Monday, February 28, 2011

Permit Woman

Yes.  I have a new nickname to add to my already large treasure trove of nicknames.  You may now call me "Permit Woman".  I finished submitting the Signage Permits on the City of Alexandria On-line permit center.  I am hoping this process goes fairly smoothly since Zoe already has Board of Architecture Review approval.  I am glad to have this first step done and will hopefully have them approved and in place so that when the exterior is ready for the signs, we can get them put up in a timely manner.

Today was another big milestone in the life of Zoe.  I delivered my first rent check to the landlord.  I am really really a tenant now!

Over the weekend, I received the final drawings of the letterhead, envelopes, contact cards and business cards from Cori.  She has sent out the requests for quotation to two companies and we should have information this week.  As you may recall, we are holding off on finalizing until after tomorrow due to the timing of Verizon's visit and the confirmation of the phone lines.

I'm continuing to work on Zoe's website and got some photos from one of my designers this morning to add to the site.  I'm really pleased with the way it is shaping up.  Oh, and my visit to the site today - it looked like some work had been done but I was really hoping to see more from an electrical standpoint.  I could see where they've marked the floor for the core drills but no core drilling has been done (yet).  Hopefully tomorrow when I go to meet with Verizon...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere

Life has been VERY busy in Zoe World!  I think I was in every corner of Old Town Alexandria just this morning!

The rainy morning started at Lloyd House on North Washington Street with the monthly meeting of the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association.  The meeting started out with the CEO of the Association providing a fantastic review of the demographic profile of visitors to Alexandria.  We learned everything from the total number of visitors annually (3.3 million) to the fact that the greatest majority are leisure travelers (rather than business), their average age and average income!

Following her presentation, the Director of Public Affairs for the group spoke about Alexandria's selection as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservations Dozen Distinctive Destinations.  This was the exciting award that Alexandria received earlier this month!  Then, representatives from 10 different membership organizations spoke briefly about their organization, upcoming events, and services that they offer.  I wished I could have stayed until the very end but I had to leave to make my construction meeting on time.

The construction meeting this morning was to review progress and address some open issues.  When I went into the space, some men work putting more drywall mud on the walls (progress!)  The meeting was productive and agreements were made on what to do with additional electrical wiring that is not needed for the store, requirements for core drillings, some slight light reconfiguration, and confirmation of the carpet, base, and paint samples.  As soon as the electrical contractor is done, the wall-in inspection can take place.  The hope is to be painting within a week and a half.  Despite all of the stresses, when I picture how things are going to look, I am very excited!

From there, I went to visit the Planning and Zoning office with the City to see if I could extend the amount of time my "Coming Soon" sign can be up (the permit allowed 30 days of which the last day is March 2nd).  Sadly, it cannot be extended so it will have to come down at the end of that day.  We are currently waiting to install my permanent signs based on the painting of the trim on the outside of the building.  The construction company will paint the trim and perform the caulking work at a time when temperatures day and night remain above 40 degrees.  Come on Spring!

Next on the list was a stop at the Business Post Office on Duke Street for my mail.  Much to my dismay, one of my shipments had been sent back to the shipper due to address confusion.  I've contacted them to see if we can get it sent to our home.  I have thrown myself on their mercy and asked if they could hold my mail for 3 more weeks.  The clerk felt it would be ok but took my phone number on the card to ask the manager about it.

Last night I got caught up with all of the entries into the point of sale system and worked on the website a bit more.  Never, ever a dull moment in Zoe World these days!  (That's how I like it!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shopkeepers Winter Social

Last night, I attended a Shopkeepers Winter Social in Old Town Alexandria at the Christmas Attic.   It was fun to meet other shopkeepers and store representatives and learn from them.  There are so many different unique businesses in Alexandria that offer a wide array of products and services.  We also played a game where we had to guess something that the person's store offered that might be out of the ordinary.  We found out a lot about each other!

The other shopkeepers were very helpful in providing me with suggestions on organizations that I may wish to join to help market and promote the business as well as get to know other business owners and become a greater part of the community.  As soon as I got home last night, I did additional research into the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, the Old Town Business and Professional Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

I also received my first spring shipment from Rebecca Taylor yesterday!  Beautiful colors - just opening the box made me so ready for spring!

