Friday, May 23, 2014

What I’ll Love

Owning a business is truly a labor of love. And while it has brought me much happiness, there are a few things I won’t miss once Zoe closes on June 8, 2014 (and some things I’ll get to enjoy!).

1) Black Friday – I will now be snug in my bed on the morning of Black Friday.  I will look forward to seeing all of your purchases on social media and hearing about your adventures.  I will not be at my store at 5 am ensuring that the electricity is on and the internet is up and I can process credit cards.  I won’t be fretting “Will anyone come?” (They always came but store owners always worry that no one is going to come to their event).    I won’t worry about how long Thanksgiving dinner is taking because I really need to go to bed early.  But I still believe that Alexandria does a fantastic job of providing a great Black Friday experience in a way that is a benefit for the stores and the customer.  So if Black Friday is something you enjoy, you should put Alexandria on your list.

2) Worrying about the Weather – I look at the 7 day forecast, the 3 day forecast, the 1 day forecast and the hourly forecast.  Ask me and I can usually tell you that thunderstorms are predicted to start at 4 pm or that we’ll have cooler weather on Sunday.  Because weather is often key for a small business.  Rain or snow, too hot or too cold often means a dip in business.  Now, I’ll look at the weather forecast to ensure I’m dressed appropriately for the day!

3) Holidays with my Family – As many of you know, my precious family lives in Georgia.  I don’t get to see them very often and am thankful for phone calls, email, and FaceTime.  With Black Friday and Christmastime being so important to the business, I haven’t traveled during those times.   And it has been challenging to even go for a weekend at other times of the year.  While they are also sad to see me leave Zoe, they are already excited for my visits!

4) Bad Practices by Vendors – I will say that, for the most part, the vendors I deal with are honest, thoughtful, and straight-forward.  But those that aren’t can really be problematic.  They are in every industry but those bad apples in the fashion industry seem to take the most laissez faire attitude toward things.  They will decide not to make something because they didn’t get enough orders for it or ended up having problems in manufacturing with the design or material.  But they don’t tell you that they aren’t going to ship it.  And if you ordered that piece to go with something else and one ships and one doesn’t, you are going to have an outlier in your store.  Rather than tell you and give you the opportunity to change your order, they ship what they did make and THEN tell you they cancelled the other piece.  And you have no leverage to make them make that skirt!

5) Anonymity -  I have loved getting to know people through the store.  My customers, my employees, my fellow store owners and small business proprietors are precious to me.  But I didn’t realize how much people would want to know me.  I’m a pretty private person.  I don’t do much that is interesting or exciting.  I’ll admit it has sometimes been hard to put myself out there.  I’m looking forward to going back to a quieter life.

Ah, but the lessons I’ve learned….look forward to that post in the next week as well as continuing perspective on life at Zoe from those who have been part of the journey!

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