Friday, February 22, 2013

The Trials & Tribulations of Opening Shop...

**Disclaimer:  This is a ridiculously long post that breaks the Cardinal rule of blogging by having only wild amounts of text, and no pictures included for visual stimuli.  If you are continuing without coffee in hand, you do so at your own risk...

So, yeah, it's been like, forever, since I've done a real big-girl blog post, and it's because I've been insanely busy, to an unhealthy degree.  So last night, Hubby and I sat down and had a little chat about business, and what's working and what's not.  And here's what we came up with:

~Opening Day will be more of a "soft open" as opposed to a great, big, wild shindig.  Hopefully my sign will be up on the front of the building within the next week, and you'll be able to find me.  Once it's up, I'm open. Yup, it'll be that anticlimactic.
~For the immediate future anyway, the shop will be primarily a production space, with a secondary function of being a retail space, and not the other way around.  Yes, you will absolutely be able to shop there, and yes you'll definitely be able to come in and say hi whenever I'm there.  The comfy hanging-out chair is most definitely staying.
~There will be yet another label re-design in the coming weeks (hopefully the last).  Now that I have someone printing them for me (part of me finally learning to ask for help), I'm designing them to be easier on the guys printing them, easier on me to design, and ultimately easier on my customers to get a solid view of the "brand."  Stay tuned for a reveal in the next couple of weeks.
~We will be streamlining the product line a bit to include a more cohesive skincare line, full line of perfume options, and doing away with some of the poorer sellers.  Even though I wicked like the soap cubes, they are extremely costly to make, not great sellers, and it's the only thing in my line that I don't make totally from scratch.  So they're going away.  Soap will be back when Hubby masters making a handmade version done the old-fashioned way.
~Which brings me to my last new thing, and that's bringing on Hubby to share in a bit of the fun.  He's still keeping his full-time job, so his part in HOUSE 54 will be pretty minimal for now, but it'll still be a huge help to me to have extra hands around every now and then.    

And here are the main reasons why we decided this:

1.  We decided that bigger is not always better.  Get your minds out of the gutter, and hear me out... Recently I was contacted by a major retailer (that shall remain nameless) about the possibility of carrying my products.  I instantly got stars in my eyes, because it would mean that with just this one account, my products would end up all over the country, and I'd get an insane amount of exposure for my business (not to mention money in the bank).  I bent over backwards to get them what they were going to need for a meeting happening within days of them contacting me.  I stayed up insanely late in a household with a baby that gets up insanely early, I missed an evening with my family, and I missed yoga that week because I was running around trying to get this sample order together.  Then I heard nothing back from them.  So after spending a small fortune (and another opening day financial set-back) to overnight ship a wild amount of product, and then not get any feedback from them after their meeting, I was a bit bummed out.  And also a bit more motivated to make sure that my business grows at a manageable rate... at rate at which I will always have the time, or be able to hire someone who has the time to respond to emails, even if the answer is, "thank you for your time, but we decided to pass on your product for the following reasons..."  Basically we decided that we want our business to be able to pay our bills  but not grow so huge that we loose sight of the fact that we're still dealing with people who have lives outside their work, and should be treated with respect and kindness.

2.  I've been hit with the reality truck over these last few weeks, and am coming to terms with the unfair realization that rainbows and unicorns are not responsible for getting businesses off the ground.  Things don't always go as planned, and I'm working on being OK with that.  At yoga the other night my indescribably awesome yoga teacher, Abbi, asked us what we wanted for our practice that day.  I said, to have the ability to "just go with it."  It's something I need to bring to my everyday life, and It's something I'm working really hard on.

3.  Part of being able to "just go with it," was coming to the realization that I needed to let go of my inner OCD control-freak, and ask for help.  Up until very recently, I was the only person doing work for my company.  I was the maker of all the products, the keeper of the books, the designer, the human resources department, the janitor, the carpenter, the errand runner, and also the doer of all the little side projects.  Oh, and also the full-time daycare provider for the children of my only employee...(me).  This could only go on for so long before I totally lost my shit.

So thank you everyone for stepping up when I asked for your help these last few weeks, even if it was just to let me vent to you about my frustrations, and thank you to anyone who's actually still reading this insanely long post.

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. You should attempt to contact said nameless national retailer. Maybe they just got busy and need that reminder that you're serious. Unless of course you didn't want that to happen anyway...Just my thoughts (and PS, if you ever need help, I am free evenings and weekends :) )

    1. I actually did contact them again with a friendly reminder. That email, also, unfortunately, went unanswered. you're the sweetest! Just keep doing what you're doing and spreading the word about the new kid on the block. Thank you!

  2. love this! And we wholeheartedly agree with going small... do what you can when you can. Dont apologize but do just be realistic with people. Plus I think letting the professionals handle parts of the business that you arent fully invested in is a bonus too, they are usually good at what they do for a reason and it is worth it to pay for it! Good for you, Torrey and I have these 'talks' either late night or in the car frequently, they arent always fun but much needed! Cant wait to come visit your shop :)

    1. Can't wait for you to come visit! You guys were the first ones that I hired anything out to, and you set the bar as far as I'm concerned. You made it way less scary to relinquish some control and, as you say, let the pros handle it. What Torrey came up with for my logo was exactly what I had in my head, but even better, because it had that awesome, uniquely "Torrey's stuff" look to it. I can't thank you guys enough. PS: on a totally different subject, are you guys applying for the Summer Renegade this year?