I did do a quick check on the construction yesterday prior to going to the social - to the untrained eye, I could not see any more work done but there may be some electrical things going on that I can't see.  I am going to lunch today with my friend Tina and we will check out the progress after lunch.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I will be the first to say that I am not completely sold on Twitter.  I do think there can be benefits to businesses to communicate using this method of Social Media but I also think it can be overkill if not used thoughtfully.  I do have a personal and a Zoe Twitter account.  The personal one I mostly use to stave off boredom while in line somewhere, reading what those people/businesses I follow have written.  It did come in handy recently when I was traveling and wanted some information but was not going to be able to easily connect to a website.  Score one for Twitter.

The Zoe Twitter account, @ShopAtZoe, is used to follow my designers.  I eventually hope to use it to send messages on new arrivals and upcoming events at Zoe.  On Sunday while traveling to NY, I decided to use it for fun.  In the course of the day, I did get my first "Mention" on another Twitter account (one of my designers - LiaMolly).  A moment of excitement!   I'll keep trying it to see if I think it is valuable.

Yesterday, I did some order entry in the morning and still have more to do today.  Also looming on my list is mailing the IRS portion of the 1099s.  Web developer Phil and I traded emails and confirmed that we believe the site is ready for full turnover to me.  He and Web Designer Mark did such an amazing job.  And all done remotely - I've never met either of them.  Mark lives outside Durham, NC and Phil lives in British Columbia.  It says a lot about them that they could understand what I wanted and where I wanted to go with the site.  And very special thanks to Amy for introducing me to Mark (and to Cori for introducing me to Amy!)  The value of good relationships!

Due to a busy schedule yesterday, I didn't get to go to the site until after dinner.  Jim went with me since he hadn't been for a number of days.  The big mounds of debris are out of the floor, which definitely provides a better look at the floor space.  More drywall work and more electrical work had been completed.  Since I have the Winter Shopkeepers Social tonight at 5 across the street, I'll wait to go over later this afternoon.  On Friday morning, we have our first official construction meeting at which point I hope I can get a new schedule to help with future planning.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Birthday Every Day

Or that is what it seems like as I'm into receiving my first round of shipments of Spring clothing for Zoe!  The UPS man is my good friend now - I automatically go to the window when I hear him stop out front because he usually has something for me!

The clothes are well and economically packaged.  By economically, I mean they are folded flat and placed in clear plastic bags so that they can be shipped in the least number of boxes possible (this is good, since I usually pay for freight).  Each comes with a packing slip so that I can compare to what I ordered and confirm everything was received correctly.  I now have to order receipts that I need to enter into the point of sale system.

I was not sure if they would be working at the site yesterday but when I went over for my afternoon visit, it appeared that more wall priming and electrical work had been done.  I went later than usual since the George Washington Birthday Parade was held in Alexandria yesterday and I didn't want to get caught up in blocked streets or parade traffic.  I forgot to take my phone so I didn't get any pictures but will be sure to do so today.  I had the opportunity to show the space to Shari and Janie on Saturday evening.  They had seen it prior to construction starting so they were able to see a significant difference!

Every day are new steps forward for Zoe!  I turned over all of the accounting information to Joe on Saturday so that he could prepare the tax return.  I'm continuing to work on the content for the website.  Tomorrow I'm planning to submit the 1099 paperwork to the IRS.  And tomorrow evening is the Shopkeeper's Winter Social at the Christmas Attic!

Oh, and I had a very exciting idea for the furniture behind the cash wrap desk while at the grocery store on Saturday (I know...weird place for an idea).  More to come...

Monday, February 21, 2011

New York Market

On Sunday morning, I was on the 5:25 am Northeast Regional Amtrak train to New York for Fashion Coterie/Sole Commerce - the New York Market for Fall 2011 (I know...hard to believe).  It was a fantastic experience and definitely different from my first market experience in Atlanta in October of last year.  But, I will note, not different in a good or bad way.  Just different!

