Saturday, October 30, 2010
Blessings seem to come to us when we MOST need them! As some of you know this new consignment gallery has been my latest project and my BIGGEST worry! I mean keeping me up at night...losing sleep and weight worry! Which all in all isn't the WORST thing that could happen...I mean losing the weight...not the not sleeping part of the equation.
I've always been a bit of a gambler...I usually approach things from the viewpoint of..."Okay...what is the WORST thing that could happen if I fail at this?" Usually it's been a good way of pushing myself to do things that most people wouldn't. Sometimes it's paid of BIG...and other times I've picked myself up...brushed me self off...and told myself that at least I tried. It hasn't killed me yet...and at my age...I think a few more gambles are in order. When I stop trying to go forward even when the odds are stacked against me...it's time to hang it up.
I'm delighted and HONORED to have the wonderful encouragement you...my darling sparkie friends have given me. Absolutely bowled over by your positive vibes and awesome comments. They mean the WORLD to me...they really do.
I'm not getting much of a vibe of encouragement.. whatsoever from our big circle of friends.. that we've known for the past 20+ years.. and I can't quite figure that out.
Maybe it's because they can't fathom sticking their necks out to attempt the monumental feat we are starting. And why should they be able to identify with where we are.. since they are in such a different place?
Most of them are retired and their money has been made, safe and secure under lock and key in a fail safe bank.
But since most of them have been small business owners you'd think they'd still remember the spark of excitement that launching a new business venture ignites...you'd think they could muster up the APPEARANCE of excitement and encouragement...just a little itsey... bitsey bit... for us!
Last night, in our Friday night group I really felt like a fish out of water, I felt like everyone was doubting me. It was uncomfortable to say the least and we decided that since we were bushed form the day's events and had a 5:30 a.m. wake up call for the markets this morning we wouldn't stay for the entire evening.
That felt odd too...excusing ourselves and knowing that we could well be the topic of the rest of the evenings conversations...."Do you believe the Signs'....do you even believe that they are trying this...in THIS economy...with THEIR limited funds...they must be nuts?"
Those are the conversations that I felt were being rallied around the dinner table, and I was a little exasperated with myself for not staying in my own defense...but you know...people are always in your corner when you are on top...they are always circling the waters when they think you are the golden one...but the people I want in my life now are the ones that are there with the life rafts of hope and encouragement, the ones that extend a hand even though they know the whole bleak story...warts and all!
Those are the people that I experience every single day with my Spark buddies...who said virtual world ain't just fine? I've even taken a few swipes from my friends about my 'invisible friends on the web'...that ruffles my feathers..I ask them when they talk on the telephone with a friend...does that make THEM invisible too? Silly stuff people use that cuts petty.
I met one of our commercial neighbors who sells the MOST beautiful fabrics and does reupholstery. I think she may also be a designer...she is SO wonderfully authentic and nice. We visited a little today while I told her about the Farmer's Market and how I thought that it would help bring her business if she sat up a little display for people to see. I found out as our conversation went on that in the height of her career she had three fabulous houses in a swanky community in Naples. Her home was well over 8,000 sf, she had two other homes, one over 5,000 sf and one over 4,000 sf. She told me that she owned Mercedes, Jags (still has) and BMW's. She told me how she ALWAYS got invited to the most upscale parties and people rallied around her because of WHAT she had. Then she told me that she lost every one of the houses, and lost the big 'look at me' cars...and the neighbors...even the GUARDS at the security gates treated her differently...looking down their noses at her.
I felt like I had met my twin self...and I saw such a beautiful compassionate lovely person I knew that God had placed her in my path as a reflection that everything will be okay with this new business venture. We just have to have faith, work hard, and believe in ourselves.
I hope to pass business onto her...and she showed me some of her magnificent pieces of furniture that she wants to place in our gallery for consignment.
These are EXACTLY the kind of high end...one of a kind.. exquisite things I was hoping for...and poof there they were...right next door to me...sitting there waiting for me to come along and meet their owner...all is right in the world for me today...for sure...for sure!
God truly does place his angels where you need to meet them exactly WHEN you need to meet them...never lose faith in yourself or what you are capable of!
I'm another pound down...one more indicator...that if I concentrate and work hard fighting the GOOD fight...things work out as they should. And...on that note I end with a big happy Whooppee!
