Back tracking

Oops, I forgot to publish my last post 5 weeks ago. Anybody else have things like that happen? Oh well, I just published it tonight anyway. And hopefully, I will publish this one too. If I don’t forget.

Today, 5 weeks after I wrote that last post, (which was just published tonight), I made another decision about the biz. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time, but I am going back to being an “occasional store.” Why…, I am living out my dream? Open every single week, every Tuesday through Saturday. I am not working anywhere besides for myself. My only co-workers are Sophie and Ole, the husband and wife team of Shih-tzus that just lay around, not helping me paint, very lazy. Well I am not sure what is happening, but business has slooowed down. Maybe it’s that summer is over and the rush of summer was a bunch of teachers that loved my stuff. Not sure, I am guessing, this is just my first year of being a business owner. I have spoken to family and another owner of a similar store and our theory lays with the type of business I’m in. Kind of a phenomenon. Back to when Tattered was first open, it was only monthly. Then it went to every other weekend. Then in September, I can’t believe only September, every Tuesday through Saturday. We believe that our shoppers look forward to that one weekend out of the month to see what is new and fresh. Now that Tattered is open all the time, it’s kind of the same old same old. It isn’t just that. My store is wiped out.

Our town had a fall festival the weekend after Labor Day. It was shoulder to shoulder with customers in Tattered. I couldn’t ask for a better day. It takes a while to get restocked, especially when I haven’t been working on restocking the store! I have been only working on the custom work that is piling up on me. I counted out the pages and there was 10 custom orders and 19 pieces to complete. Ouch! With only me to do all this, I have to make excuses to the customers that walk in and there isn’t much to see in the store. That isn’t right. I keep thinking I’ll need to hire help, to do what though? Who around my small town knows how to paint furniture like me and it would be hard to make a profit with extra help. Then I thought, maybe I should try like other stores do and have vendors set up their booths. Maybe I’m too much of a control freak, I am fussy about what I sell in the store and I want to do my own displays. So I am my own worst enemy. I want help, but not really…

My good ol sis told me today, she thinks I should go back to being open just once a month. I called her and told her I was more overwhelmed now not working as a nurse then I was working full time and being open once monthly at the store.Then I called Robyn at Gerties, a brand new occasional shop in Grand Forks. Her partner Kelly contacted me as a mentor when they were getting started and today I called them to bounce off ideas to someone who understands the business I am in. It’s nice to have a partner like these girls do. Of course things aren’t as scary alone, you have an extra mind to talk things through, but again, half the profits go to the other person.

I am back tracking to how it was when I first started. It doesn’t mean failure to me. It may to other people. I am being flexible and trying a different tactic, which is smart. The town my business is in is small, a little over 300 people. Tattered has a large Facebook following too. I post a picture of a new piece of furniture and often, it sells the same day over the phone. I can’t really blame my small town on the slow business. A friend of mine opened a vintage store as well near the Minneapolis area. I see that she is closing her retail location and will continue her journey bringing her goods to other people’s stores. So look at it both ways. Here, there isn’t  a lot of population, where she is, there is a lot of people, but also a lot of competition. I don’t know the whole story why she is closing, but it happens. At least she tried! I have good people that have read this story from the beginning and I guess are inspired by my journey. They too are hopeful entrepreneurs and are interested in how I am doing. All I can tell them if they are passionate, go for it. It’s true, being a business  owner is not easy, you have a lot less free time, you are more tied down, probably poorer than when you started. We have a lake place that we were at twice this summer (I know poor me).

I am going to keep going. People ask me if I miss nursing and I tell them no I don’t. I have the taste of freedom on my tongue now. I spoke to Nate tonight. He is my hubby that is gone all the time. He is my hubby that is a bridge builder that is GONE ALL THE TIME. Except on Saturdays and Sundays. He likes the life we lived before Tattered. I had steady money direct deposited every other Thursday and health insurance. Now, I deposit checks whenever, mostly once a week and I have Paypal and some cash. Don’t tell Tucker, my oldest son about the cash though, he always takes my cash. We have health insurance too, that isn’t a big deal. Nate is always supportive. What else is he to do? I called him the other day when I couldn’t loosen the chuck on my new drill to change the bit. He states “I can’t really help you over the phone” He did though. I loosened it up and went about the task.