Union Station had NO restaurants or kiosks open serving coffee so I grabbed a table in the Cafe Car on the train and enjoyed my coffee and ride up.  We were actually 5 minutes early pulling into Penn Station in NY!

From my online research, I could see that Penn Station was slightly less than a mile from the Javits Center, where Coterie registration took place as well as 3 of my appointments.  The debate - did I walk (which would be practical and good for me and wouldn't harass a poor taxi driver to take me a mile away) or did I grab a cab (keep me out of the cold, unsure about the safety of the walk)?  When I emerged on the street at 33rd and 8th, I decided to walk.

Now, I'm not sorry I walked but I will say that was one of the coldest walks I've ever taken!  The temperature was about 25 degrees and the wind was blowing toward me off the Hudson River.  I was very glad that the walk was only about a mile!  And, as far as safety went, I didn't have to worry.  Between 8th and 9th Avenue, I passed a large gathering of policemen and women, meeting to plan their day.  I'm not sure I've ever seen so many police vehicles in one location.  I mostly passed restaurants and apartment buildings on my way to the Javits Center.

I had already registered online and had to pick up my badge at the registration desk.  They gave me a tote bag, a map, and a large magazine (one is printed each day of the show).  Since I was early for my first appointment, I strolled around and got the lay of the land.

Since Javits is a convention center, none of the booths are permanent booths - everything is temporary (in Atlanta, many of the spaces are permanent spaces with walls, the lower floors are temporary booths during market).  Everything is laid out in long aisles - walking through is like walking through a grid of city streets!  Thank goodness each location has an address and there are large signs hanging over the aisles to show what addresses are on that aisle.

The magazine they gave us (which I didn't have time to read until I was on the train coming back) said that there are 1,121 exhibitors (fashion lines), Expected attendees - 30,000 plus.  The booths at Javits cover International collections, Bridge lines, Eveningwear Collections, Contemporary Collections, and Denim (almost the entire 3rd floor is denim).  At a separate location (Pier 94), they have the shoe designers, more Contemporary Collections, and what they call their TMRW designers - new and emerging designers launching their first collections.

My first two appointments (with Chan Luu and Tracy Reese) went by quickly and easily.  Both of my Atlanta contacts for these two lines were at the NY show so I was working with people whom I had worked with previously.  In NY, the lines have models available and offer to have the models try on anything you'd like.

As soon as I was finished with Tracy Reese, I went outside the Javits Center to get the shuttle to Pier 94. The shuttle is a black 15 person van that drives back and forth between the two locations all day.  I was fortunate to get a seat!  Once I arrived at Pier 94, I took advantage of the free Cafe with food!  A spicy chicken dish with lots of vegetables.  Seating space was at a premium so I asked to sit with two young women speaking Russian.  You make lots of new friends in these situations.

I had four appointments at Pier 94 - Mother Denim, Velvet, Graham and Spencer, and Rebecca Taylor.  In the Velvet/Graham and Spencer area, it was VERY warm.  Now, I like being warm but this was bordering on too warm.  A couple of interesting notes from these meetings.  When I was looking at the Velvet line, it turned out I was sitting next to a buyer from Nordstrom!  Zoe...Nordstrom...I felt like I was in very prestigious circles!  On the other side of me, some women were looking at the line and then started complaining that they "couldn't look - it was too hot."  That's definitely a new one!  With all of these lines as well, I was working with people I had met in Atlanta.  (they did finally manage to get the heat turned down).

The Rebecca Taylor line was lovely also.  The booth was set up with two sides with two rows of chairs facing the walls on either side.  On one side they showed the Fall I line and the second side they showed the Fall II line.  At one point, I think all of the chairs were taken!  We are given clipboards and linesheets so we can follow along and make notes about anything we might want to order.  The linesheets show the price to us as retailers, the colors available, a drawing of the article of clothing, the sizes available and the suggested retail price.  We get to keep these linesheets following each presentation.

Once I finished up at Rebecca Taylor, I had one more appointment at the Javits Center so I was on the black van again!  My last meeting was with sweater/knit line LiaMolly from New Orleans.  I got to meet with one of the LiaMolly staff members AND snagged a praline cookie for Jim!

