Hola, Off of Broadway-ers! I’m Megan and I own beaucoup vintage, a vintage shop in downtown Fredericksburg, VA. I have seriously enjoyed reading Amanda’s Shop Talk posts over the last few weeks and am excited about the opportunity to contribute my own thoughts to the discussion. Since Amanda has covered a wide range of topics already and since my shop’s two-year anniversary is coming up on May 1st, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way that were completely unexpected (in both the good and not so good ways).
3 unexpectedly awesome things:
1. I’ve become great friends with people I’ve met through the shop – customers and collaborators alike. I recently attended a baby shower for a friend and when the hostess asked me how I knew the guest of honor, after a moment of thinking, I realized we became friends simply because she was a regular at the shop! I have found my shop girls, look book models and jewelry consignors because they happened to come into the shop and we happened to strike up conversations.
2. I knew I would enjoy dreaming up and creating new window displays; I worked at an art gallery before opening the shop, and my favorite part of my job was always putting up the exhibitions. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do and to spend as much time as I do putting them together and searching for the right components (I’ve become intimately acquainted with all our local hardware stores – and I like it!). It has become one of my favorite aspects of the job and now I know that visual merchandising is something I’d like to do when I grow up.
3. There is no better feeling than to be out running errands in the morning or out to dinner in the evening and spotting someone wearing a piece they bought at the shop. It always puts the biggest grin on my face. Same goes seeing someone walking around with a bv bag after the shop’s closed or during the day when I’ve got someone at the shop. I know having a shop isn’t the same as having a baby, but it kinda is. I’m so proud when I see my clothes succeeding! ;)
3 unexpectedly not awesome things:
1. It gets lonely. Even with a strong support system of family and friends you know you can always rely on, no one completely understands what you’re going through. No one thinks or worries about your shop as much as you do. It can be overwhelming and isolating, for sure. This is why having a friend like Amanda is so helpful. I have e-mailed Amanda more than once with a string of random frustrations and exclamations in half constructed sentences with her response being an “I KNOW!!!!” Such a relief!
2. A big tangle of empty hangers is 100% the most frustrating thing in the entire world. Pulling one hanger from my box of hangers is never as simple as just pulling one hanger from the box. 6 other hangers come with it, all at varying angles hooked onto each other in varying degrees of hooked-ness. This one is kind of silly but I swear it really does make me madder than anything.
3. Before I opened the shop, I logically understood the nature of retail is fickle. I knew the holiday season was busy and the following months were slow. I was not prepared just how slow the slow times actually are. Hearing that January is a slow month and then experiencing sitting in the shop every day in January while the cash register collects dust are two verrryyyyy different things. I’ve done it twice now and am still not used to it!