Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rambling

Warning: rambling post about house and home and store without the influx of pretty new photos


Well it looks like it is going to be one of those days. My inspiration has been solely focused on store stuff as of late and therefore I haven't had too much to share on the home front. I got brackets in the mail for a great new shelf project but haven't dragged myself to the hardware store to get the wood yet so, on the counter they sit.
I think they call it the February blues.

Anyone else similarly afflicted? I love snow and the blanket of white outside, it is my lack of proximity to it at all times in the outdoors that depresses me I think. I am a serious outdoor person and spend most of my free time out there from spring to fall so in the winter with the -22 C temps that we see I can't stay out there to enjoy it, snow and all for any length of time and just get crabby. I recognize this problem as it is one I inherited directly from my dad. February is not a love month for us, we are snippy and short tempered and just need to be with nature. As my dad says, "I need to move to Arizona" that's his solution anyways.
I try to find safe non-snowplow non-ice covered hazardous places to go for short walks.

Last week was a huge first for me and my little business. I went to my first gift show! Ra Ra! You can conclude your own thoughts about why I would be needing to go to a gift show but it probably means exactly what you might be thinking. We are getting so very much closer to being a reality for locals. My lovely business partner of a husband even went with me. We have done this whole haul together and the giftware side of it is no different although he does fink out of things when the boring bookkeeping side of things needs work.



The show was amazing and eye opening in so many ways and also foot killing but that was to be expected. Many of the great companies that were there to show product would just not work in our area. I was cringing at some of the wholesale prices and that isn't a good sign for moving product in the Niagara Region.
I guess after eye opening prices my next thought when walking through the booths was how amazingly creative the companies and their booth stylists are and in that same respect how amazingly uncreative some shop owners are because the displays are copied right from the show. I guess if it ain't broke don't fix it but it was kind of disheartening to see. I suppose a good copy of inspiration is a sign of flattery though. 
I was hunting for unique product for our business as we are mostly a vintage and handmade company so we don't want to get too crazy with the giftware per season and a common problem I see in stores I have been in, is buying similar if not exact product available in big box stores i.e. Homesense, Marshall's etc and expecting to compete with those prices.
 I want to be different! 
(if that isn't the quote storyline to my life I don't know what is)
 I want people to come to me for that item they have been hunting for, for high quality pillows that aren't the mainstream, for that special gift for someone they spend time shopping for. I want people to come in and start to hum because they like the music, the smells and they want to stay awhile. It's lacking in our area a store like this. I had this conversation with a local body store owner around the holidays. She agreed we just don't have that store that you just want to stay in whether to sit and stay or to shop.

This little rant reminds me of a post I read last week on Apartment Therapy. Our store will be targeted at the people who in some way embrace this philosophy. 




The inspiration for the following words is actually based on books the author of this post is reading on french women and their lives and the simple pleasures to a healthy life. This is not to say only french women do this or have their lives organized, it is just based upon these books.

The author continues on to show how these philosophies from the books can be reflected in ones home in the statements below:


Take pleasure in what you eat: You may not be living in the house of your dreams, but there is beauty in every space. Enjoy and use your home and decorate it to support your life. Surround yourself with things you love and that make you happy. If you hate that chair from Great Aunt Sophie, out it goes. Even if it's worth a ton of money, living with something that doesn't make you happy is a psychic drain on your soul.
Eat everything — in season and of the best quality you can find — in moderation: Seek out the best pieces you can find. Use the good silverware, the nice towels, the expensive soap. Instead of ten sets of sheets from IKEA, what about two sets of really good linen sheets that get better and better with each wash?
Drink water: Weekly fresh flowers, using your kitchen to cook, daily cleaning, regular decluttering, open windows, beautiful candles, music, having people over — these are all things that hydrate your home with life.
Move a little every day: Whether it's changing up the pillows in the winter, replacing your old coffee table with a great find from the flea market or a new vase for those fresh flowers, your home needs movement. If you've changed nothing in your home in the past five years, it's probably time to think about a little freshening up. What if you moved the couch? Maybe it's time for a new rug?
Play to your strengths: True, my kitchen is dark, I don't have enough closet space, and let's not even talk about the challenges of not having a parking space, but my living room has a ginormous picture window and my bedroom gets the most amazing light. Even the smallest and most awkwardly shaped homes have a unique beauty about them. Instead of lamenting what it lacks, take the time to discover what's great about your home (hint: what do visitors always remark on?) and celebrate it.