My walk back to Penn Station was much more comfortable, temperature and wind wise.  I hopped in the ticket counter line and was able to change my train to the 6:05 pm return (rather than the 7:55 pm).  I grabbed some dinner and then was on the train back home.  I was exhausted but felt like it was a very good day and a very good experience.

Some observations from the New York show:

  1. Everyone was wearing black
  2. I saw a lot of fur (or fake fur)
  3. Everyone is very thin
  4. There were a tremendous number of different accents and a number of foreign buyers (I saw tags that said Dominican Republic, Canada, etc.)
  5. Lots of very high heels - knowing I was going to be walking, I decided not to torture myself.  Not sure how some of these people survived the day!
  6. Large turnout - would be curious to know how busy it was today and tomorrow also
  7. Definitely an amped up energy at this show.  Although I also love the laid back atmosphere of Atlanta.  They both have lots of positives.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Avoiding the Vacuum Cleaner

After breakfast, I like to go right to work on reviewing and responding to email.  This morning, I had so much to look at!  Based on our conversations, Cori sent me sample designs of business cards, note cards, stationary, envelopes, and contact cards.  Once again, she blesses me with amazing work!  I've looked at the samples twice today and hope to finalize my decisions by tomorrow afternoon.

I spoke to the store layout designer at Barr Display this morning.  I've placed my order for the fixtures.  They will go ahead and "pick" the items I have identified.  I can then give them two days notice when I'm ready to receive them at the store.  That helps a lot so that I'm not quite so stuck with the 2 week lead time.

Another focus each morning is continued testing of the website as well as continued work on content.  I could easily lose myself in this for a long time (but the vacuum here at home called my name so I had to stop having fun for a while).

The trip to the store today did not disappoint!  I can see that the electrical contractors have been busy:

Wiring in the wall of my office

Wall prep around the windows (and still lots of debris in the floor!)

The schedule that I have says that they are working on Monday but I am not 100% sure that is the case.  I'll look forward to Monday afternoon's trip!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zoe - The Sign Model

This morning I was working on the "fun" part of the job - updating my accounting software with the latest entries.  Much to my happiness, I was interrupted by a phone call from the people at Affordable Signs and Banners.  Zoe's outdoor signs were ready!  I drove down after lunch to pay them and was very excited to find that they had one of Zoe's signs on display as a "model" to show other customers.  Here it is!
Quite stylish!

Because the exterior of the space isn't ready for the signs yet, they will hold onto them until I'm ready.

From there, I drove to Zoe's home for my daily visit.  Some more drywall has gone up and they are prepping the walls for paint.  AND, some of the debris had been removed from the space.

Dressing Room Drywall

Wall Prep next to one of the windows (looking across the street at the Christmas Attic)

From there, I walked up to City Hall to get a copy of my approved BAR signage application so that I can apply for the necessary signage permits.  

As you can imagine, shipments from Zoe's clothing suppliers are starting to arrive from my buying trip at the Apparel Market last October.  Today, I received a shipment from Laurie B, who does beautiful knits.  I can't wait for you to see them!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My friend Janice called me today as she was driving by Zoe's home.  She reported that there were men going in and out of the store, carrying drywall and big buckets of joint compound!  I was so excited - it was definitely the best phone call I had all day!

After my WordPress training with Phil, I drove over to take a look for myself.  What may not look like much to you is BEAUTIFUL to me!

This drywall framing for space that I reclaimed.  It had originally been a bump-in.

Drywall in the cash wrap area

Restroom area/Office drywall

Looking into the storage area from the office space.

Hoping that tomorrow will bring even more beautiful pictures!  And, a significant piece of joy - the humongous dehumidifier that had been in the floor space since November was gone!  The pile of rubble is getting really big, though.  I think it will soon be time to take out the trash. 

The WordPress session that Phil did with me today was excellent.  I learned so much by "doing" and asking "how will I do this?"  I am very pleased with the logical way he has developed the site based on Mark's design.  And we got a chance to review remaining action items and he has already completed almost all of them.  I love how he made it simple for me to maintain the site!

