Sunday, 2 December 2012

Shop Talk

Well, I've been in my shop for two weeks now! It seems so unreal that I still have 8 to go. I'm really enjoying the experience of a short term lease that is still much, much longer than a market morning. I have busy days and slow days, and both are a gift because they balance each other out. I love not needing it to be busy all the time to make it worth it. I love not packing up at the end of each day and coming in the next morning and it's all set up still. I thought I'd use this time to reflect on some more things about my first two weeks.

The Customers:
I'm really enjoying the local, in-person element to selling my wares. It's really different to selling online. I watch people walk in, enjoy the colours and the set up, look through the clothes racks, ask questions, give compliments and then decide to purchase. I meet their little girl or hear about their grandchildren. I've sent my clothes all over the world before, but hearing about my clothes being bought for family in London, America and Russia because they were made locally is a different thing altogether. People here want this to succeed because I'm part of them here in Newcastle. I really enjoy belonging to the online crafty community, and now I'm enjoying being part of something local and personal. And considering I'm so terrible at replying emails, it's also nice having the whole conversation there in person!

The Sales:
For the shop I've finally branched out and made something other than pinafores! I've made adult wrap skirts, girls' wrap dresses, scarves, quilts, and my friends from Corduroy Corner have made hats, little bags, fishing games, and lots of things for boys. I think it's a really great mix. So it's surprised me that my little pinnies have by far been the most popular product. I hadn't sold any online for a long time before opening up shop and I'd started to wonder if I'd overdone it! But people have loved them in a whole range of prints. Another interesting factor is that people keep commenting on how reasonably priced everything is. In fact, to keep up with demand, I'm wondering if I need to put prices up! I'm so used to people really underselling themselves on Facebook, Etsy and craft markets. But now I'm in the old David Jones (a high end department store) building, patronised by mostly local older people who used to shop there, and tourists who come in on the cruise ships. It's been really encouraging to see that I can sell my clothes at a price I'm happy with.
I've also sold four drawstring quilts in 6 days! It's been great to see that even more expensive items are selling in person.

Tully dressing up for Opening Night!

The Role Reversal:
This, by far, has been the hardest part of the whole adventure. Tim and I have had to negotiate roles and adjust routines since we've been married. We've been students, parents and students, parents and unemployed and now both working and volunteering in ever-changing roles. And it's never been something we've found easy. And sometimes I wonder if we'll ever get better at it! It can be heartbreaking when you're already tired, to discover what you were expecting but hadn't communicated, and what they were expecting but hadn't communicated, are really different things! It's hard when you're both tired and busy to make sacrifices for the other. It has made me glad that as a rule, we've made choices not to make life too full (neither of us work full time), so that we have space for opportunities like this, and so that the busy times are just seasons, not not the new normal.  

The Volunteers:
This has been the part that has blown me away the most. I've had volunteer painters, ironers, sewers, balloon sculptors, baby sitters, techy people, window dressers and shoppers. I've had friends bring me coffee, lunch, flowers and extra clothes racks. I've had a friend put button holes in skirts for me with her 2 week old baby wrapped to her chest! And what's more, everyone has offered. I've seen, and been part of, volunteers enlisted for important social or environmental causes, but my little business? The way in which my friends and family have owned this with me has been the most beautiful expression of community and generousity.

My wonderful, generous, creative designer friend, Anneliese.
 Well! I think that's all for now. I have made some new things which I would love to show you, but they will have to wait till I have a moment, and the weather, for photos. For now, know that I am beyond touched that you're sharing in this adventure with me!

Jodi. xx


  1. Oh Jodi, this is so good! Good luck with your new enterprise!

  2. I'm so glad this has been a great experience for you. I think the whole concept is brilliant so I'm glad it works in reality too!

  3. It sounds like such an amazing adventure! I really enjoyed reading about all these different aspects that are involved in a venture like this. I especially appreciate your openness about the challenges a couple faces when our Mama-role becomes quite a bit more suddenly. For us, finding a balance is always our biggest obstacle. I'm so happy to read this is working wonderfully!! I hope one day we can have a long chat about it!! You are an inspiration, Jodi!!

  4. I am so delighted to hear that it is going well and that your loving this new adventure & it's new wonders. The offer continues... happy to iron tag or if you trust me again sew : )
    Love Jodi R

  5. I so enjoyed this update, Jodi. Am beyond thrilled that things are selling and you're getting positive feedback, volunteers and a sense of "local" welcome. Wonderful! And, yay, pinnies!


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx