The lively introvert

April 20, 2016 | life | Permalink

introvertTo be my friend you have to accept the fact that we will probably never spend much time together. I am often surprised that I have maintained many friendships over the years and actually continue to make new friends. I am grateful that they understand me and don’t take it personally.

I got up extra early to go to the Y and have time to print towels but I feel the need to express myself.

I always feel the need to explain myself because I do not want people to think I am a snob (I have been called that) or no fun (been called that too), it hurts my feelings when people think and say the things about me. My lively personality often contrasts with my necessity to be alone, which I think is part of the problem with new people understanding me. The fact that I am constantly meeting new people is the reason I suppose that I often feel the need to explain myself.

The Creative Wedge has made my heart full and bursting from all of the wonderful folks that I have met along the way. I value each and every one of you and am grateful beyond belief to have met you. The Creative Wedge IS my social life. For instance yesterday the first two hours of my day was a stream of family and friends, some shopping others just visiting. I had a minute to do some computer work and then lots of shoppers coming through that I spent time chatting with. Later in the day I had a few more visitors. I had a great day, besides the fact that I wore the wrong shoes and my legs and back were killing me when it was over. But then I had a commitment to go to, something fun with lots of folks I like but I just could not do it. I was so tired and hungry, all I wanted was food, my bed, my pups and my book! So I went home feeling guilty but knowing I had to to do what was best for me.

Some facts about the lively, loud mouth, yet reclusive me:

I do best with one of one or maybe a few others but not parties. I am easily over stimulated and it turns a fun atmosphere into something very stressful for me.

I am a morning person. Although I am good for a quiet dinner occasionally I am at my most lively in the early morning.

I can’t handle very much alcohol these days so anything involving food, art, crafting, or walks with dogs is always a preferred activity for me.

I will love you for ever if you can give me the space to be me!! xoxo

Proof Positive

April 16, 2016 | life | Permalink

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I am in a mood again today. But I realize why and it has me thinking about the company that we keep and why it is so important to be around uplifting folks.

As a highly sensitive person I am deeply affected by words. Often never being able to let go of the particularly mean ones. When someone hurts my feelings is when the cycle of negative thoughts begins. Because I am hurt I want to lash out and make others, even folks who have done nothing to me, feel as rotten as I do. It can go on for days. Me thinking about all the things I dislike about myself and others. I KNOW this is ridiculous and I need to get over it and move on, which is why I decided to blog about it because that always helps me recognize my stuff and move on.

I think it is proof positive that the people that you surround yourself with need to be folks that are happy, uplifting, kind, productive, etc… If you are around those who are lashing out at you, focusing on the negative, dwelling in the past and not letting things go then you are setting yourself up to feel and think negatively.

Luckily for me it was just an arguement and I can powder my butt and move on, but others live it. I feel sad that they can’t see what is happening.

Ok, powdering done, I can move on with my day! The sun is shining and I am headed to Old Beach Farmers market for the morning. Have a good one!

At Peace

March 16, 2016 | life | Permalink

nanew

No one teaches you how to grieve an estranged family member. Hell, no one ever even talks about the possibility that you might have an estranged family member. It is taboo in polite society to say you haven’t talked to your grandmother, aka Nanew, in a decade. It is really very uncomfortable when the subject of relatives is broached, there is always an awkward and uncomfortable pause when you might say, “well, I don’t know if she is alive”. That is harsh, I know but it has been the reality of my life. Now I can say she is not.

I thought that would be a relief. I actually believed that I would feel nothing. Yet, I am sad. So very sad today. I am in tears, but for who exactly?

I am sad that she was dealt the cards she got in this life. Losing her mother when she was a baby and being taken away from her alcoholic father and placed in a house of relatives that did not want her. We will never know the hell that was her youth. She would never tell us much more than being shut in a dark room and being hungry. She always fed me well, encouraged us to root around in the fridge for a snack. She never wanted us to be hungry.

I am sad that her demons overtook her in my mom’s youth. I am sad that my mom suffered because polite society in the 1950′s didn’t talk about the demons we face, but rather medicated the problems. Where did that leave the little girl that would be my mom?