Vote for your Favorite Destination - Alexandria

In yesterday's ceremony at City Hall, Alexandria was named one of twelve distinctive destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation!  You can vote for Alexandria to be #1 once a day at the link below!  So delighted that Zoe is going to have her home in Alexandria!

Vote for your Favorite Destination

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hectic (In a Good Way)

I had such a busy day on Monday and was preparing to post a new blog entry when our power went out (caused by the high winds here in the DC area).  Fortunately, it had been a warm day, so the house stayed comfortable and the power was back on prior to 10 pm last night.  The only negative was that I didn't get to cook the special Valentine's dinner I had planned for Jim (we ended up going out for Chinese).

My day started with a summarization of my Safari and Internet Explorer testing of Zoe's website for my Web Developer Phil.  He has already made most of the changes (we are saving some for my WordPress training session)!  And, my training session is set for Wednesday afternoon!  I can't wait!

Next up on the list was a delightful conversation with Verizon.  Always a highlight.  I had wanted to confirm my second phone line number as well as relook at my order status.  When I tried to do so using their online feature on Sunday, their system acted as though the order didn't exist!  Let's just say I was a little nervous so I called them as soon as they opened on Monday.  They confirmed everything was fine (never did get an explanation regarding why the web inquiry didn't work) but said "Oh, by the way, don't use those numbers on'll likely get them but there is a chance you won't."  Huh?  So, what was the purpose in picking them???  I shake my head.

I have been so excited about the fashion shows during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NY!  I realized that the next Atlanta Market isn't until the end of March, at which time I HOPE to be open or close to opening.  Since they always show the season's fashions first in NY, I've decided to make a quick trip to the show Coterie on Sunday (thank goodness for Amtrak).  I've made appointments today to look at the fall lines of Zoe's key designers.  I can't wait to experience the NY show!  I'll make sure to make a full report.  (Oh, and buyer credentials were MUCH easier for this show - a recent invoice and a business card).

Yesterday, I picked our a substitute carpet for my office space at Zoe's home.  There is a local flooring shop close to our house (they've done floor and countertop work in my home) that does residential and commercial flooring.  They let me look through their books and find something appropriate for Zoe.  That information went to the construction company yesterday.  Sadly, no more progress on the store since Friday - I'm REALLY hoping (per the schedule) for more tomorrow when I visit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ramping Up

Last week was truly a "ramp up" week for Zoe!  In addition to all of the construction activities, I've completed design and ordering of the gift cards with the help of Candice at POS*IM, received an invitation to a merchant's event in Alexandria, and started the finalization of the web site!

Designing the front of the gift card was easy - Cori's beautiful logo looks lovely and the proof was turned around in the matter of an hour.  Designing the reverse side was more difficult.  To be honest, I use gift cards and give them as gifts but I don't ever spend time reading what is written on the back!  But, I had to determine how Zoe would accept gift cards and what we would do if one was lost or stolen.  I put together that verbiage for Candice on Friday morning and the gift cards shipped on Friday afternoon.  I started with an order of 100 as I am not sure what the demand will be.  Now that the design is in place, I can always easily order more if needed.

On Friday afternoon, I received an invitation to an Alexandria merchants event to take place on February 23.  It is called an "Old Town Shopkeeper's Winter Social".  The goal is to get to know each other and help provide references as to what other stores our customers may wish to visit!  I'm looking forward to participating!

And, we are now in the final phases of the development of Zoe's website.  We chose WordPress as the content management system so I am in the process of learning as much as possible so that I can maintain the site going forward.  I've already been poking around the administrative function and bought a book last night to help learn more.  Web Developer Phil is also going to do a Skype training session with me this upcoming week.  I've also been doing some testing in both IE and Safari to see how the website works/looks.  I need to also do some testing in Firefox and Chrome.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Demolition as a Thing of Beauty

I had to control the urge to dance in the middle of Union Street after seeing the work REALLY start on Zoe's space on Friday.  The demolition work had been mostly completed in the morning and the framing by 1 pm in the afternoon.  These pictures were taken on Saturday morning.

