Have you ever seen someone you love from a distance? They don't see you looking at them but you can see them standing there or walking in your direction. Your heart swells just a little bit and you feel so good that they are part of your life. I feel that way about Zoe.
I park at a garage about a half block from Zoe. Each morning as I walk down the street, I look at her windows and have that same "love" feeling. And when I put my key into the locks, my heart jumps at imagining what the day will bring!
1) I love my customers. I have met some of the most lovely women (and nice men) over the course of the year. They share parts of their lives with me and I feel so privileged. I get to hear about their jobs, their grandchildren, their weddings, their fashion desires (and woes), their travels, and their joys and sadness.
2) I love being part of a community. I not only have several neighborhood friends who stop in to visit me but my day is also brightened by my relationships with Parking Attendant Jared, Mailman Dave and UPS Driver Freddie. And it is fascinating to follow the details of the political and social issues here in Alexandria. Who would think in a big metropolitan area like this that you could find such a small town feel? It almost makes me feel like I'm back in my hometown!
3) I love hearing how something a customer bought made them feel or the compliments they got when wearing it. I'll admit, this is such a source of delight for me. I've shared stories in past blog entries about the places Zoe's clothing has gone, the feedback I've gotten from customers wearing the item into the store, and even blog posts on items they've purchased! This morning, I passed a customer on the street and we were wearing the same article of clothing from Zoe! We greeted each other and laughed about how we matched!
4) I love the clothes. Yes, I do love the clothes. And I (mostly) resist turning the store into my closet. As stressful as it can be to go to market and try to make the decisions on what to order (and what sizes and colors and styles my customers will like), I had never learned to love and appreciate everything that goes into the design and sourcing of a dress, a pair of denim, or a bracelet until now.
5) I love the creative people. I've written about this a great deal but I can't write about my loves without mentioning all of the creative people who I get to meet and work with through owning Zoe. From the designers themselves to my sign makers, to the artists that work down the street from me at The Torpedo Factory, to the talented illustrators and graphic designers, not to mention Zoe's Aunts (and window decorators extraordinaire Janice and Karen), I get my creative inspiration from all sources.
6) I love the ability to make decisions. Now, they aren't always the right ones. But, I get to make them and live with the outcome (good or bad). It is a constant learning process (which I'll talk about in the next post).