Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So what would YOU do if you were me? (Needing a little "Mr. Magorium" advice today)

{Shameless plug: Compass necklaces can be found here

"Don't part with your illusions.
When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live."
~ Mark Twain

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post called

Lessons From Mr. Magorium (and my own "Wonder Emporium") in which I shared my dream to expand to a large storefront -- an as yet unrealized dream.

In the last year I have not lost that dream and in fact I would have to say that it has grown even clearer for me and in many ways I stand amazed that I even still consider such a move.

I mean, to listen to the talking heads on television, it would seem that no one in their right mind (key word "right mind") would even consider expanding a business such as mine.
I sell absolutely nothing that anyone NEEDS. Think about it. Candles? Fabulous French purses? A French bottle rack to hang glasses or mugs on? Stickers/labels, rubber stamps?

Extra touches for your kitchen/table?

Oh, I don't need to list my entire store here -- but you get the picture. Its all wonderful stuff, but in times that we're being told are "legendary" and the "worst in decades", why would I even entertain the idea of expanding a business based on "elegant essentials & sensible luxuries"?


Because regardless of whatever may be happening "out there", women still seem to want/need that little extra something that makes their home a bit more cozy, a bit more "homey" and beautiful.

I've recently heard of something called the "Lipstick Factor" (or something like that). Basically, it means that no matter how "bad" things get, women will always find a way to give themselves a little pick-me-up -- even if it's just a new lipstick.

I'm seeing the "Lipstick Factor" in spades in my shop.

Perhaps it is the fact that we are staying in more. We're choosing relaxing evenings at home with the family instead of big nights out on the town. Spending the vacation at home in our own towns instead of a big family trip across the country.

As such, we're focusing more on our homes and truly making them our havens. So, that means a beautifully scented luxurious candle you just received in the mail is lit at night after dinner while you watch your fave show.

Maybe as you walk through the house doing your homekeeping (because maybe the maid service was one of the first expenses to be cut back on), your eye catches the impeccably made linen pillow on a chair.

Your hand reaches inside the pocket on your cute apron to retrieve the tin of lavender-scent furniture cream and you're off to lovingly dust off the hall table - leaving the fragrant memory of lavender behind when you're done.

And when you return from grocery shopping, that will be the scent that greets you as you open the front door -- and you'll smile that you "splurged" on that furniture cream.

See what I mean? Even in hard times, a woman will typically still find some way to fill her daily life with beauty for herself and her family.

So back to The Beautiful Life and why I'm still more intent than ever on expanding to a large, fabulous storefront....

In the last year I've connect more with "locals" from my own town as well as surrounding towns and the common remark/theme is "Oh I wish we had something like your store HERE! We don't have anything like it!"

Now I'll be first the admit, flattery will get you EVERYWHERE with me! :) But somehow the words of these many women rings true, as more than just empty flattery.
They genuinely seem to long for somewhere to go to pick up a thing or two to "tide them over" in the area of beauty for their personal spaces. A fancy feather pen to write the grocery list with. It may be the only "spree" they allow themselves for the month, but everytime they jot out a list or a note, their spirit will be filled with the sense of beauty in that simple task -- much more so than if they'd reached for a simple pencil.
{Shameless plug, deux: French burlap bag is here}

There is power in beauty. I truly believe that.
A sort of restorative power.

So, what would you do? I've had some say "Stay put! Why would you go out on a limb at this time? Rather than spend more money expanding, sock that money (or even less) into more national advertising, more inventory, employees to help lighten your load.

Well, this does make sense. But tell that to the dream inside.

(I even "get the message" when I'm nibbling on candy!")

The dream that WILL NOT BE QUIET. The dream that says "See, I told you so" everytime yet another woman pleads with me to open near them.
A sweet friend of mine (hi, Teri!) loaned me THE BEST BOOK a week or so ago called "Dreamgiver" by Bruce Wilkerson and it was INCREDIBLE! If you have an unrealized dream germinating in your heart, I cannot recommend that book to you enough! Its a very quick and easy read (remember, I am the one who DOES NOT LIKE TO READ) and yet it packs to much inspriation and wisdom into a very readable book.

I told someone last week, when mentioning my recent stick in my hand with a sharp ink nib (and she was mentioning a recent wound she got cleaning a beautiful glass chandelier) something like "Hey, the way I look at is this: if you're not gettin' hurt, you ain't livin', baby."

That keeps coming to mind with regard to my "dream", the idea of expansion. Some would say that you won't fail if you don't try. I say the greatest failure would be to never try. I'd rather try and fail (of course I'd much rather NOT FAIL) than to have always wondered....

I was once asked "What makes you cry?" Without hesitation the answer came - unrealized dreams.

I even have what looks like a "perfect" storefront in mind. It's in the old, historic section of town; a fabulous old brick wall runs the front-to-back of the store; there are tin ceilings, a large area (almost like a porch) outside in front of the store with a black wrought iron short fence between the side walk and the store. I can just picture how I'd have that porch area decorated throughout the year already!

