Sunday, November 28, 2010

One lap at a time

It always starts with the first lap,"ugh..36 laps, it's too hard, I wish it was over." I say this practically everyday. I go to the pool, I complain, I swim the 36 laps, I always feel better afterwards. It's a ritual, complain, swim, complain, whatever. Another of my many charms. Ha! Taurus, does that explain it? Stubborn, it's frustrating but it's not all bad. The huge mess from New York, two weeks later, that's another hard one. The shop, that one with no retail hours, has to look a certain way, impossibly time consuming because I have this involved process that requires moving and removing the same things and it's heavy and there's a lot of stuff. Ugh, my patient husband offers to help me the day after Thanksgiving. I work through it, he lets me grumble, moves it twice, says nothing, what a saint. Perfect, I'm chasing my tail. He's an artist, how well he knows the process. I want the store to look as beautiful as that booth, I want that feeling to come home. It isn't going to be the way I see it in my head, not on this day. It's Thanksgiving weekend and I have invited my mailing list to come by and see all that great stuff I talked about. Plus, people person that I am, I miss them. I know, I know, no more retail hours, but it's about balance and this is how you find it, by trying something new, in small bites. Staying with a narrative, not finding out what happens at the end of a story. Adjusting and readjusting. I open the door to my imperfect world Saturday and promptly break the first rule of sales; apologize for the mess. But you know what I've consistently found? My customers don't see it that way. They love the hunt as much as I do. They like digging and poking and finding a surprise. It's a bright menagerie of interesting things to their fresh eyes, and though I worried they wouldn't, they did come. Though I worried they wouldn't shop, they did. As one new customer said to me, it's like the white fire surrounding the letters of the Torah. Magic happens around the words, in the interstitial spaces and margins of what isn't spoken, seen or planned and holds an important key to life. I wanted to have the perfect shop I had in my head, and it was perfectly imperfect and me, I just don't get that it's ok that way. I expected familiar faces from my list, but most of the ones I saw were new and just happening by. I was a little disappointed at first and then these great new people came in and what a wonderful unexpected feeling, the store still draws new people and with them fresh energy. You aren't suppose to say anything that isn't positive, but I can't help but tell them, my business model is messy. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. I got what I needed, the shop and I are o.k. just the way we are. And then a few familiar faces came in that made my heart smile, like long time antique dealer Jim Secreto and designer Steve Knollenberg, who let me know that what I write, mattered to them and that they thought my new business ideas were good. Yes, I'm not mainstream, the show circuit sounded crazy because it is, but beneath it they understood that it's my passion and they admired my strength. Jim said go back to the Pier Show, be myself wholly, and don't flinch. And yes, I need to balance the hard work required with the quiet acceptance that it's time for something easier, like making better use of the internet and asking for the help I need. Ultimately, it's the only way to make my business and my life better, and the life of those I love and the people I have the privilege to do business with. I could go on, but I think I've made my point. More importantly, I haven't made it to the pool yet today. 36 laps, boy will that feel good…just as soon as I finish. By the time you read this, I will be there and be glad.

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