Welcome to my blog dedicated to my Elizabeth House Shop Talk Series. I have worn many hats in my life and continue to do so. One hat I wore for several years was as a shop owner. I had zero experience, zero dollars, and zero connections. The Internet and blogging were practically non-existent back then and shop owners back then were not willing to share. Books were too complicated because my questions were so basic (and almost too embarrassing to ask!). I had no clue what I was getting into and to be honest, I had some resentment that I had learned so much the hard way because I truly had no one to turn to. I swore to myself that if I ever learned a darn thing, I would pass it on to others because there is no such thing as a stupid question. I am willing to share my experiences as a store owner, consultant, buyer, vendor, stylist, and designer. Basically, we all want the same thing - to create, to learn, and be happy doing it. I hope this blog brings you a little joy in knowing that you are not alone and that there is at least one person out there that has "been there done that" who didn't have a clue and has lived to write about it. I love to talk shop and the biz of business continues to intrigue me.


Friday, February 03, 2012

One Path, Many Pebbles

Hello my dear friends,

I hope all is well with you. I have been thinking of you business owners lately (and those of you who are about to open your first business) as two good friends of mine just closed their store only a month ago. Seeing the decor dissipate, left over stock go into storage, and wanderers walk by the window in shock the store is closing, made me want to write to you. 

It is a reality when one opens their door to their store for the very first time, that some day, intentionally or not, there will be day that it closes for good. 

It is funny how we never really think of that day on the first day of our store opening. I mean, why should we? We worked so friggin hard to get the door opened in the first place, right? I can tell you right now that I was just hoping to get through my first day, much less even thinking of day two, or my last day when I first opened my store.  

But it happens. The final click of the lock.

This post isn't meant to depress you newbies or discourage those who are thinking about opening...not at all...just give me a chance and please keep reading.

I took this photo recently...actually, just to check my white balance and ISO....but when I downloaded it recently, I looked at it and thought, what an interesting photo. Not "eye candy," but really  interesting. I hadn't really noticed it when I took it. I didn't really stop to look at the stones, only to find focus when I snapped it. These stones happen to be on a pathway but with this photo you can't tell...I was just checking my camera settings. But on my computer screen, late at night, it is really fun to study the stones.

I downloaded this photo around the same time my two friends closed their store, it got me thinking. We are all on a creative path, yet a personal journey. And yes, when one door closes, another opens...we all know this. But there is something more going on out there that needs verbiage, but I am  not sure I am the one that can quite vocalize it, but will try.

I will try with stones....

Here, I'm gonna crop the photo and try to express what I am not doing a very good job with at the moment:



Back to my two friends who recently closed their store...they worked very hard, had a great store...did all the "right" stuff...but just not enough traffic in their location or enough customers to keep the store going. And so, they made the decision. Nothing we all  haven't heard before. And that is something that business owners face all the time. Very hard. I have written several posts about that topic.

But like I said, on that first day when we open our store, we never think of our last day - when the store will close for good, right? Well, why should we...or should we? Look at the cropped photo above...and then look at the larger photo. 

What do you see in the cropped photo?

Hang in there...I'm getting to my point...

Look at the cropped photo again and then back to the larger one. It's not a trick just take a look again at both photos...

See it?

Okay....I'm going to make you scroll down so you don't see the answer ahead of time....so scroll dooowwnnnn.....to find out what you should have seen in the photo.....


















Keep going.....

















Almost therrreeee.....






























S   T   O   N   E   S  !


Yup!! Told you it wasn't a trick. 

Sometimes, life just has a way of staring at us in the face...but  sometimes, it is just a cropped version of the big picture. But guess what? Even cropped, it is still the same pathway too. Opened or closed, in business or not...we are all on our own creative pathway. And you know what else? Our cropped version of the pathway didn't change the direction of the pathway either. Close up versions of life doesn't mean you fall off the pathway,  the pathway is always there.

The reason we don't really think about the last day on our first day is like the cropped photo...we deal with what we must deal with in the moment and we can handle only so much....there are only 24 hours in a day and we are human - not super human. 

(Did you notice the crabgrass? That is called life getting in the way at times...)

So, if your year isn't starting out the way you planned and you are being hard on yourself, remember, you dealt with what you needed to, and were able to at the time. And wherever you are in this very moment, you are still on your pathway, you haven't fallen off...there are enough stones for everyone to go around!

And if your year is starting out great, and you are getting your brand new store underway...congrats and I wish you much success. Just remember you are on a path with many, many stones...not just one. Don't let slow sales days get you down....those are "cropped photo days."  Stepped back and see the big picture and don't panic.  :-)

If you ever need to vent, have a worry, or just maybe need a little cheerleading, just email me...

I'm only a stone's throw away...  :-)

from my house to your  house,
Elizabeth




10 comments:

*The Beautiful Life* said...