I often preach that there is nothing wrong with being an only child. But I am sad today because my Nanew was an only child, who had one child, who again had one child. I can only assume things would be easier if we could share our grief with another. To not feel so alone. Would life have been easier for Nanew if she had a sibling? In her situation though they probably would have been separated. If my mother had a sibling might she have had an ally after her father passed. Her father who was her rock and the peacekeeper. My mom might have not felt so alone.

I have yet to mention that my mom lost her dad on the very same day 40 some years ago. The same day, which happens to be the day before her birthday. That makes me sad too. Very sad.

I was very numb yesterday at receiving the news of her passing. I thought that numb was all I could muster. Then the tears came. Now I can’t seem to stop them.

I tried to love her. I went for a long time and didn’t speak with her. Then I tried to mend the bridge. But I could not handle it. She wasn’t very nice behind closed doors. I tried to understand that she was a product of those people who raised her. That she never received the help that she really needed and instead dealt with it the only way she knew how with medications and alcohol. Unfortunately I have my own monkey’s in my head and was coming to terms with my own issues at that time and the things she said to me deeply wounded me. I can still hear them repeated over and over in my head, like a broken record. I doubt I will ever forget them. I attempted to communicate my feelings to her in writing but she responded that I had hurt hers and that’s where her anger came from. Yet, she would never tell me exactly what it was that  I did that hurt her, besides being born. I could never figure out what I was supposed to do to make things right. After the last insulting tirade of a phone call with her which led me to smoke a pack of cigs and drink an entire bottle of champagne on Christmas day, in my pjs, alone on my porch, I decided enough was enough. That was the last time we spoke. I am not trying to justify anything, right or wrong I think of my actions as self preservation.

But now as I sit here in tears, I am criticizing myself for not trying harder. For not being strong enough to help her. For being selfish.

In 2013 we found out she was in a nursing home. Yet, I still did nothing. I was afraid. I was afraid for many reasons and one of which was I was in the process of mending my relationship between my mom and myself. I was afraid of damaging my relationship with her by overstepping my bounds and driving to Lovingston. I was afraid that even if I did drive up there that it was my mom that she would have wanted to see and not me. I was afraid she would hurt me again. So I never went. I am sad because I was so afraid.

I am sad because she died alone and I was selfish and unforgiving.

So I cry, I cry for the loss of her life, I cry that she never conquered her demons. I cry for my mom, who all she has left in this world is me. I cry for myself because of my actions.

Rest in peace Nanew you deserve it.

Wedgie Down

March 11, 2016 | life | Permalink

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Wedgie Down!

No, not really, I am up, just had coffee and am sitting here wondering why I have such a headache. I woke up at 6:00 with a pounding headache, one that would rival a hangover, yet I didn’t have a drop of alcohol last night. Mae is pissed, I am afraid to leave my phone in her reach for fear that she will call PETA on me because I am neglecting her. But I am feeling like a zombie, already spilt water all over me, and filled the coffee pot with water but never made it so I am hesitant to ride my bike with three dogs at warped speed around the hood. I am not in the mood to get hit by a car today.

So what does anyone do in 2016 when they feel like poopoo….I Googled it! LOL But I did find this old article.

5 Ways To Cope When You Suffer From A Social Hangover by Andy Mort

Holy Mother of Introverts! I am not alone! I am not the freak I think I am. God bless it, that is a relief!

As a highly sensitive introvert I realise I’ve experienced these social hangovers all my life. Until today I hadn’t really thought too much about them.

I suppose I had always assumed that some days are just good and I feel positive; whereas other days are a bit crap and I just feel flat and empty. While this may feel true it is often possible to find explanations, especially if you’re naturally introverted or highly sensitive.

Sensory input and the presence of people can act like alcohol; your body consumes it and your mind is progressively stimulated and moved away from its default state. The longer you are exposed to it (i.e. the more you drink), the longer it will take to recover (the more hungover you get).