I found myself nodding as I read the post and thought it just struck a chord with my train of thought lately. So many of us are looking to recreate another's booth, store or home because of the constant inspiration we encounter. While all of that is wonderful and good we still need to feel comfortable and love the space we are in because it is OURS above all else. Many people cannot live in my home. It has "stuff" or the worst of all words "knick knacks" I want to strangle the person that states I have knick knacks. There is nothing knicky or knacky about the collections Trevor and I have travelled the world to collect.
Even at the gift show, I found myself falling in love with a few items and getting very excited about them only to walk away and think. "but would I put that in my house?" Many of my customers currently come to me because of my ideas and taste and straying away from that uniqueness and being swayed by some lovely but impractical items will take away from that and stick me with unmoving stock that I don't want to take home.

In a wonderful string of events our bathroom was published in the before and after section of Apartment Therapy last week. I was excited and proud to be a part of what has become a leader in home design blogging.
The below photo is the after shot that was published.
I read the post, loved the way it was laid out and then cringed to myself as I read the comments. They don't really matter as I love my bathroom and my husband loves our bathroom and that is all that matters.  The person that suggested I drop a toaster in the tub should come on down and see what getting dropped looks like.




It never ceases to amaze me that the bravery of people who put their homes, their personal spaces into magazines and online because the rest of the world is set to pounce and kill. From the below photo most people deduced that I am destroying art, like creepy men staring at me and want to electrocute myself with a sconce. 
If you are one of those people out there wondering, I dust these shelves maybe 3 times a year. I have had them for a year now and have dusted them twice. They aren't gross or slimy, they aren't covered in cobwebs and the artwork still feels kind of elegant to me. I think some people must get an allergic reaction when they are suggested to need to dust with their obvious severe reaction to it through their computer keyboards. The gorgeous antique sconce I so painstaking picked out and chose cloth cord for is not dangling in the tub, gets plugged into a GFI and isn't usually on if I use the tub because I am dark person. It presents itself as more of a mood light for people to go in the bathroom and not have the ceiling light blasting them. The old cooters keep me company. 

I also think that we have gotten so used to seeing amazing spaces in all of these outlets we forget that not everyone has a money tree that grows in their backyard. Renovations are exactly that, a renovation. Those of you out there that have a toilet in a weird place or have a doorway that you would love to move but it's in a supporting wall. Work it in. Any space can be beautiful with creativity. Our taps on the bathtub were not in the best place when getting in and out but the original owners of our home put them there. It would have cost huge money to get a new tub to fit a new space and move the taps somewhere along the back wall so we worked with what we had and get in on the side of the tub instead. Small sacrifice I say.

Now on a final note, if you made it this far in the rambling. This next bit is for other store owners so feel free to skip: I need an opinion from you other store keepers. I have just fallen down the rabbit hole of POS vs cash register systems and there truly doesn't seem to be a system that suits me at all. All of the POS systems seem to enforce inventory which is a ridiculous notion in the vintage world. I price my vintage items as I bring them in the door. I keep all the receipts and know I am making the $$ I want. Having to enter an item into inventory only to never carry that item again seems silly. I really want to use a computer/ipad system with a cash drawer and printer but all of these setups require a pos system with a monthly fee. I would love to just have a cash register program, type in the item name and price tally it up and bada boom a receipt pops out. Kind of like the old school using paper method with a receipt pad but a swig of technology thrown in. Anyone aware of a program like that out there? Antique malls use something like this where they type in the item, dealer codes etc but that is a bit more that I need with only 1 vendor. Please feel free to pass along this post to your store owner friends if you think they have some information for me. I need it.
The cash registers themselves leave a lot to be desired look wise but the ease of just setting of the few departments I have is swaying me to that side and no additional cost per month.
Any of you have any suggestions?

Well everyone have a great day, and thanks for listening. Frankie was getting tired of hearing me.