Oh my --- how incredibly encouraging this post is. And the thing is, it is perfect for the gal starting, the gal in the midst of, and the gal sadly contemplating her choices/options toward the end. :)

I still remember something you wrote in a post waaaay back when -- years ago -- that sticks with me still: something on the order of not being afraid to "just jump" (off that scary cliff of change) because afterall, did we forget that we just accomplished something amazing -- we CLIMBED UP TO THE TOP of that mountain we're about to jump off of! :)

You were turning the mirror on us all a bit and having us see the strength that it took to even get to the place where we're ready to jump! (ONLY YOU, Elizabeth!! ONLY YOU!!)

Thank you for being such a fount of encouragement from your perch of experience and been-there-too wisdom. You truly ARE a cheerleader -- you don't happen to have a set of pom poms laying around, do you? :)

Thanks so much -- always a wise word spoken in season. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is the right word spoken in season..." Prov. 25:11.

But I'll bet, knowing you, that silver tray will have just the right amount of tarnish -- ooops! 'patina' -- on it. ;)

Thanks yet again, friend...
Ruth

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Oh...Ruth...you really made my day in way you don't even realize. I am really happy over here. I am going to be really, really honest over here...really...may sound a little off to some, but I have to be honest.

But I just said a prayer and thanked God (before you commented) for helping me write this post. I was stuck and felt I wasn't saying what needed to be said...and so I asked God to help me help my readers and what you read at the end of my post, truly came from my business partner...truly, that is what I call God...even have that on business card. :-)

He truly wrote the words in this post, not me. And I am happy to give Him credit because we are partners.

Thank you for taking time to write me that Proverb. I have to look that up...I haven't read that one and I love it..can't believe I haven't heard that one. I've been studying Prov 31: 10-31 and will be writing about that someday.

Miss you and giving you a wonderful hug.
Love
Elizabeth :-)

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

For a season, I contemplated being a shop owner, but quickly realized that I simply have what it takes...the stones, perhaps? ;-)...to make that dream a reality.

But I can completely relate to what you said by applying the same principles to what I face in my everyday life. I'm guilty of veering off the pathway, peering far into the distance, and not enjoying the moment...not living in the now. I miss a whole lot of life that way.

Thank you for making me think, and helping to set me back on the right path, stones and all.

Love,
Me

trash talk said...

Reading this couldn't have came with better timing. My sweet Robelyn at Red.Neck Chic is experiencing some pebbles (more like boulders) in her shoes right now. I'll be sending her over to read this and if you get a chance, drop by her blog and give her a word or two of encouragment. Thanks in advance...and I'll owe you one.
XOXO
Deb

Tina @ TinyBear Studio said...

This is such a great post. I loved reading it. Thank you so much - you´re such a great inspiration.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Anne,

Yes, I know all too well about not enjoying the moment...planning, planning, planning ahead....but then the day goes by and I don't even remember if it had rained or shined all day! Not anymore though.

Thanks for writing...always so happy to hear from you!

Big hug
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

My Beautiful Deb,

Just went to visit your Robelyn...and funny this is...I was just at her site a day or two ago and had NO idea that she was YOUR Robelyn! I was doing a whiz viz (whiz visits on blogs) and fell in love with hers but left no comment as I whizzed to another blog for a looksie...but I went back today and left her a comment. I know how she feels and she has a great sense of reality and humor...wonder where she gets it???

She has a great mother to help her as well. :-)

Big hug
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Tina!

Glad you could stop by and glad you enjoyed the post. Makes me happy that you did.

Wishing you much happiness.

And a big hug to you
Elizabeth :-)

Donna said...

I have been on this pebbled path far too many times myself and keep running off into the grass! So slippery!
Once again I am making my way...praying for level ground. Waiting for Him to show me the next step. What am I to do with what He has given me? I wait and pray for sure footing.
Elizabeth, I Know your words are a great comfort to those at both ends of this path. They encourage me to take the next step...
Anxious as I might be I am encouraged to move forward.
I Thank God for you, your amazing insight and giving heart to share your experiences.
Thank you for sharing this post!

hugs from here,
Donna

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Donna!

I am so happy to hear from you. I went to your blog and caught up on several of your older posts...you have been one busy girl! I truly enjoyed your visit wit Tot and her new store...and seeing all the comments from your beloved readers, and your kitchen being redone, your cottage makeover...and on and on and on...well!

Well...I can see how wanting to know the next step is something that is hard to wait for. I am a "next step" person too. And I am someone who sometimes lack patience and doesn't really wait to listen and so I just try to figure out for myself what the next step is "supposed to be" all on my own.

Guess what happens? Yup, I tend to see only a cropped version of what God really had planned. I finally decided that waiting for the next step actually is okay. Waiting isn't a "waste" of time, as I used to think. Waiting for a better plan (than my own plan) gives me a chance to rest, to actually enjoy what I already accomplished, and live in the moment, and not always in the future. The future will take care of itself.

I have no doubt that you whatever plans are being designed for you, you will make those plans work out perfectly for you at the moment they are presented to you. I am always amazed with what you do, but mainly, I am amazed at how you have a way of just being "you" and remain so down to earth. That, I think, is very special.

Big hug
Elizabeth

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