I spent some time with a brick and mortar boutique owner the other day. She was frustrated with some things going on in the store and wasn’t sure how to address them, other than going to a therapist. I listened to her articulate her problems and feelings and oh boy, did it all sound familiar. A flood of memories came back to me as I attempted to give her advice. And I honestly thought it was good advice, too. It all sounded so easy 6 years after closing my own store. That buffer of time had also allowed me to remove so much of that emotion that used to overwhelm and paralyze me, too.
I read my old blog posts and cringe with embarrassment. I’ve never been the best at writing, but those passages made it wildly obvious that I didn’t know what I was doing with writing or running a store.
I started this blog in 2006 to talk about owning a store, to share my merchandising pictures and for general marketing purposes. It quickly turned into a venue to vent and clearly convey to the world that I was lost, but trying to have sense of humor about it (and to show them that I liked using winky faces liberally). If you’d like to read those passages, click on the business-a-go-go category on the right.
Opening, managing and running a store is an art. An exhausting, rewarding, ever-changing art. I’ve worked retail for years and put my wares into craft fairs and swap meets, but never owned a physical store. There’s the paperwork, the initial setup, the buying, the merchandising, the self evaluations, the unpacking, the bill paying, the form filling, the law abiding, the shoplifting, the overwhelming amounts of cardboard, the surprises, more surprises, the cleaning… but the emotional. Nobody tells you about the emotional. Only the owners know about this. And in 2006, I finally got to know what it was like to be a brick and mortar owner, with those dreaded huge emotions.
I’m not sure if the emotions come from realizing that your work is never done, or you could always do more or do better or work harder… or is it the ruminating on how you interacted with a customer that day or a vendor that was flip. Or maybe it’s only the sensitive store owners that go through this. I’m really not sure… but I’d like to explore it.
All I know now is that I have a story to tell, advice to give and if you or someone you know is going through “Brick and Mortar Emotions”, I invite you to join my brand new Facebook Page, “Retail Therapy” and share your story, ask questions or give advice to anyone else who needs it.
Hope to see you there!