As of this weekend (Mid-February…) we have officially been open for business nine months. I’ll admit that it has not been without its ups and downs. There are days when business is so good that our optimism soars. And then there are those others that pass with not a single customer coming through the door. When that happens, the mood tends to shift into unwelcome channels of “what if?” I Wrote the first version of this post last summer after being open for only a couple of months. A lot has changed in the interim, but just as many things remain virtually the same.
I still struggle with the moods that swing up and down with the rhythm of business, and still second guess myself far too often. Most puzzling, perhaps, is our seeming inability to become established as a “local business”, to really discover our niche in Fort Davis.
Our customers have been, and remain, though this is slowly changing, mostly tourists. Visitors to the area are our mainstay, and bring in most of our revenue. I am glad to say that more and more, though, we are seeing familiar faces, local, or area shoppers who visit us when they are in town. I am trying to find more patience, and adapt to the changing patterns of our shop’s patronage accordingly.
Looking Ahead and Around
While nine months may be long enough to gestate a child, it is still a relatively short time in which to build a business. Time really does fly. We all are beginning to realize that you can’t get caught in these loops of judging relative success by the week, or even the month. A great deal goes into running even a tiny shop such as ours, and I can’t pretend that we are yet anywhere near caught up.
I have at least a notion by now of where I would like to see the business be, but am not quite sure of How to get there. The fact is though, that we can’t allow ourselves get caught in the immediate ups and downs. I think the best approach is to take the long view. We need to be constantly looking at how and where we can improve. Figuring out how we can make more people aware of where we are, and what we have to offer, is the ongoing challenge. While Social media is an invaluable tool, its not the end all or be all. We still need to find ways to Stand Out.
I did reopen my Etsy Shop last summer after over a year and a half hiatus— and that has provided a valuable revenue stream for the store. Starting that back up was a good decision, but presents its own challenges at times. I am constantly hampered by lack of space, both at the store and at home. I would call it Growing Pains, but we already knew when we rented this space, that it would be tight. Organizing stock, and getting items packed and shipped are exercises in flexibility and innovation.
While the name of the Etsy Shop changed when we opened our business in Texas, I was lucky to be able to build on the foundation established after five years of selling on that platform. I haven’t listed much new since I opened. That’s another time consumer, aside from not having the space to get properly organized. However, having sold a fair amount of stock over the last few months, it is something I will be soon attending to. For those who want to take a look at the Etsy Shop, here’s a Link to Over the Rainbow TX Etsy Shop. For the vintage lovers locally, or those visiting Fort Davis, we always have some cute and unusual vintage Items at our Brick and Mortar location as well.
I still very much want, and intend, to get an online version of our shop going on this website, but I’m not there yet. For now, I will continue to work on expanding the Etsy Shop. Hopefully though, we’ll be able to get the online portion of our Store active in the very near future. I will make sure and let everyone Know.
Open for Business and Looking Good
It is important to build on your strengths, and we have been gratified at the response our hard work and attention to detail has garnered thus far. I joke sometimes that if compliments were profits, we’d be doing very well indeed. All joking aside though, we are gratified and proud to have a shop that is as attractive and appealing as our little space has become. It is, if admittedly a little quirky, a most pleasant place to spend our days. This is constantly reinforced for us by the very flattering customer feedback we receive.
We have gotten so many lovely compliments from our visitors, that I have unabashedly started using the Tag #thecuteststoreintown. We aren’t resting on our (Self-Conferred ) laurels though. We remain always open to what our customers would like to see in a Local Store. If anyone has suggestions, we would welcome them. All three of us are continually watching what sells, and who buys it, and take the requests we’ve had very seriously. So, if there’s some particular goodie you’d like to see, or some suggestion as to how we can better serve the community, just let us know.
Looking to the Future
Assess and then Re-assess
In the months since we’ve opened, we have had to constantly reassess the direction our store wants and needs to go. We have added a lot of home-decor type items, many of them with a definite Spiritual Vibe. As it turns out, this works very well for us on a number of levels. Our pre-loved clothing has done well, and that too is in accord with our lifestyle and philosophy which centers largely around the environment, and principles like re-use, re-purposing and re-cycling goods already in existence before manufacturing new.
We’ve done well with our line of Eco-Friendly home goods for bath and kitchen. Handmade soaps and organic products are a mainstay. Our lines of incense, along with the burners and other associated items, have been much more successful than might have been expected. It’s fun choosing new items for the store, but a little scary also. Not everything that we have had high hopes for has done well in the shop.
We have lots of plans yet, and we will continue to talk about these, and about our philosophies concerning community, local living and healing the planet we live on. Hopefully, we can keep it interesting enough that more of our local population will discover us. We love seeing our regulars already. Fort Davis is an awesome place to live and work, and we believe that it can be even more so. However, in order for that to happen, folks will have to shift their mindsets a bit. #Live Local, #Shop Local and #Shop Small. We believe that small businesses are what will keep both the economy and the planet on the road to healing and growth.
This beautiful rainbow mobile was a gift from our good friend and very talented lady (also my favorite boss of all times) Kathy in North Carolina.
Print Shop Update
Aside from being a retail shop, we are slowly beginning to offer some printing services. Check us out for basic printing like copies, fliers or brochures. If you’ve got a particular project in mind, come in or contact Gabe at (432) 300-0612 to find out if its something we can do and get pricing. We can do vinyl and sublimation tee-shirts, and both Gabe and Gaia are happy to help with custom design.
In the near future, we’ll be posting a price list on basic services. We will continue to expand and learn how better to serve you. In the meanwhile, if we can possibly help, feel free to ask. We’ll be quite honest if its something we can’t handle at present.
Wishing you a a magical and blessed week. Until Next Time we meet…
Somewhere Over the Rainbow!