Three fortnights have passed since the opening of our store (what… you don’t count the passing of time in fortnights?) and we couldn’t be more pleased/excited/grateful for how it has gone. The last blog stated the incredible toil and blessing it was to get the store up and running, and now that it is open, we are loving being able to interact with customers, tell stories, and meet new people with a similar heart to ours.
We first of all want to say thank you… thank you so much! To all who have come, who have shopped, who have introduced us to other partners, who have listened to the stories, who have challenged us to grow in our knowledge and experience with the producers, who have invited us to share in other places… thank you. We understand that the success of our store is reliant entirely upon our customers, and we think our customers are the best in the world! We’ve had so many interactions with amazing people with amazing hearts for justice, the end of slavery, the rights of all people, specific nations in the world, and more! We’ve learned a lot from so many, and we are just very grateful.
Here are a few lessons we’ve learned in our first few fortnights:
- Ours is a business where we can never know enough about the stories of our producers, their situations, anti-trafficking, fair trade and the specific products we’re bringing in. We’re constantly challenged to keep learning all the time and to become experts on things. We aim to educate about the issues, but we constantly need our own education, too.
- People aren’t used to sliding barn door style bathrooms. If you don’t warn someone what to expect, they may not make it in time after they wrestle to push or pull the door open.
- Everyone has a story. The stories of our customers are as important as the stories of our producers, and the connections between them are the beauty that makes our business tick.
- There is a lot of repetition in retail. Sweep the same floor in the same pattern every day. Straighten the same clothes in the same way every couple hours. And the tagging and price stickering of every product? Whew! But it is all worth it.
- We need to open a coffee bar. The neighbourhood is crying for it.
- The Square only taps debit, but will insert or tap credit. But it wants to tap over inserting. But for debit only up to $100. But you can split the bill to cheat the $100. But only with some cards in some situations. But not in a leap year. And if it is raining, you need to click your heels twice first. God Bless technology!
- The volume of the music is never correct. Too quiet, and people whisper to each other while they shop. Too loud, and it is abrasive and distracting from storytelling. Problem is, with every new song it seems to change. Volume correction is a full-time job.
- For lots of parents, shopping in a boutique store like ours with their kids is like unto putting on a straight jacket and climbing into a cage with ravenous baboons. You might make it out, but your mind and body will not be in the same condition you entered with. “No… you can’t ride the elephant!”
- We love what we do
So thanks again! Here’s to many more fortnights to come, and many more new friends and encounters. May you have a great end to 2018, and a fantastic 2019.