When you’re hungover after drinking too much you don’t feel like yourself. You might feel powerless, weak, and internally divided; it’s like your body and mind are punishing you for what you did to them. A social hangover is no different and I’ve realised there are some important things to bear in mind if and when you ever suffer from one:

Even the comments were me. Like this one,  I’ve always had a weird thing about wanting to be the first up and to be in place by the time others get up. I guess this is linked to the need to have stimulation drip fed to me” and someone mentioned restless legs, I always take Calms Forte as soon as I get home from anything extracurricular. 

I have been associating a lot of these feeling lately to alcohol consumption. Although I know alcohol doesn’t help the situation I see now that it is not solely the issue here.  But I see patterns in my life and why I am the way I am…why I prefered to be a cook and not a waitress, why I prefered working in dad’s warehouse rather than the front office. I think spending 12 long years in that warehouse as exasperated my introverted tendencies. And although I am mostly an introvert I am still fairly outgoing and I do enjoy small gatherings of like minded folks, like last nights Who Arted? get together at the shop. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t wake up with a “hangover”. I had a blast! I loved seeing old and new friends. I wasn’t anxious and weirded out by any of it, I kept talking to the last two friends until one of them was literally backing out the door, because she, like me overstimulates easily. But yet I still feel like doody today.

And WHY did I go into retail! LOL In general I really enjoy it and on an average day it is just the right amount of social stimulation. Farmers market days and the last 6 weeks of the year are pretty tough on me and I am wiped out in January, but day to day life at the The Wedge is spectacular and I love it. I could easily have fallen into a reclusive life but I know that is not a healthy lifestyle for me so I feel like I have created a perfect life for myself. First off I have the most awesome extroverted business partner that is more than happy to take the lead when I need to step away. She is getting to know me and is realizing that I have all sorts of sensory issues and knows my triggers and cues. I am grateful for her. Our shop is an extension of our home and I feel very relaxed and comfortable in there. Sometimes I am calmer there than I am at home! Plus I’d say 98% of the people we meet through the shop are fantastic, inspiring, talented, and often a little “crazy” like me. So I am a little less of an oddball than if say I worked in a corporate situation. Yeah right, that will never happen. I think I lasted 6 months at a bank in high school and knew THAT life wasn’t for me.

So, anyways, I like to blog about stuff because often folks reach out to me and tell me how much they can relate. I think knowing you are not alone, and a crazy, freaky oddball is healthy…so I share and share and share…cuz I do like to talk a lot. ;)

xoxo

Melancholy Mood

February 22, 2016 | life, rants | Permalink

Yesterday was a long day for me. Too long. And honestly I am not feeling much better about things today. But today I will get up and get out. I have too or I won’t get better.

I would so rather be angry than melancholy. I am productive with anger. I have energy when I am angry. Melancholy on the other hand is listless, useless wasting of my precious life.

I sit here this morning with tears in my eyes pondering these feelings and working through them. What has spiralled me into this mood, I am pretty sure it was the three beers I had Saturday. Three. Granted they were pints, and incredible tasty craft beers. I ate a hearty meal earlier in the day. I was hydrated. But it was a long day with a lot of stimulation. Another trigger. I have too many triggers which is why it is often best I live in my own little world. But I know I need to be around people because too much isolation is not healthy either. So where is the balance? Life is indeed a dance of balance and moderation.

But three beers? As a woman who had, unfortunately, spent her 15 +  of her formative years as a heavy drinker 3 beers IS moderation. The tables have turned for sure, it is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it is days like yesterday that make me 150% positive that my moderation and/or abstinence are the reason I am alive today. It is also the reason I am married and have a healthy relationship, it is why I own my own business, it is why I can create art. But mainly it is my life. Your mind and body probably aren’t wired like mine, but I know some of you are so if you ever need to talk rest assured I am here for you.

A curse. It is a curse because if you are not wired the way I am you think that I am being overly dramatic. That it is all in my head. Folks who do not understand like to make you feel that you are no fun, that you cannot be any fun if you do not drink. Granted, there are a lot of situations I avoid, that I once enjoyed, but don’t because the repercussions of binge drinking are not worth it. Casual relaxed atmospheres are more likely to have me drinking in moderation whereas high energy, lots of people has me out of control. Totally out of control and then low for days on end. Triggers. You have got to know your triggers. It just really sucks that I have come to a point in my life where three beers is too much. There is literally a tear in my beer, it is like saying goodbye to an old friend. But I won’t totally say goodbye, I will readjust and try one tasty pint of craft beer or maybe two really light not so crafty beers next time.

