s like a plant Munchausen syndrome by proxy thing going on.  

January though….just a lot of long, dark afternoons puttering around, trying to stave off blood clots. Everyone warned me that January would be a drag. Even people who had no business warning me of such things were showing their grave concern. I’ve kind of become accustomed to well-wishers grave concern for my future though, so I pay it no mind.

I haven’t set too many lofty 2016 goals yet, I’m not sure what is more effective, thinking big picture or setting smaller, more attainable goals. I prefer to take things day by day, so the small and attainable goals give me less of a headache. Goal #1 is to get online! Online is the present and future, and I am clearly living in the past. It doesn’t seem like that major of an undertaking, but I don’t really know where to even begin. Every day I sit down at the computer and think, today is the day! Not. The payment processing and shipping stuff is the confusing part for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a dizzy broad and many simple tasks confuse me. The simplest solution would be to get someone else to do it, but that would be too easy.

I’ll figure it out.

I feel like ‘I’ll figure it out’ and ‘I’ll get around to it’ are things I say way too often lately. Not to add to my pile of excuses, but I think the inertia of January made me lazy in a lot of ways. Mentally and definitely physically! Yikes. Mark my words, I’ll set that online store up, and I’ll be jogging on spot while doing so! When? I can’t comment on that, but I’ll get around to it.  


Saturday, 5 December 2015

I don’t respond well to criticism…

Not to be flippant or overly dramatic, but the emotional spectrum that I experience in response to criticism is not unlike the stages one goes through when dealing with grief and loss. There’s a lot of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and eventually acceptance. I would have thought art school would have strengthened my immunity to criticism, but I think it did exactly the opposite.I used to balk at my scholarly comrades who would be flipping out over their exam that they had months to prepare for and would be writing in a sea of hundreds of faces. At least if you fail the test you fail in anonymity. Try failing publicly in front of a class of fifteen of your peers! I guess that experience speaks to a larger fear of putting myself out there in general, but that’s another story. I need to be eased gently and slowly into a critique, like an old man getting into an Epsom salt bath. You can’t just dump a bucket of water over my head!  

I found myself in a situation recently where I was on the brunt end of some criticism masquerading as advice. It was kind of a point by point rundown of all the things I was doing wrong, which seemed to be everything, because we were talking for quite a while. After the unpleasantness was over, I just thought, what am I supposed to do with this information? This person made it seem like I should just flip the closed sign, board up the window and skip town. Could it really be THAT bad? Damn. I suppose I'm an easy target and wear my insecurity on my sleeve, it’s pretty obvious to anyone with a shred of awareness. 

If only everyday could be like November's Shop the Neighbourhood event!  

My Ma always says ‘bullshit baffles brains’ and I’m starting to think this is true. I meet other business folk who seem to exude a natural confidence. I often misconstrue this confidence for arrogance and smugness, but they are simply just baffling my brain with their bullshit. It really works! But how? Is this skill innate? Can I learn it? And if I can learn it, is it going to cost me money like some bogus motivational seminar?

Other than the week I spent in the throes of some emotional episode, November shaped up to be an alright month! It seems like for every negative Nancy there are five positive, delightful souls waiting in the wings to boost your spirits. Unfortunately for me, and most others, it's usually the negative ones we tend to dwell on. 

I have high expectations for December, I don’t typically like to have expectations, but I have to assume people need Christmas presents, non? 

Happy holidays! xx 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Two full months down!

Boom. Feels more like two years. The dizzying highs, the terrifying lows, I’ve experienced them all in these two months! October was strange, not sure how I feel about how October went yet, I only have September to compare it to. I’ve been using this blog as a forum to unburden myself of all my concerns, outrages and insecurities, but I think I need to temper my moan-y, groan-y ways before I get a reputation as the neighbourhood Eeyore. I’m already the Eeyore of my family and social circles, I don’t need that following me everywhere!

