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.

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Meanwhile, here at Tattered….

It’s been exactly one month since the last update post. Time has past enough to give another update.

Next Monday I will be part time at the clinic so I can devote more time to the store. I seems to me that it is not really happening! I have always worked for someone else and full time. I started working when I was 15. I took some time off after my second son was born. I tried to be a stay at home Mom, but it wasn’t for me. I really give credit to those Moms and Dads out there. If I would have had computers and blogs and Facebook back then, I maybe could have handled it. It won’t be that I will have all this extra time on my hands. just that I won’t have to go at maximum overdrive mode.

The weekends open have been successful.  The store seems to sell about have of the inventory by noon on Saturday. Ideally, we will have replacements to pull from back room instead of it being a first come first serve situation. There is always things to work on waiting in the back room. I have accommodated several customers that have asked about certain pieces they had in mind. Often I show pieces that are waiting to be fixed up and it seems to be just what they are looking for, so I get to sell it. I have also did custom work for a few where they have brought in their piece and painted to their request.

Pink and Blue Mason Jars with Chevron - Cover Photo

I am trying to build Tattered’s branding image now. I am excitedly waiting for another draft of a logo. So pumped to unveil it. I am fortunate to have a friend who is a graphic designer who also is a vendor for Tattered. I plan to order custom bags and am in need of more business cards. With the expanded store hours, I should publicize that in the papers. I find that advertising is so expensive, BUT, there are a lot of people who don’t Tweet or use Facebook. So the old fashioned route must be used.

A mentor of mine told me when I first started not to invest so heavily in the store. She said just to recycle grocery bags, use a calculator, never advertise. I have followed that advise. There are times when you have to find your own way too. I bought a cash register because I felt like I was running a rummage sale instead of a brick and mortar store. I put my beautiful merchandise in crinkled up Walmart bags. I just feel cheap and unprofessional. I guess it’s not the image I want to portray. Even though the name is Tattered, it doesn’t actually mean that is how everything has to be.

So I plan to upgrade the image, a more grown up Tattered. I think that is how businesses can be successful though. Never to get stale, keep moving and shifting as needed. I did already upgrade the Facebook page  with an awesome timeline from Leesa Dykstra Designs. She does beautiful work. So much talent. I am working on building the fan base for Facebook. I think for only being open for 5 months, over 600 likes is something to be proud of. So keep the love coming and visit me at Facebook too!

Thanks for your support, please share my pages with your friends. I am hoping to update this site more now that I will be part time at the clinic, YAY!!

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Time to get creative!

Repurposed stereo made into a store unit with style

Stand/side bar

Finished a piece that has been hanging around the back room for months. This old Hi-Fi stereo unit was repurposed into a muti-purpose storage unit. The colors turned out well together. Annie Sloan Cocoa with Country Grey. I was disappointed when I opened the grey as it is more of a dark cream color. Unsure if it is a labeling error, or if that is truly the color. It works beautifully with cocoa whatever is it!

We removed the “guts” of the radio and the top lid opens to a nice storage area inside. The problem with these stereos is there is usually some ugly carpet type material in the front for speakers. At Tattered, we have had a lot of success with the galvanized metal look. This piece had the silver panels inserted, but didn’t look right with the brown tones of the cabinet, so I painted the panels bronze. The upside to these pieces are they are usually beautifully detailed and intricate, as well as very affordable and abundant to find at thrift stores. I really like this piece. I know the ones that are good are the pieces I am tempted to keep!

Custom painted night stand

Custom painted night stand

Here is another example of Cocoa with the Country Grey. A customer asked if we had any night stands. This is a really cute little 4 drawer dresser that I picked when it was a lilac shade… not a favorite color for a little boy and his legos. The top was stripped and stained, as well as the original knobs.

It has been fun doing the multi color look, I think I am going to have a blast with color combos.

More recent projects I have had time to finish!

