Shewwwww. Let me just say, my life has been a whirlwind for the past few months, and I finally feel like my feet are back on the ground. I got to thinking the other day, dang, I haven’t written anything down in a while. No blog. No journaling. NOTHING. I actually haven’t even considered a topic that I wanted, or needed to write about. I was that busy, and that consumed by everything going on in my life. I needed to pour my whole heart, and soul into building my business, getting the store open, and working on getting people in the door. So, now that I feel like I have a half ass, regular schedule… things are starting to relax a little. I have even had a couple days to hunt, to lay on my new love sac, and binge watch Netflix. Which by the way, I have found some awesome shows that have been the perfect fit to take my mind off of work. Atypical is my current fav, and I recommend it to anyone! I’ll be moving on from that soon though, and be on the hunt for the next. Funny the little things like binge-watching Netflix that I took for granite. My mental health needs a break from time to time, much like each of you probably can relate to.
66 days. It has been 66 days since we opened the doors to our storefront. Did I ever mention to you all that I have never worked a day in retail EVER! Until, black Friday came around this past year. Not only have I never worked retail, I am not a fashion expert with a degree, and huge knowledge base. You all hear me say all that time that I’m just winging it. Well that’s exactly what’s been happening! You know what though? It’s working for me. So many times I hear people say, or I’ll read somewhere that you need a concrete plan, and you should never wing it. WHAT? Have these people never taken a chance on anything in life? I feel like I wing it every time I step on an ambulance to take a call. Sure, I have a certification, I have required re cert training every two years, I have to have annual skills assessments to prove competence, but sometimes all that shit goes out the window in the middle of chaos. So just go with it! In just winging it, I have had so much freaking fun! I feel like all of you are learning, and growing with me. I use to have to read a material tag to tell you what the shirt was made from, now I can pretty much touch it and know. HELLO… that’s huge for me… insert laughing emoji.
So, what’s it like in this world since I quit my job, and took a chance? It’s pretty cray cray. Every time someone opens the door to the boutique and I hear the doorbell, I get so excited. Is it someone new? Is it a customer I have had from day one coming to check it out? Is it someone who stumbled over us just by walking down Main Street? Then the anxiety kicks in… Do they love it in here? Does it smell welcoming (I am weird about smells). Do they like this style? Are they afraid to try something on because of their own reasons in their head? Do I talk more? Do I just shut up and let them shop? The list goes on, and on! ***Disclosure- I promise if you ever tell me to hush because you want to shop in peace, I respect that… and ill laugh as I go back behind the counter. I mean, honestly I feel like most of you come in just to find I’m arguing with alexa, Nothing-new there. If you watch the lives you see that too! (She really is a pain)
Once the initial fear/anxiety/worry whatever you want to call it wears off, I’m pretty cool. hahaha. I have met so many amazing people since we opened the doors. While I know I have worked to build relationships with all of our customers when we were on line only, I absolutely love nothing more then when someone comes into the store, and tells me who they are, and I can finally put a face to a name! It’s actually the most rewarding part of all of this so far. All of my customers are the only reason I’m standing in that store, and it literally makes my heart smile to see you all come in. I love first reactions when seeing the store, and I look forward to feedback on every aspect.
People often ask me what the most difficult thing we face day to day with the boutique. Ummmmm Facebook (again, insert laughing emoji). No, but really… picking out inventory is super hard. Replying to people when I am mentally exhausted is super hard. Trying to always wear a smile on my face when I am well known for the RBF…super hard! The inventory thing though..Yea, we do love it or leave it, and very rarely do we get an all yes response…. Like almost never, really. Sometimes I crack up laughing at the things you all say, and sometimes I add it to the cart! Most recently, I just pick out what I love, and hope you all love it too. Sometimes I fail epically, and things become super cheap. It’s all part of the game…. I guess.
While I have spent the past two months struggling with store hours, being fair with returns, and knowing when to say no to a crazy request, or just a request that I know I can’t just do for one person, it has overall been pretty amazing. There is something about waking up everyday, putting on clothes from MY boutique, and heading out the door. Grabbing Starbucks on the way, and pulling up to the salon, and boutique. I feel a sense of pride for both myself, and Ashley with her amazingly beautiful salon! Girl- you inspire me so much!
I have so many new people in my life that I can now call a friend, all thanks to this adventure. I also have the other Ashley in my life now. I call her “my Ashley” (Ashley Ryan). When running a business, and trying to make decisions on who you want to bring into your adventure… its hard, really hard. Bryan and I didn’t want to be crazy when we began to think about having to hire an employee. We knew we couldn’t do it all, and we knew it would be hard to find someone that would have a passion for the clothes, be trustworthy, and love the business just like it was theirs. We also knew that we weren’t sure what kind of money we would be bringing in, and we didn’t want to over hire, and be stuck telling people we can’t afford to pay them. We agreed that starting small was best, and we would move forward when the time came. Or, when we felt we were at a growth, and need to bring on more help. I can honestly say that as a business owner, hiring someone is terrifying no matter what your business may be. Ashley has been a blessing to us, and to the business. It is very comforting to be able to leave town, whether for a vacation, or business related trip, and not feel like your leaving your baby home alone- if you get what I’m saying. Ashley stepped up when we went out of town for my best friends wedding, and she killed it! If you ever read one of those motivational quotes about having someone in your corner, that’s exactly how I felt as I watched sales, and her interactions with our customers while we were away! So, thanks Ash for being the shit!
I’m gonna go ahead and give one more shout out while I’m at it. Do you all have any idea how terrible I am with technology? I am sure that if you watch the lives you often hear me refer to the “IT guy”- you know, Bryan… my husband. My way smarter half. Just before we opened, and we hired Ashley, we had a conversation that went somewhere along the lines of, “So, can I work at the boutique alone, or is that weird”? Lets all laugh together. I said, sweet Bryan, I admire your willingness to work the store when I can’t be there, but do you really think it’s a good idea to have a man running a women’s boutique? Let me also remind you sweet Bry, we have a fitting room. We expect, and encourage our customers to try clothing on. Do you think they will be comfortable if they don’t know you? Or, do you think they will even try something on in fear you’re snooping? He quickly understood that he was going to remain the IT guy for the boutique. However, I sometimes ask him to go open the store because I need to do something, and can’t get there in time. Ladies, I am sorry if you have ever been a little concerned because he was there alone. I promise he will try and upsell you in the most tacky way possible, and that he is not a threat! So, thanks Bry for being the best supporter ever, and believing in my crazy ass dreams. I also appreciate all the beatings you take from me during lives- you are a saint!
SO, in closing, if you haven’t made it into the store yet, what exactly are you waiting for? If you live far away, you are forgiven, but if you find yourself in the area, please come say hi! I promise to continue to work hard to bring you the latest, and greatest at the absolute best price point I can get you! I count on your support, and I am excited to see the future of The Teal Antler!
Be kind, loves!