Thursday, December 13, 2018

Who Am I Kidding?

Who am I kidding?

That’s what I want to know.

For the past three years I have been dreaming about reopening a little shop. I’ve continued to do some custom framing on the side - after closing my framing and gift shop in 2004 I kept all the equipment for custom framing - and have done a little here and there for myself and for others. But I haven’t had a supplier for product. Which meant that once my inventory of mat boards and length moulding was used up, I was pretty much out of business.

So then I contacted my old supplier, who is still one of the leading wholesalers in the industry. They have pretty strict standards on who they sell to and I wasn’t even sure that I would qualify - not having a real storefront with real business hours. But they agreed to take me on and so I decided it was time to get back into the retail world. 

Except that a full year went by and I still didn’t have an actual retail space set up.

I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to convert one bedroom in our house to a retail studio. I wanted to set up an area for people to be able to come to select mats and frames for their artwork and such. I also wanted to display my handcrafted items in this same space. I would be open by appointment and by chance, as well as having actual store hours a couple of days a week. 

The problem was that I could never quite get things into order to accomplish this goal. For one thing, I was never home long enough to do it. For another, we’ve been doing this house remodel that is dragging on for what seems like centuries and everything is in shambles. Who wants people walking through their home when it looks like a cyclone has just gone through? Even I don’t relish that thought.

A few weeks ago, however, I received an email from a potential customer - a new customer. Someone who didn’t know me, who was not familiar with my work from the 18 years I had a business in town. She had questions about my experience. She wanted to see my studio. So, with more than a little trepidation, I bit the bullet and set a date to officially open. 

After all, there’s that old adage that one is never financially ready to have a baby, right? I figured this was kind of the same thing.

And then Tim and I set about getting things into order. We contacted the carpenter to see if we could get things moving along. And Tim and I actually got motivated to work at a much faster pace on the remodeling things that we could be doing. 

Which is awesome! Except that in the process of doing more carpentry/remodeling work, we made an even bigger mess. Seriously. I don’t think my house has ever looked this bad. 

And so my first day of being open the new framing customers showed up. And so did some drop in customers. All went well, I had a very successful first day, but oh my gosh, it was so embarrassing. Incredibly embarrassing. 

And I don’t embarrass easily, so that is saying a lot.

But the worst is over, and the house is still a mess. But we are actually making progress and my goal of having it done by Christmas may be realized. Of course, the goal was for Christmas of last year, but beggars can’t be choosers, now can they?
All in all, what this brings to mind is the new saying that is rapidly becoming very popular: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” 

Seriously, I think it was written just for me.


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