Ripped vinyl seat with past it's prime paint job

Ripped vinyl seat with past it’s prime paint job
Sturdy fabric seat with coordinating color for rest

Sturdy fabric seat with coordinating color for rest of stool

I love metal stools! The industrial look is so hot now. With the updated contemporary colors it is industrial chic at it’s BEST!

Paint completely chipped off seat

Paint completely chipped off seatI got lucky at a recent pick and got 3 metal stools, can’t get enough of them! This one is so sturdy and has the awesome industrial look with the big adjustable seat.

Upcycled shop stoolThe Annie Sloan paint will be tested with this stool! It is done in Aubussen Blue. Pretty enough to pull out of the shop and put around the bar!

Barcelona orange side table I have been having fun experimenting with new colors, here is Barcelona orange with dark wax.

Barcelona Orange with Old White

Barcelona Orange with Old White

Undercoat is the orange with Old White.

I wanted to give you all an update of what I have been up to. Feels so good to get pieces done and to fill up the store again. Of course there is not enough time to get everything done I want to accomplish.

There is hope after all! Five weeks from now, I will reduce my hours at the clinic to part time! That means I can be open at Tattered more and spend more time on the projects and keeping the business running and profitable.

There has been such a hugely positive response to the store. People really seem to like the stuff we have and the building is a draw. It is unique and just a funky place to visit.

Here in Minnesota, winter doesn’t know its spring. There is ANOTHER Sunday/Monday winter storm expecting 6-12 inches of the white stuff with winds of 25-30 mph. I have been patiently waiting to move junk outside on the porch. I know curb appeal is what draws my eye to swing in to shop at a store like mine.

I can’t believe it! I almost forgot to share our biggest pick yet !!!

Biggest pick yet!!

Biggest pick yet!!

This was a great lead! I was contacted to see if we wanted the wood off this old shed. The fellow wanted it moved to use the land for tillable acres. Unfortnuately, there was another shed that was destroyed. This one is great! It is such a sturdy shed, we decided not only we wanted the wood, we wanted the whole building! It took Nate most of last weekend to jack it up and load on the trailer. It was only a few miles from home, so it sits in our small country yard. It really is quite quaint.

There was a lot of garbage in the shed, but did find some old goodies too. It took me 3 hours to clean the shed and sort out what was salvageable. The only critter I came across was one deceased mouse. I was creeped out anyway, cuz there obviously had been a lot of critters living in there, or at least was their outhouse. I said I only saw the one mouse. My poor hubby on the other hand….. As he jacking up the shed, he kicked loose some tin around the bottom. What do you suppose may be under an old shed in April? Well, a homeless skunk would be! He got the last laugh as he sprayed Nate’s boot and ran off. I worked in and out of that shed for 3 hours, lucky for me it was still nap time for PePe La Pew. 

Oh the adventures awaiting me!!!

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Finishing touches

IMG_0946Tattered Awning5 x 5 window and doorNate working his magicTattered sign IMG_0950 IMG_0955

One thing about actually working on the building and making the projects, it leaves little time for the progress updates. The store is very near completion. I am so impressed on the work my hubby has done for me. Tattered looks like a store that is ultra chic- urban, yet rustic and industrial. The floors look fabulous, reclaimed fir from an old feed store. Initially I thought I would stain the floors a dark color, but I love the mix of colors and the gray on some of the pieces. The trim is indescribable! I got the stain called Cobalt blue for free from our local hardware store because it was mixed wrong. It gives the old wood a gray-blue hue which brings out red in the wood. Our windows and door were professionally installed and the awning is also up. My Tattered sign is hung on the highway side and the porch is about done. We have to put some kind of siding back up where the steel siding use to be. It looks shabby and NOT shabby-chic! Nate is working on the more tedious things now. Basically, he will build my counter and will be sighing relief. He can’t wait to go ice fishing!

