Friday, August 2, 2013

Shipping Counter and other thoughts **revealed**

It's been a few years coming... I have been selling online since March of 2008. I was determined to keep doing what I was doing, but I could no longer count on the the steady income from my *once a month* open houses. So then what? 

I had already put my time in re: shows. Shoot, the year Ginna was 1 1/2 and I was pregnant with Callie, I did 35 shows. 

I loved my shop and the gardens surrounding it. There is a lot of great history in this little building. It was built in 1928 and as far as I can tell it was used to repair cars and motorcycles. I was pretty excited the weekend that I came home to find my neighbor, Francis Peacock, pushing gravel inside with his tractor. It had been hard packed dirt up until then.
When I decided to expand into the bigger room for my shop I hired a dear friend, Irvan Groff, to put a plywood floor down. He managed with little to no room to move around. The man was a marvel. His sought after whirligigs were exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Folk Art. Both of these men, farmers, are now gone. 
I opened shop here when I was pregnant with Ginna, she grew up here, and went into business with me here.  My husband Bob helped me put the second wood floor down, then helped me tear it up years later. We replaced that with colored concrete - the four of us, me, my bonus son Nate, Bob and Ginna stood knee deep in concrete as it poured in from the concrete truck, all the time raking it into place. I marked the date and all of our initials by the back door.
I loved opening the doors on Open House days, candles burning, scenting the air and greeting my customers. Depending on what time of year it was:
Winter - I was serving hot coffee/tea, homemade mini muffins, and rosemary cream cheese.  
Summer - it was lemonade, sugar cookies, scones.
Wanna talk about - cozy? happy? fireflies? welcoming? snow?fun? Well let me tell you - this was the place! 

It has taken me 4 years to wrap my head around the fact that eventually my shop doors (in their current form) would have to close. This saddened me to no end. And I suppose it continued to sadden me. I couldn't seem to get out of the "I want to run this as a retail shop" trap. I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe I would open the doors again. In the ensuing years I tried to organize the space better - but I suppose my backward thinking was holding me down. 

This summer, I was ready. I have now had over 800 sales online, in my handmade shop and my vintage shop and I had finally gotten fed up with marginalizing my working, storage and shipping space. I love this building and all that it has allowed me to do. Now we are going through another transition and I realize everything will be alright.

Now that the 'hard' work of getting the shop reorganized is done, it's time for some extra fun organizing. 
Organizing that will pay off instantly - the minute I make that next sale. I will need a place to wrap it, write the note that goes inside, a box that it gets sent off in, a return address label, etc...
 The counter doesn't usually look like this - honest (okay maybe sometimes it has...) During our organizing, anything we came across that was shipping related got piled here. Now it's time to get it assimilated!!
It's getting closer - but it is still a mess...

Here is the pile of stuff to get 'worked' in. Kristin was here to help me with this. I was supposed to be inside repairing jewelry. However, anybody that knows me - knows I have a tough time sitting still.

Here is the left side of the display case - no longer prettily displayed with lovelies - it now stores bubble wrap and tissue paper.

The right side is filled with small boxes, padded envelopes, and bags.

 A bird's eye view, and yes - sometimes when I have the doors open - I do get a bird inside!
Here it is - fully functional, and pretty too - which makes me immensely happy! Pretty is important. If your work space is inviting, your work will be more pleasant to do. In the past two days I have shipped three items off of this counter. It was a breeze. 
A place for everything and everything in it's place.

Next on the agenda - my box storage room, and my online storage room.

Stay tuned! Liz

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