Friday, May 27, 2016

How it all starts..... and where the heck have I been.


Inspiration is everywhere you are willing to see it.

The month of April and May have just ripped away from me almost worse than Christmas if I'm being honest. This blog has suffered and you are now officially out of the loop. I am going to try to fix that. Give you some updates and get some great summer house photos out here.

Real role models push us to be better and be the best versions of ourselves.

*bumper sticker alert before we get going*

We all have those role models. The ones we stalk online, read about voraciously, visit if possible. Role models for all aspects of life as well. I have been a blogger for many years so occasionally we have people come into the store that have been reading my blog since the beginnning from all over Ontario and I believe the farthest was Massachusetts. They are stoked to meet me and see the store they have read about in person. It's surreal to me as I am just living my dream and pushing harder than I ever thought I could to make it work and these people want to know me, see me and ask questions.  I have been an avid follower myself of certain retailers, bloggers and designers for a long time as well. I remember being so excited to meet Miss Mustard Seed in person and Cassie of Primitive & Proper off the top of my head. When it comes to meeting and greeting local retailers it becomes a certain balance of give and take and learning from them but remembering to give as well. Some people don't abide by the community over competition motto however which, you learn super quickly in this business.

When we first started this home decor business out of our garage, multiple people told me I needed to check out Shannon Passero. It is a mostly local clothing store in Thorold. She is also an international clothing designer with 2 largely successful lines to her credit. She has most of the clothes made in Thailand where she employs women fairly with health care benefits including maternity leave and free english classes just to name a few things. She empowers woman in the best way. She had renovated an old firehall and turned it into a fantastic Anthropologie-esque style store. The fixtures well thought out, industrial and tons of style. I never actually made it to that store but knew who she was. She out grew the space in no time and within the next year or so moved into a space almost 10x's the size. Now keeping in mind that in the Niagara Region we have a ton of great things to do, wineries, micro breweries, antiques, culture, restaurants for foodies, an ever growing food truck culture, outlet shopping but we do not have a huge amount of great downtown cultures with tons of shoppes. I've been in those towns in the States. Where every store you step in is amazing, all a little different and I usually just walk around in a daze and have to keep turning around as Trevor my best shopping partner keeps calling me to look at things.

Back to the story, when she renovated the new space in the old post office uniquely dubbed "The Post Office" I knew I needed to make it there. I wandered around for 2 hours the first time. I was just enthralled with the space, the energy, the thought out details that just have not existed in this area. As a store owner myself I notice the little things that maybe customers take for granted or don't see but adds to their experience without even realizing it. Of course I used the bathroom because nothing tells a story in a store targeted at women like a horrid bathroom. I could have moved in with the tiling details and the nice soap, orchids. You get the picture.
Needless to say, I came home that night in a blabber whirlwind, talking Trevor's ear off. I started researching everything there is to know about this woman who opened a successful store in a not so known for it town and was more than making it work.

Where am I going with this little diatribe?
Welllllll let me tell you.

A few weeks ago now at the end of a Saturday I was helping a few sets of last minute customers in the store nothing overly exciting, answering questions about mix and matching bunnies etc. I happened to look out the window and saw a mass of blond hair. Now that isn't a judgement, if any of you have met me you know I also have massive hair (someone has actually called me Medusa under their breath thinking I couldn't hear once)

I kind of did a "no it can't be" in my head. I've done so much reading about her I actually recognized her by her hair walking by. The customer I was dealing with asked me a question again about the rabbit in her hand and I missed it completely because in walked a lovely little girl followed by her mother. I must have gasped out loud because the rabbit lady asked if I was ok.  I finished with my customers and grabbed my phone texting my husband, mom and employee Jill in a panic. Then the internal panic happened. See as much as people love the store, come in gushing there is no critic as hard on me as myself. It is what pushes me to work these ridiculous 70-80 hour weeks for the last year. And when someone you admire walks in that is so doing it right, you just want to be on, you know?

Shannon introduced herself even though no introduction was necessary (although she didn't know that) and we got to talking. I calmed down slightly inside and turned the confidence meter up. She asked if I would ever be interested in collaborating with her in her space especially with the plants that Oliver and Rust is quickly becoming known for.

There was leaping inside my stomach. I almost had to bend over and catch my breath. This all happened inside while I continued the conversation. She left and only a few minutes later we were closed for the day so the stereo went up and the vacuum dancing began.

I talked about it all weekend the opportunity that this could present. Her store is a monster in the sense of customers, local and not local. My store is located in a burgeoning town but not with high tourist traffic so I really run my ads and work through social media for attention. Being a part of a store like hers is like a Visa commercial, PRICELESS!

However you're never really sure if someone like that is just being nice when in the moment and if anything will ever come of it. 

Two days later Jill called me all excited that Shannon Passero's operation manager had left a message at the store to move forward and see where my interest level was. I almost died.

Here we go.

This all happened 3 weeks ago and I am so PLEASED and PROUD to say we are officially a mini garden store inside The Post Office by Shannon Passero.

We have started out with a mostly succulent table for the summer season coming and testing the waters for what the customers enjoy.

Jill and I planted our hearts out for the setup and went 2 Friday's ago to do the initial table.




The ladies working in the store were so excited and helpful watching us work with the plants and hammer the table together. Jill and I are very much like the same brain now (it's really weird and we get mistaken for sisters all the time) and don't necessarily speak a lot when we're working on displays like this as we just get the idea out.


Here's more of what the space turned out like and here are also some teaser shots from inside the store to give you a feel of what we are working with. And I will apologize for being a bad blogger as these are all cell phone shots as I keep forgetting my camera on the days I go there. This store is 6500 sq feet of jammed packed awesome. All of the clothes are not necessarily for everyone but there are gems just waiting to be discovered at every turn.











So that's part one of where I've been. Next up, we were in Indonesia. What????!?


Have a great day everyone,


Meg



What I'm Listening to:

Hard Sun: Eddie Vedder
Highway Girl: The Tragicall Hip (bc who that grew up in the last 20 years hasn't turned it on this week with the terrible news)
Somebody's Knockin: Eric Clapton