This is my third or fourth version of a blog since 2001 (back when they were called weblogs!), but this is the first time I have used a program instead of making my own screwball version. That was a drag and I rarely posted much, but now I promise I will be babbling here all the time.
I like blogs that introduce the writer in the first post, so I will do that! I hate reading about someone and not knowing who they are. My name is Amber, but I like going by Miss Friv online. I am the owner of two shops, Frivolities and The Whatever Shop. They both have their own stories, which will be chronicled here in my posts. My shops are my life and my life is my shops, so while this is a blog about shopkeeping, it will also be interjected with drivel about my daily life and musings on the world. But most of what I see, I view from the shopkeeper's lens. Whoa. That was deep.
I'm 30 years old, have a bizarre sense of humor, and really cannot believe that I am a grown-up just yet. I have a love of romantic decorating, roses, antiques, all things French (and I am 25% French, which I will point out over and over again ad nauseum), "the vintage lifestyle", furniture, painting, gardening, all things pink, old china, chippy paint, anything beautiful. But just so you don't see me as being all sugary and precious, I like to jazz things up by being sarcastic, cynical and sardonic. I promise to keep this blog (and my shops) lively and...interesting and unexpected. I am not perfect and frequently am klutzy, air-headed, and messy. I think it's more fun to read what people like that have to say rather than. "I woke up in a perfect pink cloud of roses and went outside to see the perfect lovely world where everyone and everything was just delightful." Hogwash!
I don't yet have that really awesome husband who will fix all the broken things in my shop, so until then, that chandelier is just not going to work. Right now in my life I want a pug more than I want a baby. (I feel I have to write about that, because once you turn 30, people start yammering about that baby thing way too much.) All that stuff is "for later" and not on the radar for me right now. I have the world's most wonderful mother, who is my partner in crime and in the shops. I have cats and like doilies, so yes, I may be an old maid. I did not go to college, save for a 4-month stint to become a real estate agent, a career I quickly retired from.
I used to be very into science and politics and nerdy things, but in the past few years, I have turned into all-artist-all-the-time. But not like an ARTIST, you know what I mean. I just like pretty things, making homes pretty, and pretty shops. In addition to my shops, I am also starting a career as a home stager, which is what I love more than anything in the world, even retailin'.
But about those shops! My 'first born' is Frivolities, started in 2002. I literally decided I wanted a shop one day and started the ball rolling on it the next week. Of course, it didn't open for 10 freakin' months until after I decided I wanted a shop! The way it goes. Frivolities (that's Friv-oll-it-eez) is a home decor and gift boutique, filled with beautiful things. Yes, I should post photos, I will work on that. It's in an unromantic shopping center, but the shop is gorgeous, if I do say so myself.
I was chugging along on my retail road when the opportunity presented itself to rent a lovely Victorian home downtown. I didn't really want two shops, like I said, not Martha Stewart. I mean, it was never my intention to expand and be some monster chain or something. But I could not pass up that house. So in 2008, Frivolities (Downtown) was born. Now, it was supposed to be a different shop--it's still frivolous, but with DIFFERENT things. D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T. It's not a chain. But about half of the population either thought I had moved and closed the original store, that I had a carbon copy of the first store (how would that even work?!), or that someone else had started another Frivolities, and I thought, "WHATEVER." Ugh. So really, the only way to really get it across that it is a different shop is to just change the name. I mentally changed it about 4 times before I finally settled on "The Whatever Shop" (name idea from mom!) and decided to really indulge my love of antiques and secondhand stuff and make it (primarily) an antiquey kind of shop. Although there is also a Christmas room, a 'country' room, the Hot Pink Powder Room, and a Frivolities Outlet room for odds and ends. I opened The Whatever Shop on March 20, 2009, one year to the date I started Frivolities (Downtown).
So now I figure I have one shop that is mostly new with a bit of old (Frivolities) and one shop that is mostly old with a bit of new (Whatever). Following this? Yay! And let me make it even MORE confusing by telling you that I have no intention of keeping two shops for more than the next two years. Yes, ooooooh, I am going to close one. I have always planned to close one since the day I got the idea to have two. Don't worry, it's not "this economy", or anything dire, like I said, it was the original plan, I just have that tricky thing called "overlapping leases", so that's why I've got two shops. I'm just running at 100 mph and have always been a sleepy sort of girl, and right now, I am busting my bum having two stores. I love it, but it's not a lifestyle I want forever, and some day, I probably will want a few sprogs. You just can't do anything having two shops, seriously. Especially because I am stubborn and eschew employees. My mind is on the shops literally 98% of the time. Well, maybe 95%.
Let's pause for a token picture of my 4 year old parakeet, Miss Darcy. Miss Darcy hates most everything except a good millet spray. She especially hates me sticking a camera up her beak. She was named for Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice" when I thought she was a boy, but nope, she's all girl. She is a widow and I am thinking about getting her a couple of boy-toys to keep her occupied when I'm not around for her to scream at.