Look at this beautiful pile of rubble and discarded material!

A bump "in" that was removed - this will be covered with drywall.

Framing for the handicap dressing room.  This space previously had very large rolling file cabinets.

Second dressing room.  The dressing rooms will have doors.

The framing is up for my office space and a small storage space.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cash Wrap

Pictures of the cash wrap I bought at German Favorite Antiques!  A wonderful shopping day with friends Janice and Karen!  The piece is from a shop in Nuremberg, Germany from the 1900s.  Fortunately, they are storing it for me until the store is ready for it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gift Cards

Do you like to give and receive gift cards?  Most people seem to like them so I am in the process of ordering some for Zoe.  Fortunately, the company that does my point of sale software (POS*IM) also does gift cards that work with the software.  I spoke to Candice yesterday and have sent my artwork for the card.  I'm planning to include a gift card as part of the items for the silent auction in May so thought I had been get moving!

I spent the morning doing some accounting and inventory work.  I'm looking forward to developing a "rhythm" in the new job.  Since I am (currently) planning to be closed on Mondays, I am now trying to move much of my errand running and appointments to Mondays so that it will feel more natural when it becomes the new way of life!

I did my daily store visit.  The tall ladder had been moved and some type of electrical box had been roughed in the ceiling at one point.  That was all the progress that I could see.  According to the schedule, today and tomorrow should be significant demolition days so I'm hoping to see a LOT of progress when I visit later today.

I'm eager to see the potential cash wrap desk that Janice found last weekend in Leesburg.  We're going out early to also look at an estate sale close by.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Now that we are moving forward with construction, I get to focus on all of those "move in" sorts of things, one of the primary being security.  Obviously, for multiple reasons, it is important to have a security system in place at Zoe.  After researching various options, I met with ADT Tom at the space yesterday to discuss the requirements and configuration.  We put together a reasonable, affordable system that covers all of my needs.

Through Cousin Valerie, I was connected with a young woman who designs jewelry.  Since I'm always on the lookout for unique pieces that are made in the US, I was delighted to see her portfolio.  She is currently selling pieces in two locations in Alabama.  I've contacted her to see what she might be able to design for Zoe!

In Alexandria related news, Neighbor Claire is a docent at Carlyle House and forwarded me an invitation to a significant award that will be given to Alexandria next Tuesday.   Here are the details as they are known thus far:

All that noise and fanfare you are about to hear at Market Square is a celebration - Alexandria will be recognized for just how wonderful a place it is! At noon sharp on Tuesday, February 15, at Market Square in front of City Hall, Mayor William Euille will be presented with an award (what the award is and who is doing the presenting we can't say) in a ceremony with music, historic re-enactors and more. The city has won this prestigious award from the most important historic-preservation organization in the country. As one of a handful of cities and towns around the country - and the only one in Virginia - to receive the honor, Alexandria is being recognized for the independent spirit of its many individually owned businesses as well as its commitment to historic preservation. The awards announcement will get national attention, and media is expected for this event so it's important to show the world how excited and proud we are of this accomplishment.

Kind of makes all of that signage hassle worthwhile!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Just Not That Hard

My favorite phrase, especially when dealing with my friends at Verizon.  I knew that it was time to suck it up and contact Verizon to set up my phone and fax lines for Zoe.  After a brief pep talk from my friend and former co-worker Super V, I started the process.  Here's the thing - although I have a new address for Zoe (assigned by the City), it is still the same building as 1 Prince Street.  Verizon provides internet service to 1 Prince.  Yet, they can't tell me if they can provide internet service to 130 South Union.  Despite the fact that I have explained to them that it is physically 1 Prince but with a different address.  Seriously, it's just not that hard.

I did come away with a phone and fax number and a promise that they would "see" if internet service was available there.  Don't get me started....

I also spoke to a representative from ADT regarding an intrusion detection system for the store and am meeting a rep onsite at the store this morning to discuss requirements and pricing.

I made my promised trip to the store in the early afternoon.  They have completed the removal of all parts and pieces of the large rolling file cabinets.  I can't wait to see some serious changes begin!  While in the space, I got a call from sweater/knit company LiaMolly.  My first shipment is ready to go!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Here We Go!