Counting the first & second floor areas, it totals almost 10,000 sq. ft. (yeah, it's fairly HUGE). I'd LOVE to live above and have the shop below. I've always dreamed of doing that. I could invite a favorite customer (you!) up for an impromptu cup of tea. Walk my dog off and on throughout the day (in the FABULOUS town-square park across the street!). Doesn't it sound dreamy?

I can practically "see" it in my mind -- I can hear the music that I'd be playing, the scents that would be in the air, the vibe that would be present, making everyone at ease and relaxed. Its so "real" I can almost touch it. Almost.

So again I ask...what do YOU think? What would you do if you were me? Play it safe for now? Bide my time and continue to dream but move a bit more cautiously, for now? Plunge right in? Sign the papers tomorrow? :)

Its just nice to have you guys to "talk to" -- this has all been spinning about in my pretty little head for so long now and I just wanted to put it all out there and see what the girlfriends think.

So am I nuts, or what? :)
Love you guys -- one sistah to another,


"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."


Deb said...

Oh, dear heart, you are not crazy. You are a visionary! You see possibility, not limitation. You envision growth, not death. You see success, not failure. You are an entrepreneur and a creator, Ruth, with an ability to imagine and create something before it exists. God love you!!!!!

Gather facts. Ask questions. Do your due diligence on the building, the town, the competition, and open your eyes to every possible way that you can use that HUGE space to do business, build your business, perhaps - maybe - help others build their businesses in the process. (I have ideas for ya, email me!)You've made the choice in your heart - now, help your head back up the decision!

And then....LEAP. Dreams don't happen. We MAKE them happen. ;0)

Kasey said...

i'm a dreamer also, but it's the realism that will slap you in the face.
Do what YOU want Ruth.
only you can make it work.

Jackie said...

I think you already know the answer - I think, like Deb said, you've made the choice in your heart. I say, if you can work it out, do it!! It's up to you to make your dreams come true, so, as one of my favorite sayings goes "be bold, be brave, be unafraid" (it's from Child of Faerie, Child of Earth -a really beautiful children's book).

Bonjour Madame said...

Ruth, you are so inspiring. You are one of the few people I know of who loves what they do. That is so important and I believe, the deciding factor of success. If you love what you do, you will put the energy needed into your venture to make it as success at any scale, small or big. I can tell you I would love to go into a store with your merchandise. And I try to frequent stores where the owner is very involved. If you want to do this, and it is a dream, I think you will be successful beyond your dreams. You don't have to participate in the recession if you don't want to. I wish you luck in whatever you do.


Adrienne W said...


Okay, reading this was so huge for me. I had to really think about just what I wanted to say. So, here goes, I saw a bracelet the other day that said "live out your passions-take chances". You know, I have let fear rule me for so long, I think about the what ifs and about the possibility of failure. I wonder just how much I have missed out on because of that and maybe what I am missing out on now at this very moment. You may think that what you're doing is not significant right now. How could it be, right? I mean with the way things are in the world, but how do you know that maybe by stepping out in faith and opening up your store that one day even though it may be just one moment, that one woman strolling by will walk in and you will have a smile for her, a word just for her and her life will be changed. Will some days be difficult? Yes. Will some days you say to yourself, why did I do this? Yes. But, will it all be worth it for that one moment? YES! You know, no ones dreams are insignificant. Whether you are opening a shop or going on missions to Africa, you can touch people in your own world, your sphere of influence. I am just one example of that. You have inspired me! So, I say all of that to let you know that the dream that God has put in you is not for no reason. You have a gift, so use it! Touch others around you with beauty. You're at the edge of the nest, now open your wings and fly!

Teri said...

Ruth...God does not read the Wall St. Journal. ; ) If He wants you to open up the store now, I believe he will make it clear. Not necessarily easy...but He will give you direction. After-all, He placed the dream in your heart. Some of the bravest people in history, have moved forward at a time when everyone else said, "wait". Consider that 2 men said to move on into the Promised Land, and 10 said to stay, and fear the giants. We all know how that worked out!
Just this morning I walked through 2 walls of fear. They were baby steps, but it felt SO good. I'm not used to this dreaming and creating so it's scary for me. You have really inspired me, and I thank you for that. I agree with others, do your homework, and be willing to look at it on paper, as well as in the clouds! Talk endlessly with your dear sweet hubby, as well as your Father above.
My only question is, is the store within driving distance of where you are now?

Jeanneoli said...

If you and your husband are both behind it...then go for it. Only the two of you know what you can afford and how much time you will have to dedicate to this dream. Nothing happens when we do just have to decide if this is your moment for action. I think you already know your answer!

Claudia said...

Oh, Ruth, everyone has to have a dream. Personally, I have made a decision to stop listening to those who constantly tell us to be afraid. I truly believe that what we send out comes back to us. So, be strong, be brave, listen to your heart, don't listen to those who would inject fear into your hopes and dreams. If you and your husband feel it is time, and you KNOW it is right - Go for it!!!! I will be applauding you all the way.

It' an Evolution said...

I have asked my self that same question over and over again. If the feeling keeps getting stronger and the timing is can make it happen.
I think the economy is turning around and even to the point of asking myself as I watch people spend..."what recession".
Different parts of the country are suffering worse than others. You know what is working in your market? Ask all the questions...and ask them again. Give it time to make it a good decision.