Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WHAT has she done NOW??

I'm sorry for the long hiatus in blogging! I write great posts in my head, but never on the computer. But I thought it time I update and explain my latest shenanigans, because I am all about the shenanigans lately!

You may be reading this post because you came into the shop and I handed you a little card and told you to read all about it on the blog. Instead of telling the same story to every one who asks, why not just write it up here?

So, the major project I have been working on lately is moving out of the second store. You may have seen us hauling heavy furniture in the snow lately. It's a great workout! I wanted to explain what was up with that, because I know the gossip is goin' to be sizzling! Small towns, don't you know! For some people, what I do is akin to what Jennifer Aniston does, so I might as well dish before the paps start whipping out their telephoto lenses.

First, the background. My original shop, Frivolities, opened in 2002, in the Dexter Crossing Shopping Center. A rather unusual location for my romantic, flowery, frou-frou shop, but I liked it, and that's where I planted myself.

In early 2008, a Victorian house downtown became available, and it was very tempting. But even if I could've left the original store and the lease, I didn't want to. Good business, good parking, just all around great for my biz. I built out the store to my specifications, and I loved being there. But...that house was sooo tempting. I was reading my fave magazine, Romantic Country, and there was a feature on a store called Pom Pom Interiors that had two stores (I see they now have three!) that were the same type of store, but with different focuses, so I decided to do that! And the house was quite a bit cheaper to rent than the shopping center store.

On March 20, 2008, I opened Frivolities (Downtown)...

This pic is from August '08, after my mom put in the fabulous and very famous garden!

...and began life with two stores--which was NEVER anything I set out to do. I was like Scarlett O'Hara, torn between Ashley and Rhett. Only I got to try them both out, heh heh. But seriously, I wasn't setting out to take over the town with my shops, like a little Trump...I just ended up with two. Kinda like how I wanted one pug...but I ended up with two.

At this time, I was also pursuing a real estate career. Oh, the energy I had! Well, I was *only* 29 then. And that was BP. (Before Pugs.)

Frivolities (Downtown) was run by my mom, but I did all the merchandising, buying, etc. The sibling rivalry between stores started coming about. Which store got which stuff? Which store got Mom's time and attention?

Then you had the folks who asked if the stores were the same. And that is like the old joke of asking a guy if they have stopped beating their wife. He can't answer yes--because that means he DID beat her. And obviously if he says no, he's still a schmuck.

Are the stores the same? No. "Oh, but I like this kind of stuff", said as customer gestured at whatever store they were in.

Are the stores the same? Yes. Then people would only go to one. And even though the stores were NOT the same, we did have people who only ever went to one or the other, because they believed they had the same things.

It was the same TYPE of things. But never the exact same item.

So in May '08, I changed the name to Amber's, to make it clear they were different. Fine and well. Only I never changed the sign. Ha! I'm a funny girl like that.

At the end of '08, I had several big life-changing things happen. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. (Now cured.) My dad had a very bad brain injury from falling. I realized my heart was not in real estate.

In January '09, my dad died--actually a year ago yesterday, so I have made it through that first year, but that is obviously something that is a lingering pain for me. I quit real estate, and decided to change the second store to an antique store. I named it The Whatever Shop.

At this point, I was ready to be named The Most Commitmentphobic Woman in Dexter. But at least I changed the sign this time, woo hoo!

Mom outside of the shop in summer '09, with the summer garden.

I opened THAT version of the shop on...March 20, 2009. I'm all about the deja vu.

It was mostly antiques, but the cool kind, lots of functional pieces, furniture, fabulous china. I have antiques at Frivolities, but that let me get into it even more. I enjoyed the store, but was still having feelings of spreading myself too thin. I felt like neither store got the attention from me it deserved. I wanted to do too much. I was going home at 11pm a lot. Downtown Dexter is spooky at 11am, it's so quiet. I got a little more grounded when I got my two puggies, and could NOT work all the time, unless I wanted poo-covered unhappy puppies. They really helped change the workaholic in me. Being a 'mommy', even if your children have four legs, gets you outside of yourself for sure.

At the end of summer, I was so.tired. Too much to do, never enough hours. I was working on starting my home staging business, Stellar Interiors, and speculating that I needed a house for it. Another place to rent?! NO. In the space of about 20 seconds, I decided to change the second store into my home staging studio, and just have one store--the original Frivolities at Dexter Crossing. I am a spur of the moment kind of gal for sure. My mom did not mind, because she is a garden girl, not a shop girl. I was the shop girl.

(By the way, we have always referred to the Dexter Crossing store as Frivvies and the downtown store as Chez Friv, to keep them separate.)

With fourth quarter approaching, I was spending alllll of my time at Frivvies. I went to Chez Friv about twice a month in the fall. Usually just to pick up something for Frivvies. And it dawned on me that I was paying a lot of rent for a glorified storage space/place to take a nap. From my brief time in real estate, I had seen how prices were falling and there were some amazing deals out there.

In early November '09, I got bit by the buying bug--and I got bit HARD. I've looked at a few that weren't quite right, but once the buying bug bites...and you realize every four months worth of rent is a down payment on a house...well, that did it.

I loved my Chez Friv. I loved the garden my mom created most of all! I loved the history of the house, and my one-sided conversations with Mrs. Vaughn. But the lease was up January '10, and not up at Frivvies. And if I wanted to buy, I could not do that AND rent two properties AND be a stager AND do the online store AND have a semblance of a life. Something had to go, and it was Chez Friv.

And that is why I moved out, my lease went buh-bye on January 26th (one year after my father died, kind of weird), and I have one store--the original Frivolities, out there in the strip mall, with the haphazard hours and Lady Frivvie in the window!

I know people LOVE to speculate about businesses and why someone closes one or moves or whatever. And, of course, in these times, everyone loves to talk about 'the economy'. I gotta's NOT the economy, stupid. At least not for me. Let it be said--I did not close the second store because of 'the economy'. I closed it because I cannot be in two places at once and do what I want to do and I really want to OWN a place. There is always an 'economy' for someone, and guess what, lots of people with lots of money are not the types who spend it, anyway! I did not close it because of parking, or traffic, or because 'it was only open two days a week'. I did not close it with green eggs and ham, and I will not close it with a fox. HA. If the other lease had been up, I would've closed that store.

Now you know what I have done, why I did it, and how I did it. Hopefully that will be enough to stamp out the next sour gossip to shrill, "I knew she wouldn't make it!" as the sour gossips so want to do. :) Don't be a sour gossip, it isn't cool.

(And no, I am not getting back together with Brad Pitt.)