While I was in Georgia over the weekend, I met with Jenny of Fussy Frog Designs.  I've been looking for some fun, reasonably priced stationary for the store and had received some of her stationary as a gift at Christmas.  She is going to prepare 5 designs for me to start out selling in the store as a fun add-on.  I'm excited about this.

My friend Janice helped me immensely by looking for a unique piece for the cash wrap area during her antique hunting trip in Leesburg this past weekend.  She found a gorgeous piece and emailed pictures to me.  She, friend Karen and I are going to take a look at the piece in person (and see how it would look with my flooring and paint samples) this Thursday.

I have the construction contract and schedule in hand (as well as my own copy of the permit - maybe I'll frame it).  I have some changes to the contract (no surprise there) but the construction company is already working away.  Much of the work can be done by early March but there is a delay in the laying of the flooring which I need to understand more in depth.  Lots to do this week as far as starting to arrange phone and internet service, alarm system and adjust the shipping address for this month's clothing shipments.  I'm going to run over this afternoon to look at the space and will take pictures of anything interesting to share.

I've gotten a lot of great feedback on the Coming Soon sign from people who have seen it in person.  That is just delightful!  AND, we should be ready to launch the website later this week.  I heard from the web developer on Friday that he will be ready for me to look at it in the early part of the week.  I'm thrilled because this is exactly the schedule we agreed to back in December!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February Market

Today was a long but productive day at the Atlanta Apparel Market.  Cameras are not allowed in the showrooms or at the fashion shows but I did take this picture of one of the runway areas from above (I think I was about 5 stories above when I took the picture).

They have fashion shows here twice a day called "The Daily Strut".  I got to see some of the noon show this time.

The Market was busy today - it seemed more busy today than it was on the first day of the market in October of last year.  And there were many more lines at this market than at the last one.

It was fun to no longer be a "rookie"!  I had already done a "Fast Badge" online prior to leaving so I got checked in and got my badge in record time.  I knew to snag a large bag that they were handing out to all the buyers, take advantage of the lunch coupon, and grab a lip gloss at 11 (all of these perks for buyers are spelled out online and in the book they give you when you check in).  And, they have free wireless in the building so I was able to keep up with email between appointments.

All of my appointments went well and I enjoyed seeing what are now becoming familiar faces.  I added two jewelry lines today - John Wind and Aurora.  Both are made in the US (Aurora is made in North Georgia) and have fun, unique pieces.  In fact, Aurora's pieces are all unique - she does only one of a kind jewelry.

The rest of my visits were with lines I had purchased in October.  While most of my ordering was summer-related, I had the opportunity to order some early fall items from Tracy Reese.  Gorgeous colors, patterns, and styles coming this summer from all of the lines.

By the time I finished up at 4:45, I had hit that sensory overload level.  And I was much more focused in my shopping this time around than I had been in October.  When I had come to market the first time, I felt like I had to see everything I could possibly see!  This time was focused and managed and I definitely made the absolute most of my time here!  Can't wait to share the new finds with you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Permits At Last

The Construction Project Manager had told me that we should have word on the permits today.  The normal workday went by and....nothing.  I was feeling very glum about the whole thing, wondering what I was going to do next to try to get this process moving.

I'm in Atlanta for the Apparel Market and was on the MARTA (the subway) from the airport to my hotel downtown.  I checked my email and there was the confirmation email!  I was SO excited!  I immediately sent emails to my family to let them know (as they have suffered through this with me!)  Tomorrow I should have a more firm project schedule so that I can move forward with the rest of the missing pieces.  This is a HUGE milestone and a HUGE relief!

Remember when I talked about a potential tagline a few days ago (for the ResortMaps ad)?  I decided not to go with a tagline but instead describe briefly the business "Contemporary Women's Clothing and Accessories".  I really don't think Zoe needs a tagline - the boutique will have a personality all it's own that defies a strict definition.  The young woman from ResortMaps said that my descriptive words were fine.

Busy, busy day at Market tomorrow - 5 appointments starting at 9:15!