Spring is in the air--we're having some April showers right now. The seeds are planted in the basement (not metaphorical seeds--real ones) and the grow lights shining through the glass block windows make the driveway look warm and us look like drug dealers.
It's a very happy time for us. I've decided to open a gift shop. During a recession. I know it sounds like a boneheaded move, but I have my reasons. . .
Reason #1: I have been looking for a job for over a year, and I can't seem to find one that suits me (or I them). I was starting to think that I wasn't cut out for retail, because I couldn't get an advertised job at a department store at Christmas. I am educated, well-spoken, decently groomed, and good with people. The major retailers these days have a new system of "testing" their potential employees via a web survey that takes about an hour to complete. These are multiple-choice questions that never have the answer of E) whatever store policy is. They give you all these probable scenarios of what could happen at this job and they ask what you would do. I'll do whatever you want me to. Give me a job. I have a friend who is in upper management at a large chain of specialty stores who said they have recently implemented this survey technique--and he said he would have failed it when he applied for his first job there as a salesman.
Reason #2: We moved to Berwyn 2 years ago and I noticed that there is a distinct gap in the shopping options around here. There's a Dollar Store every 3 blocks, a total of 3 Walgreens stores in the area, and a lousy mall nearby (and their Hallmark store just closed). That's about it. There are some lovely boutiques in neighboring suburbs, but with gas at $3.50/gallon right now, that's not cool. Plus, I prefer to support businesses in my own community. (I will say, we have a couple of good antique stores, though)
Reason #3: My interest in all things eco-friendly has been steadily increasing the last few years. I've always been a vegetarian/gardener/recyclist, but now I'm venturing into other territories--composting, natural cleaning products, natural health and beauty aids. And it's hard to find stuff that's local, not overly packaged, recyclable, made from recycled materials, etc.
Reason #4: Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved unique and charming gift shops. Luckily, the owner of The Gallery (the fabulous gift emporium of my childhood in small town Iowa) knew me, and that I wasn't a hoodlum. I'd ride my bike uptown and stand in her shop smelling every soap, candle, lip balm, and lotion. I'd hold things at different angles trying to decide which angle was the most flattering for the item. And I believe I would straighten and tidy her displays as I went. It took me weeks to save my allowance for the round candle that as it burned down would be lit from within like a beautiful stained glass church window. God, I loved that candle. I think it's in a drawer at my parents' house. I'm bringing it back with me the next time I visit.
So Fly Right Gifts, Inc. has been formed. The wholesale catalogs and web IDs are flowing in, and I am going to have a cute little store by summer. I'll list the products I'm going to carry in upcoming posts. Stay tuned for the adventures of Entreprenerd!!!