Saturday, December 31, 2016

"In the New Year,

never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!”
              ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
      January 1, 2017...okay, time really does...or there is something about aging that makes the clock spin faster!  Anyway, new year...although as a life long teacher, this is always middle of the year for me since September logs in as "the" new year for me!  But, I shall celebrate with the traditionalists!
     I am starting the new year's essays off with a business one...I think I have done that in previous years spurred on by all the articles in the magazines and online.  I have been championing the American entrepreneur and artist.  We have lost the concept of quality as we pile Made in China things in the shopping carts at the box stores.
     A few articles really caught my attention this week in Independent Retailer that focused on this new retail world, and I do say new because shopping is not the same as it was a decade ago.  Many times before someone goes shopping, he or she may have cruised Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, Ebay, I need to go know what I am saying!  And...still end up at Walmart.
    Then again, once your have eyes glazed over, and you are totally confused and do not even know what you were looking for because now you are thinking...I could do that...or look at what they did with command hooks and strings of lights, etc etc may just pour a glass of wine and turn on Netflix!
      In the first article, this line stopped me..."We have more retail in North America than we need."  There was a time when the more the merrier was mall with levels of stores or antique alley strips...but now it seems the focus is not on things as much as it is on the experience.  The writer says that the "winners will be retailers who don't define themselves merely by what they sell but more importantly by HOW they sell it."
     A friend opened a dynamic enclave this fall...Everly at railroad...I featured Michelle's shop here in before and after blogs.  Everly does fit the how they sell it, and the shop also fits another thought from these articles..."remember it is the customers' world...we [retailers] just live in it."  Michelle is a creative wedding/event planner so she truly understands the whole experience.

One of her fellow creative spirits, Claudia of Stroke of a Brush, featured this piece of furniture that is currently available at Everly...
Painted furniture, very much in vogue, is really a demanding adventure.  Oh, just paint it--Pinterest dreaming...oh, no...not that when you see a piece that Claudia has worked on, know that she just did not run to Home Depot, get some paint, and a brush and have at it. 
      And that brings me to Made in America...Americans who are creating for you.  Again some lines from Independent Retailer: "Customers want to be thrilled when they shop..."   That is a new mantra for retail...but many small shops work very hard to create a thrill.  Consider these glass hearts found at Captain Scrap's Attic...

   Here is their can be enlarged if you click on the photo...I could not get it full resolution on here.
Now pay attention to the last sentence above..."it takes over 700 hours" to create each piece.  A heart necklace retails for $50, and this glass artist is making 7 cents an hour at that rate.  Just like Claudia painting a piece of furniture, these artists are not raking it in, so, when you ask, can you do better, it may not compute in your head what has gone into these items.
    Another comment that caught my attention because I am dealing with this in my shop..."If you have done nothing in the last five years to reinvent your store, you could be close to being 50 percent obsolete."  Think of the small expect them to be creative...but you do not hold Home Goods or Marshalls to that, but this is where big shops like Anthro succeed, and, yes, the prices may be higher, but consider the planning and time.  Again...think 7 cents an hour.
   So, in this new world of Make America about supporting the small retailers out there who work to inspire, entertain, teach, and transact...step away from the screen...iPhone...ipad...CP...whatever...step outside and see things in reality and not virtual reality!  It is really different!  Here's to a new year!  A chance to repurpose, recycle, renew!

"An exceptional future can only be built on the transformation of the mess I’ve made, not the elimination of it.”  
                                                            Craig D. Lounsbrough

1 comment:

Hayden James said...

Wow this article is amazing, Glass artist is making 7 cents an hour at that rate? that's something amazing I think people love collecting different glass painting and related work you can just take an example of my wife she also love collecting glass painting and work. I want to appreciate you for sharing and I hope you keep on sharing and updating about new things as well :)