Friday, October 29, 2010
YES...my sweetsies...it's getting closer and closer to becoming a reality. This new business venture of opening a Consignment Furniture & Accessories Gallery.
It won't be long before you get to see some progress pictures. As they say...it's come a long way baby!
We still have to get the wood flooring purchased and installed in the front office section where I will display my jewelry. Whoop da...a REAL LIVE shoppe for my customers to be able to come and visit! I'm SO blessed that I've worked up a following throughout my years at the Farmer's Markets. They actually tell me I'm the first one they want to come and visit when they return to Florida.
Thats QUITE the compliment when I win out over the fresh produce, or the fish guy..hee.hee! A sad note is that one of our biggest organic farmers went belly up this year. He was SO POPULAR...always had THE BEST produce! He lost a few crops last year due to the freeze and that put him behind the eight ball. Some say he had tax problems...other's say he lost the lease on his land after he fell behind on payments. Just SO SAD...Farmer Mike was around for a LONG LONG time and he was one of the BIGGEST local produce farmers we had so I'm mega sad for him. The market scuttle is that he moved back to Illinois...farming is SUCH a hard business it hurts my heart that he had to leave.
I like to think my popularity is because I always have UNIQUE QUALITY designs AND MOST IMPORTANT...I treat my customers like the GOLD that they are! I've got to tell you the whole reason this gallery came into fruition is because I was shopping for a consignment gallery to place MY own beautiful stuff in.
The customer service (or lack thereof) was appalling! I kept telling DH ....I could do this SO much better! After listening to my grousing over the course of numerous visits to different shoppes...he finally said...well hey...why don't you put your money where your mouth is...and just DO it!
Never one to back down from a challenge..especially a HUBBY challenge...I thought Eureka... why don't I do this?
I love interior design, I've got SO much more than just furniture to put in a space, I can teach my classes, and do my demonstrations out of a shop much easier than out of my upstairs studio that some of my customers have a hard time navigating the MANY steps up to reach the second floor.
We are eventually going to have to say goodbye to this house any how...maybe I CAN do this!
That was over six months ago...but that little glimmer kept growing deep inside my grief stricken self. As many of you know I was thrown into the pit of sorrow when we lost our beautiful son. Just wanted to check out of EVERYTHING.
It's taken a good 4 years to try and climb back up into the world. So maybe this new business is just the catalyst I and DH need to get our blood pumping again...SOMETHING to be excited about.
Of course I'm trembling scared at the same time! We are terribly underfunded...you should have at the very LEAST a good year or more of capital to carry you through start up. And the wonderful State of Florida is NOT the least bit small business friendly...I don't CARE WHAT they tell you in the ads on television..."Come on down to the friendliest small business State in the Union!"
When we started our former big construction business WAY back in 1989...we almost gave up before we even began because of the hassle Occupational Licensing put us through for proper licenses...a NIGHTMARE I still remember in techni-color. I actually believed that the woman in charge must have had a relative in a similar business to the one we were starting and simply DIDN'T want any competition.
But we hung tough and made it through the obstacle course they put us through. And as much as my DH gripes about keeping those licenses current (expensive) I tell him to NEVER let them expire...because we'd never get another one. It's even HARDER today if you can imagine.
But the gallery is becoming a reality. I almost lost my teeth when I found out they require a $550.00 deposit before the power could be turned on. WHAT? That's just nuts...but we coughed it up!
Now I know why these malls and shoppes are so outrageously expensive...they rape the small business owners with fees! Pitiful in this economy! Shame on their greed!
But...hey nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'm grateful that the landlord is working with us and giving us 2 months grace. Our first gut busting rent payment won't be due till January...I'm hoping I sell LOTS of pieces by then!
The wood flooring will go in this weekend or early next week. We have an appointment for getting our credit card processing machine set up today at 4 p.m. Fingers and toes crossed this goes well...who knew they check out YOUR credit before they allow you to take OTHER people's credit cards. I guess this makes sense..but it was news to me. Our credit isn't sterling...in fact it's probably a base metal...at this point...so that's a BIGGIE concern for me.
We've got 3 coats of paint on the CBS walls in the warehouse section and 2 coats of oil based paint over the UGLY metal overhead door. So it looks much lighter and brighter in the back. A coat of concrete paint will have to go over the big ugly floor. Again an attempt to lighten and brighten the space.