I type this because not because I want you to come up with a solution, there is nothing you can say or do for me, it is my baggage and my baggage alone but A. it is very theraputic for me to write. B. because you are probably my friend if you are reading this and I want you to try and understand me.

C. you might know someone else like me. If you do, do not try and overanalyze them. Do not criticize them for their choices. Do not make them feel like they will not be any fun if they do not drink. Do not tell them it is all in their head. Do not tell them that they should change their beverage of choice, or to do such and such drug instead. Do not suggest they have a water between each drink, do not suggest that they eat bread beforehand….oh yeah, I have heard it all. Do not EVER make anyone feel unworthy because they need to be who THEY are and not what you want/need them to be. If you ever do do these things you are not truly their friend, you do not care about them. You are selfish.

Yesterday was a day that only one who suffers from things as I do will understand. I am grateful that my husband gave me the space that I needed. Today as I sit here and type, still with tears in my eyes I know that I have to get up and get out and I will feel much better after some fresh air and exercise with the two terrorists. We are headed to the park to hike. I knew I needed to go yesterday, I wanted too, I said I was going but I ended up back in bed. Today I will make myself go. Bye Bye

Patterns, Excuses and Activewear

February 8, 2016 | exercise, life | Permalink

This morning I am pondering the breaking of patterns and beating excuses. Saying “I always” is really stifling. Today is my day off. I set my alarm for 5:45 so I could go to the Y. But it’s my day off! The bed was warm, the 3 littles were cuddly. So, I say I’ll go when Chris leaves for work. Nope, didn’t do that either. Stayed snuggling.

Here it comes…I ALWAYS go to the Y early so I’ll skip it today since I won’t get there during the time frame I prefer…or I think I prefer. I only really prefer it because I know everyone there. I might not know the people after 8. Then I say, well I need to run errands and only want to leave the house once today but I don’t want to drag all my shower stuff there. So I can’t go because I need to shower first. REALLY Sloane, 95% of the women running errands are in their “activewear” and I bet they didn’t take a shower. And who cares anyways at Michaels and Lowes. It’s not like I am trying on wedding gowns. I am buying screws, jig saw blades, a light switch, a hook and a frame. 

And another one, well, I slept late and you shouldn’t eat before exercising, I’ll get hungry and my blood sugar will crash and blah blah blah. So now I am laughing at my excuse making self as I am exploring Unexpected Philadelphia‘s website, thinking well dorkfish you are just sitting here looking at cool stuff why don’t you eat some damned toast.

And now you see I am blogging…LOL But I am done with my toast. I can finish looking at the website later because it is not going anywhere. I am going to brush my teeth, put a sports bra one and go to the freakin’ YMCA. I will pack a gatorade and banana in case my toast doesn’t hold me while I drive my stinky butt over to Michaels and Lowes.

I am breaking patterns and beating excuses today. Good bye

Humble Pie

February 2, 2016 | life, pets | Permalink

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I was a restless sleeper last night and once when I was up the realization that Chris Solanto​ was right overcame me and I was up for 30 minutes coming to terms with that! LOL I am sorry for being so stubborn all the time Chris, but it is with all good intentions.

The realization that he was correct in the assumption that Sadie would not ride in the cart. Now let me state, I COULD probably have gotten her used to it if it wasn’t for her physical limitations. Sadie Dog has awful arthritis in both legs and at the base of her tail. I think even if I could convince her to lie in the cart she would still be terribly uncomfortable. Listening to her grumble and groan last night in her bed made me think about all this. I love my girl and I just wanted her to join in the fun, but I will not force her and make her suffer.