Maybe I should rename the title Rambling Fever. What do you think??

My goal is that the time I am not open, I will still work on all the custom work, have a chance to paint the big pieces that are great sellers, like dressers and get to the piddly fun things all over Pinterest. I need that balance in my store. Not everyone needs a dresser, but what else inspires them to make that purchase. I hate when customers walk in and walk right back out of the store. I know not everyone is going to buy something all the time. Just imagine it as a puzzle and your constantly arranging and changing direction. That makes it interesting. SO, very long story short. It’s ok that I am going backwards. I am not being stagnant and doing the same thing that isn’t really working the best. So if things are a huge struggle and you’re laying awake at night worrying, change something. For me, I try to give my worries to God. I am 41 years old and I think everything I have ever worried about in life has resolved over time and has usually worked out for the better. If you aren’t able to open up a store this year or if you don’t get that job that you dream of, just wait it out, what lays ahead is way better.


4 thoughts on “Back tracking

  1. Hi Nicole , my name is Jessika and I totally recognize your situation as one I have been in myself . I also have a brick and morter store called F&F in a small town in south texas. It is a bity larger than your community but still not much turnover in clients . My store started as strictly an apparel store with accessories and vintage hats fedoras (we have a collection of over 100 on display ) in March of 2012, shortly after in June my father became gravely ill and died in October. My mom was managing my store after a 20+ year career at Walmart in management and it was such a breath of fresh air to have a boutique where we were in control , well I shortly found out that life’s circumstances can quickly change things. Although my store was a blessing as it gave us the freedom to grieve and heal I also lost my original vision and clients with my absence. After 1 year I had to make a quick decision to either close my doors and call it a discovery or give my self another chance and reinvent my business. While I was home recovering from surgury in June I stumbled across your FB page I had become a fan of pinterest and HG tv and now I saw something that inspired me. YOUR work . I will back up for a minute to tell you about myself – I am 42 years old ,I am a mother of two boys 17 yrs and 7 yrs old, I am married to my soul mate I am the oldest of 3 children a Virgo and have my own business since I was 21 . I am a hairstylist/photographer and have owned Jco salon in Austin since 2001 😉 we are Austin TX, we are the leading Paul Mitchell focus salon in th city- I have a team of 14 stylists , makeup artists and skin care specialists, I feel blessed and priveleged to have what I do , BUT when my sweet father died last year I had lost my sense of direction, I no longer wanted to continue with all the reponsibilities that came with my 25 year carrer. – OK now I discovered you and felt like I needed to do something that would give me time to reflect, and spend time with my mom, I also learned great things from my father as he was dying and that is that it is more important to love life and live life than to always feel like there is yet more to do.

    In June of 2013 I closed my store for 1 month due to very low sales (it cost me more to be open than to be closed) thats when I foung the Tattered page – I felt like my loss of direction was again centered, I reopened F&F with an new brand F&F Home and started treasure hunting I cut my work schedule back at the salon from 50 hours to 20 a week and started to paint I find as theraputic as prayer;) I can say with a smile that with lots of prayer for guidance I am continueing on my path of repurposig and treaure hunting , F&F homes sales have triples since we re launched in July and I owe you a THANK YOU for being there when I needed a sense of direction, I thank God everyday and know my father is walking by my side with a smile , because I am living life now , Best of luck to you Nicole . Jessika Cottle

  2. Hi Nicole…I loved your post. I appreciated your honesty and your sharing the struggles of making your creative life work out. When creative types start to flounder, they most likely keep quiet….so, we’re left with thinking that we happen to be the only ones who aren’t making our business flourish. Your comments encourage me to keep trying..that struggling is part of the process. I repurpose clothing. People have expressed that they love what I do, but regardless of that reassurance, I struggle with consistency in sales. I begin to doubt that what I do has any viability. But then again, there’s nothing else I want to do, I love my little business. So, I will keep working it out.
    All the Best to you.

    • I was at a huge vintage festival Saturday and the entire group representing their wares were remarkably talented and creative. I had an en extremely successful day, but still compare myself to the others, wondering if their stuff was better, maybe I’m out of my league, ect. I think that insecurity has to be handled and all the people that give you positive feedback is the important thing to listen too. Keep at it! Nicole

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