Damask-patterned candles and jeweled frames.
People ask this for two reasons. Either they really love you and hope you are doing okay and will stick around, or they are sniffing out gossip. You know, if you are standing in the store, the lights are on and I'm opening boxes...business is good enough, eh? Men love to ask this question, usually while jangling change in their pockets, and desperate to share their Male Business Wisdom with the allegedly hapless chick-shopgirl in pink Chucks. I have a few questions I could ask THEM, but that wouldn't be ladylike. *wink* It's funny the things that people use as barometers of how your business is. For example:
- Not much in the store? You don't have money to buy inventory and are going out of business.
- Lots in the store? Your inventory isn't selling and you are going out of business.
- A blank space on the floor? OMG, you must be going out of business.
- The floor is filled with inventory? OMG, you must be going out of business.
- No customers in the store at that specific minute? Going out of business.
- 6 people in the store at once? Only 6 customers, you must be going out of business!
- Closed early one day? Going out of business.
- Open more hours? Desperate, clearly, because you are going out of business.
- Have something on sale? Oh yeah, going out of business!
- Not having any sales? You're going out of business.
I could go on and on. But I am busy snickering now at how I have just tripped up the search engines with "going out of business" and Frivolities. Woo hoo! That'll give 'em something to talk about!
One day last fall, I had a box delivered. It held some sort of garden arch and was heavy and I left it on the sidewalk at Frivolities to unpack rather than dragging it inside. So this gal comes along...looks at the box...and asks me if I AM GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!! *pounds head repeatedly on keyboard* Why why why.
One day in December '07, I was closing early to go to a friend's dinner party. So I put up a note "Closing at 5pm tonight!" A couple of weeks later, a gal comes in--oh, she thought I had GONE OUT OF BUSINESS because the note said I was CLOSING at 5pm.
Bizarre, bizarre obsession. I guess it's human nature, like the gawker delays on the expressway when a semi drives into a gasoline tanker and it explodes. Everyone wants a peek at the carnage. And, of course, the after-the-carnage SALE BONANZA that follows every retailers' demise. Everybody loves the feeding frenzy, the picking over the dead rotting carcass of 75% off.
Short answer: I am not going out of business. I have future 5-year plans for my business concept that are *slightly different* than what I have today, but what I am doing is *slightly different* than what I was doing 5 years ago. I have been a business-girl all my life, and that's not changing. I'm not one of those chicks who was all like, "Ooh a store! Fun! I can buy pretty things and be pretty all day with all the pretty pretty people and pretty pink sugary sweet prettiness! And it's all okay because I married a very rich man and this is just FUN for me and...what? I have to WORK?!"
Owning your own retail business is a wonderful hell. You don't do it for fun. It's not fun all the time. It is a serious business. Yeah, I'm selling something that is prettier than, say, pork bellies or spark plugs, but it is still a job. If you think it's fun, let's talk about that lovely little "S CORPORATION INCOME TAX FORM 1020" that pops up in the mail every year like a belated Christmas gift from your least favorite relative. Ugh. Or the cosmetic surgery you're gonna need because you thought it was a REALLY! GREAT! IDEA! to use your hips to shove a 350 pound cabinet across the floor and did you know that can leave permanent bruising? Yep.
But it is the WORK that you LOVE. Retail is completely, literally in my blood. Go back on some branch of my family tree, and there you will find Richard Sears, one of many Richard Sears', but the one, the SEARS, of Sears fame. So this dude was working at a train station, the family story goes, and he found this unclaimed shipment of watch parts, and decided he could sell them and turn a profit. Cha-ching. Sears was born. (With the help of that Roebuck guy.) And there started the family line of sales-hungry retailers (if they didn't become mad scientists.)
I will save more of the FAQ's for another night...there are some good ones in there!