Take a look at the photos and you will see the floors and the trim and the ceiling! I threw in my upcycling chandelier project. I found that beauty at a thrift shop in the outdated brass metal finish. I finished it in the green patina that is so gorgeous!! I have it hung in the store as a fixture. My mother in law loves it! That means a lot to me, she even said I should put a sale tag on it. Speaking of light fixtures, I have been fretting so much about lighting for the shop. Today I let it go. I have spent too much time worrying about the right lights, but not spending a lot of money. I am going with the ones that are already there and as I get more inspired, will upgrade. Why force it?

One more end note. My Tattered Facebook page has 98 likes without even opening the doors yet, which is great! I put a challenge in to get 100 likes and then I will announce the grand opening date. So help out my local friends and like the site. The link is at bottom of page and also on my blog roll. Happy Holidays!!!!     Thanks!! 

Busy remodeling

holiday-party-invitation-with-blue.pdf

Quick update on the renovation. It is moving along well. Still working full time, but forging ahead with plans. Reno is nearing completion. Nate has been working his butt off. I will try to give more information as time allows!

Juggling new business

Hey everyone! I haven’t had a recent update for awhile. I made it through The Vintage Carnival Saturday. It started a little shaky. My spot wasn’t ideal, but it worked out fine in the end. The weather was horrible, glare ice roads, that didn’t seem to deter traffic to the fair though, wow, what a turn out! The rustic arbor was a fabulous draw. I finally put a tag on it that it wasn’t for sale.  There was a lot of interest in renting it for weddings. So with one rental, it will be paid for. I sold about 16 pieces. I found that pricing was tricky. Of course at a holiday venue, a lot of people were shopping for Christmas gifts. It would take the right person to buy furniture. I had tons of traffic though and people seemed to be attracted to my booth. There were a lot of other vendors there that shared their experience with me, which is so much appreciated! We are having another carnival in the spring. I think the timing was perfect. I debuted my wares, before the store opens. I got the Tattered name out there and told people to watch for the store opening after the first of the year. By the time the spring carnival comes around, I will have more media in place and the store should be in full swing. Now to the juggling. Yesterday, I finally caught up on all the house cleaning and grocery shopping that has not been attended to the past month. I really didn’t do anything in regards to the store. It was the last day of deer hunting for the guys too, so tonight, Nate starts the renovation process on the shop, which to me is the ultimate excitement!! Today is back to my full time job as a nurse. I took Friday off to set up for the show. It’s hard to concentrate at the job with so much on my mind. Progress: Lumber has been delivered to the shop. Courtney is working on the signage for the store front. It’s going to be an 8 foot long sign with dark stained boards and the turquoise blue Tattered name on it. She is also a local gal that works a full time job and does these beautiful signs on the side with her hubby. I have all the quotes except for a furnace and an awning for the back door. I did stop at a consignment store yesterday where I had good luck finding quality pieces before. I struck out and left empty handed. I am going to an estate sale this Thursday to restock.  I forgot my camera, so couldn’t take any shots of the booth, so bummed. I too one awful shot with my phone. What kind of blogger am I!? Have a great week!, Nicole

My first auction

Today I planned on getting TONS of projects done. I went to Grand Forks last night and stocked up on necklace making supplies, fabric for pillows and scored a few thrift store finds. 2 more barstools, a retro office chair and and 6 drawer dresser.

I started making bird’s nest pendants when Nate reminded me of an auction sale in Newfolden and he saw a shabby door outside the building. I needed to go, maybe there was everything I needed there and MORE. After 2 1/2 hours, I left with some vintage stuff, but not the door. Thats ok, some other lady wanted it more than me I guess. I am sooo excited about the things I did get. A vintage ottoman, primitive wooden bowls, embroidered dish towels and a tattered quilt for a buck.

I did get a little bit done today. I upcycled an ugly nesting table into a rustic foot stool. A couple of adorable pillows somehow got sewed. (I am so out of practice) I made a bunch of bird’s nest pendants. I have a lot of projects left to complete.

Here’s a peek at my day today:

Bird’s nest ready for chains

Burlap pillow

Upcycled foot stool

AUCTION SALE LOOT

Have a great week everyone! Nicole