Steps need to be buildt to the upper level to access the a/c equipment. I'm having them enclosed to create more storage space.
We meet with the sign guy Monday...that will be another chunk of change..oh my!
We opened up our new business account yesterday at the bank. The big mission now is the phones. Do we want a land line..probably not with the convenience of cell phones...we do need an internet connection...another big decision.
All of these time saving gadgets ARE necessary...but the balancing act is to keep our FIXED expenses as low as possible...so there's the challenge.
I've designed my business cards, and my brochures but can't finish them until we get a new phone number. Must get that done ASAP...I want to start advertising the gallery at my Farmer's markets ASAP. I love graphic design SO much...I could easily do that as a sideline business if only I had the time! LOVE it!
Anyone with good ideas ...they are officially WELCOME!
Hugs...I always love Emerson's quote...Do EXACTLY what you fear the most...I'm diving in to the DEEP end of the pool...and me legs are shaking the WHOLE way..but I believe in myself...and it helps me SO much to know that YOU believe in me too!
THANK YOU SINCERELY!!!
Wowsa...I'm not much on reading my daily horoscope...but today's was particularly significant for this Strappy little Cappy!
"You can easily see how much work you have in front of you, but your inclination is to remain quiet, rather than expressing any negativity. You may be guardedly optimistic because you realize that accomplishing your goals won't be easy even though you have confidence in your skills. Take your personal time early in the day and then start clearing the obstacles that are still in your path."
Pretty right on...right on huh?
Anddd....isn't it funny that I have discussed NONE of my above concerns with our circle of friends...only my trusty sparks...that's a FIRST!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friends make my world go round...being an 'only..lonely' I've always surrounded myself with adopted 'sistas'...they truly are family in every sense of the word. And I think our construction business was successful because many of our customers became friends long after their jobs were complete.
If you are going to be successful, no matter what you choose to do...you need to understand that every single person on the face of the earth wants to be seen, validated, and held in esteem. That's always been fairly easy for me because by and large I'm fascinated with humanoids and what makes them tick.
Now even more so after losing our beautiful son...you can't understand how valuable a human life is until you've lost the very one that meant the entire universe to you.
I see people in a whole new light now...I see their struggles, I see their hopes and dreams and the scars they try to hide from the world. We all do the same thing...we all try to appear so much tougher than we really are. This just reinforces to me over and over that no matter WHAT we look like, no matter WHAT our heritage is...we are all SO MUCH MORE alike than we are different and it's a fabulous awakening to me!
I love to talk to all of my market friends and find out what their backgrounds are...I love to hear the stories about how hard they work and how many markets they balance throughout the season. Some actually do markets full time...traveling from good weather to good weather...they are true gypsies...disillusioned with the traditional workplace...determined to make their living THEIR way...it's pretty inspiring.
That brings us to the gallery. I told my friends a little more about it last night. Now this is a group of self-employed...mostly semi-retired individuals that have no worries about money and devote themselves to travel and volunteering and leisure activities.
Most have a healthy bank account and no financial worries...so we are definitely the odd couple out...it was a sobering fall from grace for us...at least in our social circle as we used to be the so called "leaders of the pack"...sooo....for us to have to jump back into a full time business...retail...no less...which is the hardest of the hard...in a time where the economy is so flat...is nearly impossible for them to understand...let alone support. You'd think their manners alone would encourage them to well...encourage us...but I didn't hear much of that...well...maybe a few "hope this works out for you."
But I won't let their doubts stand in our way...I've thought every thought that they have, and I've given myself every argument that this isn't the BEST of times to do this that is rattling across their minds...and I'm still pushing forward and hoping for the best possible outcome.
Sometimes you've got to believe in yourself even when your 'family' doesn't...nuff said
I'm also thinking this will be a good life lesson for me to shed all of the materialistic stuff that I've always held in such high esteem. It...to me...is like peeling an onion..little by little I'll get to the core of who I really am...and people will never see 'my stuff' before they see me...should be interesting...stay tuned for the ride! It's going to be a hairy...but FUN one!
Found Object~A Consign~ Design Gallery of Furniture & Accessories
Rethink, restore, repurpose
Gently loved objects of beauty
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