This could be the longest blog post in history...or could occupy blog posts for the remainder of the week. In the interest of keeping it somewhat brief, I've edited it down to some of the ones that have been drilled into my brain. As with the two previous topics, no particular order is involved.
1) It is possible to get stuck in a dress. It is not at all funny until after it is over. IT friends, this is one of those disaster recovery scenarios I should have planned for.
2) Always be very cautious as to whom you allow to use the store's bathroom.
3) Don't order dresses with ruffles at the bustline. They only look good on 0.0000001% of women. They will be hard to sell.
4) In a similar vein, consider sizing when ordering sleeveless dresses. What might look great in one size won't work in other sizes.
5) Speaking of sleeveless, make sure you order dresses with sleeves. Women want them. And they will make it very clear to you. Not everyone has triceps of steel.
6) Try on everything that comes into the store. That way, you know how the sizing runs and if there are any anomalies to the try on process. This can include everything from unhooking the underlying cami to warning the customer about the zipper to different ways to wear the dress. It makes a HUGE difference. (Plus, all that trying on is fun!)
7) Don't order pants that are see-through. Enough said.
8) Claritin is your friend. Especially if you keep the store's door open in the Spring and Fall pollen seasons.
9) Unless it is a fire, a flood, or a robbery, nothing you do is so important that it can't wait until the next day.
10) Don't be afraid to say "No". Everyone wants to sell you something. You don't want or need all of it. And you can do it in a way that is polite.
11) Do your best not to take the unkind remarks about you, the store, or the clothing personally. Often, the issue isn't about any of those things. Be as kind and compassionate to those people as you are to those who are kind to you.
12) Don't be afraid to "put yourself out there". One reason people shop in a boutique is because it is personal. They want to know you - who you are and what you like.
13) There is no real science to the shopping process with the exception of seasonality and weather. And the fact that women who shop at Zoe love the color blue.
14) Amtrak is the most delightful way to travel. Even though I'm working, I love my train trips!
15) Men buying gifts for their wives are so lovely. They really care and want to do just the right thing. Reassure him that if she doesn't like it, she can come in and you'll help her find something she likes. 9 times out of 10, he'll have hit a home run! It is then always fun to meet the wife later and hear her brag about what a great job her husband did on picking out the gift!
On a serious note:
16) When you own a business and devote significant time to it, you find out who your true friends are. I've really been overwhelmed with the love from my friends in the almost 2 years I've been working on Zoe. Your emails, your calls, your encouraging words at just the right times, your reading the blog, your stopping in to see me, and your flexibility to getting together with me are all a significant part of why I'm able to keep going. You truly lift me up constantly. I can only hope that I am able to give back to you the friendship levels you deserve.
17) Last (but actually first), I continue to learn to rely on God for all things. I've talked about it in other blog posts but I've never been in a situation until now (the closest would be when my father was dying) that I was so completely powerless in not only the outcome but in what happens on a day to day basis. I know God has transformed me through Zoe. He put me here for a reason and I'll be here as long as He has need for me to fulfill my purpose here. I pray each day that he will allow me to use the gifts He has given me to honor and glorify Him. And that Zoe will be successful, but His definition of success, not mine. You'd have to know me quite well to understand the transformation and deepening of my faith in the last year.
Next Up: Zoe Turns One!!!