When Zoe was turning one in 2012, I wrote a series of three blog posts on What I Miss, What I Love and What I've Learned. I recently enjoyed reading those posts and reflecting on them. As Zoe prepares for her transition, I thought it might be interesting to answer those same questions again.
Not surprising, many of the things I loved after that first year are the things that I am going to miss today.
1) I'll miss my customers. Without a doubt, my customers have been the most delightful, fulfilling part of owning the store. I often think about what my life would have been like had it not been enriched by you. It is likely that the majority of us may never have crossed paths without Zoe to introduce us. I'm so grateful that you have allowed me and Zoe to become part of your lives.
2) I'll miss being part of a community. Alexandria is a great place to do business (once you get through all the nonsense of all the permitting red tape). With vibrant, active groups like the Old Town Boutique District, the Old Town Business & Professional Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, there are so many opportunities to promote your business and to network with others who believe in all that Alexandria has to offer.
3) I'll miss the clothes. I'm already feeling the withdrawal of not going to Market since January. Shopping for the store (and, as an extension, for my customers) allowed me to see and consider so many beautiful things. I've never approached shopping as a drudgery. Even before Zoe, it was always about the look, the feel, the style, the message, the story. Imagine how that felt for me to get to apply those feelings on a large scale and not just for my own closet. And I truly did learn to love and appreciate everything that goes into the design and sourcing of a dress, a pair of denim, and a bracelet. (Jim is worried about the effect this is going to have on my closet)
4) I'll miss the creativity. If there is one primary lesson I've learned, it is that my soul is at peace when I have the opportunity to create something. From putting together outfits for customers to writing for Alexandria Stylebook to planning our store events, I am energized by the creative process. While I have many ideas of things to come once my schedule allows, I know that, no matter what, I must still make time to create.
5) I'll miss my fantastic staff. You'll be hearing more from them over the next few weeks. But they have made me a better person and Zoe a better place to be. While some were friends before Zoe opened, I know all of them will be forever friends.
6) I'll miss having the one thing in this world that I built from scratch. From the tiniest seed that Jim planted in my mind one warm May evening in 2005 through to today, everything at Zoe is representative of me and my vision. If you've read this whole blog "cover to cover", you know that starting a business is no small thing. Keeping it going is no small thing either. But the feeling of looking around in the quiet of an early morning and seeing your handiwork isn't something you can really explain to someone who hasn't done it. And once you've done it, you want to do it again.
Now, I have to save some of the juiciest stories for my future best-seller but look forward next week to my summary of the things I'm going to love!