I hate the term 'spirit animal' but I can't fight mine

I think it has felt like longer than two months because all of my previous jobs had known expiration dates. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and that was motivating, and oftentimes relieving. For instance, my illustrious career as an English teacher to children. There is no way I could have weathered that storm without knowing the school year had to end eventually. I had many a ‘wtf am I doing with my life?’ moment whilst writhing around on the carpet of a communist style kindergarten, getting flashcards whipped at my head and watching anarchy unfold around me. Talk about character building. Anyway, I guess the point is to start setting goals to stave off stagnation and stop looking at this as if it were a job, when it is (hopefully) a career. This month’s goal will be to make enough money to pay the rent. Setting the bar real high with that one!

I put a lot of stock into my fortune cookie wisdom

If these two months have taught me anything, it’s that I need to stay open-minded and be receptive to feedback and criticisms. I’m seeing what works and what doesn’t, and I’m not going to be stubborn and stick to a failing formula, so I need to shift gears and refine my vision. As much as I am a second-hand rose and love the hunt and gather of vintage, I think it might have to take a less prominent role. What was once a fringe fascination for some, is now quite mainstream. The market here seems to be so over saturated with second-hand and consignment shops that I am kind of getting lumped in and lost in the shuffle. The challenge has now shifted to finding reasonably priced, quality new things that are preferably made in Canada. Believe it or not, that is a challenge! But challenge accepted, as there seems to be a growing demand for such things. My neighbour down the street owns a great shop that specializes in made in Canada menswear, and I’m sure he can attest to this!
So, I wouldn’t be staying true to myself and the essence of the blog if I didn’t air at least one grievance, so here it goes! You know what I am kind of tired of hearing? The people who come in here and say things like, “wow, you’re so brave, it’s a tough business, real tough, you sure have guts, hope you can make a go of it…” Ya, thanks, so do I? You know what I think takes a lot of guts, actually saying that to somebody. I’m not sure if people think they can be patronizing because I am young-ish, but I’m pretty sure If I were in my 60’s they wouldn’t be saying that to me. If you’re so concerned about my future success, maybe you should actually support small businesses instead of standing around aghast and undermining my confidence.

That being said, I offend easily, and maybe these people meant no harm by saying such things, but it’s just not something I want to hear, ya know? 99.9% of everyone else I meet here is absolutely wonderful and supportive, and it’s really cool to start feeling like I am a part of a community!


Friday, 9 October 2015

has it been four weeks yet?

I forgot how frustratingly predictable, yet unpredictable retail can be. I can sit here for hours on end in my pristine palace without a soul in sight, but the second I find myself with something I have to do, or on a day when I didn’t have time to sweep, that’s when things fall into disrepair and everyone comes in all at once. Or I’ll have a particularly good sales day and feel, you know, hopeful for the future and whatnot, then the universe has to balance itself out and someone will come back with a return! Is that what they call Murphy's law?

It’s ridiculous. Let me see…..I’m feeling rather uninspired. At a time when I need to be putting myself out there I kind of want to retreat more than ever. I’m finding the social media aspect of things the most daunting. It’s hard to separate business from personal. I’m not an avid sharer in my regular life, so it’s hard to flip a switch and start inundating people daily with miscellany on a million different platforms. I would snicker at my grandparents when they would go on diatribes about how ‘the Facebook’ is up to no good and how does it know that I know this person? Etc, etc. I am that curmudgeon now, shaking my fist at Twitter and Instagram. Is there something I’m missing here? There are people on Instagram who have 5 pictures of a tree or something banal, and they’ll have 5000 followers. I’m starting to think half of Instagram is all porn spam accounts or something, because I’m just NOT getting it. Too tardy to the Instagram party I guess.

Give me some more good old-fashioned newspaper advertising!  

Another bugaboo of late is the business of networking! Having never had to do anything like this before, I am quite unpracticed to say the least. I feel like Eliza Doolittle, perhaps a little too crass and rough around the edges at times. I was out to dinner with someone the other night and was asked to name three interesting things about myself. Duuuuhhhhhh, what?? I couldn’t think of ANYTHING. NOTHING. Unbelievable. I’ve never thought of myself as an uninteresting person, have I been wrong all this time? I do not know how to play the game. These are things I should probably have ready to dispense at all times, concise little eloquent elevator pitches. Homework!

