Friday, 18 October 2013

reality bites really hard



So last night's opening was lovely. There was a great turn out and I was able to be relaxed which I find being at openings a very hard thing to do. The exhibition really is amazing and the interactive quilt made by Dell and Isobel is a hit with young and old.
For me that is one thing I can place a tick in the 'completed' box and I now need to get everything else happening. Projects seem to have been on hold over the last 6 weeks and I have not been in a good frame of mind (blame the bung hand) but we have Xmas coming and even more overwhelmingly the Big Design Market.... oh and The Studio Sale. I am trying to work out how to get my head (and the wallet) around it all.
Let's talk Small Business (I'm in a capital letter mood today). August and September can be dire months for makers and retailers with small businesses, a mix of change of season (everyone is down with the Winter blues), school holidays and the last term of the school year (it's a very cranky time) and then the sound of wallets slamming shut in the big save for the Xmas spend. This year we've had the added pain of an election but normally there is a revitalisation after the votes have been counted....  not this time around. Nothing. Dreary, dreary lethargy. Add the fiscal situation in the USA and my eyes are starting to glaze over with the pain of it all. Eight weeks of the most sheer mind numbing doldrums is enough to get any small retailer down.
Also this week I reached a point where if one more person made a comment to me about having an online shop my eyes were going to roll back in my head. Guess what? I believe in real shops, with smiling and informed people helping the customers out, telling them stories about the products, chatting about the weather and where to get a good coffee. I am dreaming of the day when retail turns around, just like they all said that vinyl records were dead, how wrong they were. Little shops have the snap crackle and pop, the warmth and ambience of a vinyl record spinning around, we aren't digital perfection, we have a few scratches and hisses but when you get us at the right speed oh what beautiful music we make!
You may think me completely deluded (I'm sure you do). We will get the online shop up and running soon but the focus is always going to be on our bricks and mortar Cottage. Clothes need to be tried on, fabrics need to be touched, choices need to be made between colours under real light with your own eyes. A particular couple I know run a very successful online store and a couple of weeks ago we had a great discussion about how running an online store is a serious amount of work and freaking hard. People seem to think it is an easy option. It isn't, it comes with it's own major issues.
I haven't written a sermon for awhile have I? I thought it was about time! I sometimes wonder whether I am doing everything wrong. A friend told me to have faith, not of the religious type, more about holding true to your vision. In the Struggle Times this can be very hard. People with small businesses get really good at juggling and now is the season that we juggle money to pay for our Xmas stock, it's the big time of year for us and the most frightening, it's all a huge (if well informed) gamble.
Thanks for listening, I needed to get it out. I think it is time for  brekky at Grub and to check my Powerball ticket, then a pile of computer work and a bit of planning.



5 comments:

  1. I love this. I work part time in a small boutique homewares shop in Canberra and lament the rise and rise of online shops and chain stores. Having said this, I really do believe that things will turn around. Already here I think we are seeing people foregoing this and starting to appreciate how much it means coming into a store where things are carefully picked and you actually get to have a conversation with someone. The nearby mall is struggling and our little street of shops is starting to do better. So keep the faith!!! I truly believe that things will only get better for shops like yours - the dedication and heart you put into it really shows, and I think in the end, that is what is hopefully going to matter to people!

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  2. I'm hearin' ya! Bring on the Christmas ka-ching and the sweet swipe of plastic....nothing beats shopping in person and making connections.

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  3. Good sermon at the church of Pen today! It helps to hear others talk about the small business retail model... as a business that just spent a pretty penny (he he... penny) on a new online shop....I fell the extra stress of trying to manage another business within the business. Time will tell....I may well end up at St. V's drop in clinic.

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  4. more strength to your hand . (literally)
    only those that have taken the risk know how stressful it is..most of the time.hope the doldrums lift soon ...there is no sensory delight in shopping online.

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