Christmas in retail… 4th time running

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 2:09 am by carrie

Okay… so I know that a lot of you like reading about the trials and joys of opening and running a shop ;) If I go on and on about it or get a little too optimistic or cranky, please let me know.. I NEED feedback ;) I thought I would take a look back at this holiday and see how I did it differently.

The pluses for the year…

I took a better attitude going into the Holiday Season
This year I actually decided I wasn’t going to get a cold. This is the FIRST year that I have truly fought it off 100% and then Nathan found this link. So I say HA, take that cold virus! (I never said I was convincing, but at least I had a more positive attitude this year… I hope). OH! and tea, lots and lots of hot tea!

Every other year I rushed to make things, accepted last minute special orders (which were NEVER delivered on time, let that be a lesson to everyone!), online orders and consignment items and I drove myself batty (and managed to annoy a few customers in the process). I have learned what my limitations are and really stuck to my guns with that. It’s well-known I’m a people pleaser and I had to say “no” more than a few times. It was super hard at first but now I can look back at years 1, 2 and 3 (stick in a runny nose and fever here) and know what I can and cannot physically do. I’m learning how to plan ahead for the “big game” and it dawned on me… you can be somewhat successful even if you get a few hours of sleep every night in December. Huh, how about that.

I asked for help…
Many wonderful friends came through this year and you know who you are :) You saved my butt and I’m forever grateful! A few of you stayed long nights until 2am days in a row… thank you thank you thank you!!!! I can’t thank you enough!!!!!! Last year I was a control freak and stubborn and basically thought “no pain, no gain”. That if I wasn’t sore, tired and run down every single day I wasn’t doing it right. I’ve since seen the light! Thanks again :) So, lesson learned, don’t be stubborn, accept the help graciously.

I budgeted a tad bit better
With prior years under my belt I had a better understanding of what everyone was buying… so it was somewhat easier to order. I figured out which companies came through and were easy to deal with and all-in-all we had a good experience this year :)

Okay… now the minuses…. (I’m feeling optimistic! I can’t think of too many)

Those damn boxes!
Some of you know that I was sent 140% of one order. Those good in math know that that would be more than the original order. Yep. They sent the order 100% then 40% again. This was the largest order I have ever received and it was 85% of our Christmas inventory. It was just massive enough to make me close for 2 days (it was blocking the front door) and lose some of my marbles in the process. Then I had to pack up the stuff that wasn’t mine after sorting it for 3 nights in a row and mail it back to them. Just the other day I got a call… “Ummm… we just got 20 boxes of stuff back… why is it here?” UGH. How do I explain it to yet another round of customer service personel what the heck is going on. I rarely speak to the same person twice, but isn’t that usually the case? :)

I really can’t think of another negative… how about that!

Now… lastly… and totally off the subject… we need a good vacation destination for a few days. I found a last minute cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihuantenejo and Manzanillo. Basically beach, fishing and drinking towns… I’ve never been and I’m trying to do research but there isn’t that much online. With our Borders gift cards in hand, we’ll have to go and look at some books and magazines with actual pages that you flip thru :) We may be getting a room with a balcony!!!!!!!! Fingers crossed :) This is going to be a picture taking extravaganza!

Christmas on the home front was awesome! I got some amazing gifts, many with a “cooking with Ina” theme and thank you to everyone for such a wonderful Christmas :) I got my Mom a new camera so I’m hoping she’ll have pics of her house to share soon. The holiday decor was so creative and fun, she just has to share :)

A blog with all words! ha! well… at least one little holiday picture, even if it’s not mine ;) I can’t wait to start painting again!!!!

Merry Merry everyone!

p.s…. I didn’t send out ONE Christmas card this year due to the overwhelming nature of a retail shop in the prime of the holiday season. SO, I’ve decided to start the tradition of Arbor Day cards… look for yours at the end of April! ;)

p.s.s… I’ve already seen a lot of new Christmas ’07 stuff and I must say… SO cute!!!! I’m so excited to get it!!!


  1. Clare said,

    December 27, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Brilliant! I too haven’t had a cold this year (I know there’s still a few days left but…!) Stay positive and it’s amazing what can happen! I only wish we’d flown away to somewhere exotic for the New Year – but we are planning on revisiting the States during 2007. Love your blog! Clare x

  2. Art Tea Life said,

    December 27, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    That you even have it in you to be excited by next year’s items tells me what a good soldier you are in this Retail Mission !

    YOu must be SO BURNED OUT ! laughing. I tell you – I raise a glass to You this New Year’s Eve !

    Happy Happy and Best of Luck in the New Year with alllll of your endeavors.

    Will certainly be by to visit and love it all.

    – x o –

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