Meg

13 comments :

  1. I have ADORED your bathroom from the first time you posted it!!! Try to ignore the jerks with the negative comments and keep up your wonderful and unique style!!!

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  2. I too like your bathroom. I love the old photographs against the crisp white. There's an old saying that some people find roses among the thorns while others find thorns among roses. I think I try to surround myself with things that make me and my family happy. I know what I like isn't what someone else's tastes are and that's ok. And that's what makes it fun. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. For the record, I COULD live in your home....it is interesting, fabulous, unique!!!! Thanks for letting me "live" there online!!...
    from way down yonder in New Orleans

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  4. Seeing your beautiful bathroom on Apartment Therapy is what prompted me to look at the rest of your blog, and I loved everything! I even subscribed in Feedly so I could keep reading.

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  5. I'm sure I've said it before but I'll say it again - I read your blog *precisely* because you have a lovely, quirky sense of style and your bubbly personality shines through in your posts! Your feature on AT is well-deserved, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people feel the need to criticize out loud. If (when!) I see something I don't like on a blog or in a feature I just think "that's not my cup of tea" and move on, I certainly don't feel the need to spend my precious time pointing out what I don't like about it! So here I am, spending my precious time pointing out that *I* love that YOU love your home and are prepared to share it with the rest of us :-D

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  6. My mother used to say, " If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all."

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  7. You've been around long enough Meg to take what others say with a grain of salt.
    The simple fact that you entertain us with your quirky stuff, are brave enough to venture forward with your dream of a shop and have delightful shows several times a year speaks for itself. You go girl!
    Any hint on where the shop will be? Ha!
    Stay warm.
    Susan

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  8. Meg,
    I find inspiration in your stories, that is why I read blogs - cooking, decorating, renovations, fashion, personal journeys. Love them and any tip or trick I may learn from someone else's experience is so well worth it to me. As for the naysayers....perhaps they need to focus on other sites such as bible.org and read the selection of ...you judge someone wrongly .....just sayin'.....

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  9. I hope to God that you do not let these ridiculous people damper your sense of style or your love for that beautiful bathroom of yours! Your talent far exceeds their uselessness : )

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  10. Hi there...I LoVe your bathroom! I LoVed it before too. My bathroom has the same dark gold/mustard walls now, but we just put in a big new walk in shower so I will be painting again...I may just go with your theme, looks real nice! I hear you when you say you want to create a shop where people come in because you have something special no one else has. That's the kind of shop I gravitate towards. The smells, the music, the people in the store who are really happy I am there, the chatter we have...yes, you really get it. That's what a lot of us are looking for. You just don't get that in the big box stores. I'm not a big box shopper. I don't like all the walking Nd looking for something I can never find! Good luck with your shop. I'd love to come visit sometime!
    Hugs Marg.

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  11. Meg,
    Have you researched 'Square' for your 'cash register' system? I have a yearly French Country Christmas sale and am using Square. I can accept major credit cards, cash, or checks with fees only on the credit card transactions. Some items I entered into Square before my sale began since I had more than one of them to sell; other items (one-of-a-kind) I enter when I sell it. Square records can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet so you have a record of what you sold, how much tax was collected, what fees you had to pay, etc... For me, Square has been great. It allows me to send a receipt by email and the receipt describes the items sold using whatever I entered. My customers like it, and it keeps me straight on my state sales tax. I do not receive anything from Square for sharing this information. Oh, another thing, you can choose to list items on Square's Marketplace and accept internet sales. You can also choose NOT to list your items on the internet. I don't have an accounting degree and have a certified public accountant complete my income tax for me each year. I use my iPhone, but Square can also be used on iPad.

    Judith

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  12. Meg,
    Congratulations on taking the next step in your business. I love shopping in small shops that offer what cannot be found everywhere else. I find it amazing that people write critical comments on blog sites, and encourage you to stay true to what you love. Diversity is what makes a new business successful.

    Judith

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  13. I saw your post on Apt. Therapy and LOVED IT. Book marked your site so I can use the post for inspiration some day. I also read the comments. I had the same reaction you did. I was amazed at how awful people can be and how very full of themselves they were. Your style is just that- style. It is amazing. and I trust that those of us who log onto AT read your blog now A LOT more that theirs. Keep up the beautiful work.

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