Happy Thanksgiving! xx 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

So the dust has settled and reality has set in...

I guess I would be lying if I said it has been easy so far. It’s not all sunshine, lollipops and Instagram vignettes! It’s more like stress, loneliness and invoice statements. I suppose I never really expected it to be easy, but I am impatient. I’m in my fourth week now, the big hope was that come September the tides will change, people will be back from the cottage and life will be as it was. September will save all! I’m not so sure about that anymore. So far all September has delivered are personal set-backs and rainy Saturdays. My natural state is already pretty melancholy, so I need to work overtime to produce some positive energy or I’m going to be in trouble. I guess there is a lot of change happening all at once, which I typically welcome. I suppose one of the most difficult transitions has been settling into my new-ish life. As much as I like my new neighbourhood I don’t feel 100% settled in and comfortable here yet. Again, impatient.

I have to keep repeating ‘it’s only been 4 weeks…’ to myself over and over again like a mantra. But as the weeks go by that is going to become less and less comforting! I’m not throwing in the towel, I mean, it’s only been four weeks and all, but I need to strategize hard! I just don’t really know what I can do from inside the store. I’m here damn near 6 days a week for eight hours, but it somehow feels counterproductive. I can’t explain it, it’s not like I would be flying a plane over Port Credit trailing a Lakeshore Superette banner, but I feel like there is more I could and should be doing to drum-up some business. I should also mention, these things need to cost little to no money – that’s crucial. Suggestions? Thoughts?

The fortune cookie can see my potential! 

Anyway, hopefully four weeks from now I will re-read this, shake my head and proclaim ‘what was I so worried about!?’ because everything worked itself out so nicely! Yep, that’s what is going to happen! Even if it doesn’t, I’ll tell you that it has anyway, so we can all feel better!  

Until then. xx

Friday, 28 August 2015

one week down…

So, my first week as a captain of industry is done. I think it went alright? I mean, it wasn’t Black Friday at Best Buy or anything, but it was a respectable week. Better than a kick in the head! I think it’s going to take a while to get going, the streets are pretty quiet during the week. I’m not exactly a social media genius, so I need to hatch some alternative schemes to get noticed. There are just too many platforms out there, I can’t keep it straight. Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc, etc. I used to think blogs were just for nerds and narcissists, but here we are!   

It has been quite some time since I’ve worked in retail, so I’m a little rusty. I’ve got zero hustle and I’m still super uncomfortable with just about everything. It takes me forever to ring things up and double check that I’m doing it right, which I’m probably not. I’ll find that out when I get audited by the government most likely. I’ve also forgotten about the long bouts of quiet and inactivity that come along with working in a small business. I sit quietly for hours, and then when someone finally comes in I get spooked. I’ve also realized I am horrendous at small talk. After being quiet for so long, words come out all wrong, intonation gets all wonky, my only recourse would be to pretend that I am just some goof that’s been hired and not the owner of the store.

                     Flowers with warm sentiments attached are my favorite kind! 
                                 Balloons galore! 


All things considered, I’m still pretty jazzed! Making a sale is a total rush! I double and triple check the inventory system every time I make a sale to see if it’s for real!  I feel like I have known every single thing in this store like an old friend, from their origins as a series of piles at my house and into the spotlight. What a wild ride!

Here’s hoping for an even better second week! xx


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

looks like my days are numbered….

The day has finally come! I’ll be opening my doors this Saturday! Am I ready? Mentally no, but everything else is good to go! I think I’ve got everything pretty well in hand, that is until a real person comes walking through the door, then all bets are off. I’m going to keep this short and sweet, so here are a few pictures to brighten up your day!

I didn't forget about the fellas!

Anybody who has spent more than five minutes with me knows I love a good mirror! A cell phone I can live without, but no mirror? Forget about it. So what better thing to give away for my opening day than a Lakeshore Superette compact!

If you should find yourself in the Port Credit, Mississauga area, pop by 308 Lakeshore road East and give us a visit!