Soooooooooo now we have the biggest cart Doggyhut makes and an 18 pound hairy weiner  as its only occupant! Hahaha! Chris asked me repeatedly why I needed the largest cart they made. I don’t know, why do I buy 25 pounds of bird seed instead of a manageable 5-10 pound bag. Why did I buy 6000 napkins when opening The Wedge 3 years ago. It is just the way I am. I try and not ask him why he buys the things he buys, ahem, guitars, shoes and jackets. Maybe our obsessive qualities are what attracted us to each other in the first place. We are passionate, intense people who like the biggest, the best and the most of the things we like in life.

As I sit here sipping my smoothie and thinking about whether or not I should sell this one and opt for a smaller one I decided to compare. And I see really, there isn’t THAT much difference in sizes.

Maximum capacity: 90LBS Dimensions inside trailer: 34″x22.5″x26″ /Dimensions folded: 34″x26″X9″ /Weight: 31LBS

Maximum capacity: 85LB /Dimensions inside trailer: 27″x17″x20″ /Dimensions folded: 27.5″x20″X9″ /Weight: 23LB

I bet I could strap my beach chair to the top of that bad boy, throw the wiener in there and go to the beach sometime. Plus now I will focus on getting Fwank comfortable in there. He and Mae could have an adventure to the beach as well. Minus the beach chair since they would just want to run around once we got there. I bet after I ran him around the hood he would settle down quite nicely and be happy to ride in style. I’ll start that later today!

Maybe now that I have eaten my humble pie publically Chris won’t be to hard on me with the I Told You So’s.

Fear of….

January 13, 2016 | life | Permalink

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Oh Lord, didn’t curiosity kill the cat?

Wandering around the house this morning fretting like I am going away for a month and not a long weekend. You all know I over think EVERY SINGLE THING in my life and that may make me seem a little crazy but I actually think it keeps me sane. It helps me get to the root of my issues, and issues are one thing I am not lacking in this life. The one thing I do know is that I have to challenge myself and not have fear get the best of me. I think that is why I like a structured trips with interesting things to entice me to leave the comfort/safety/warmth/routine of my home. I laugh that I have never lived or worked beyond First Colonial Road. I like my little space in the world. I am happy here but I know if I don’t ever step away I will miss the chance of seeing a lot of beautiful, creative, inspiring things. I just can’t step away too far, LOL.

OK here’s the deal there are two things that probably trouble me the most, the loss of control and the disruption in my routines. First off let me state that it is not that I fear Tracy cannot manage the store or that Chris will not be able to care for our pets. They are both perfectly capable individuals. Going to work and taking care of my animals is part of my routine. It is what I do, it is who I am. I love The Wedge, I love being there, I like knowing I have a place to go everyday. And I do not need to tell you how much I love my dogs. I can’t wait to get home every night so I can hug and snuggle with them. They are my Xanax. I miss them when they are not near.

Control. At home I have my truck and or my bike to get around, I am in control of how I get from point A to point B. Out of town I am not. At home I have a closet full of clothing so I can adjust what I have on at anytime depending on the weather…I have gone home from work to change before! At home my meals or planned or I know I like to eat at certain restaurants. I guess routines are a form of control. To some I am frighteningly routine. I get up in the morning within a certain time frame every day. I do the same thing in the same order every day. OK, some days may vary, say if I am going to the Y but a Y day has a routine just like a sleep in day does. I work, I come home and I fiddle around the house, eat, talk with Chris, read and go to bed early. I find so much comfort in routine. Maybe because my mind is always spinning at high speed. The ideas and thoughts never stop coming and when I disrupt the thoughts with what I should be doing, eating etc it overwhelms me. I like order. I never go to the grocery without a list. I plan all my meals in advance. I cannot be bothered with having to think about such things everyday, just a little time once a week and then I am done. I am prepared…to think and dream.

I know curiosity won’t kill this cat. I am not afraid of bad things happening to me, it just the break in routine, the lack of the level of control that I am used to. I know if I gave in to these fears I would only be hurting myself. Luckily we live in an area where a lot of really wonderful things are relatively close by since I prefer short trips. I can get over myself and my weird quirks for a few days to make memories that will continue to inspire me.

In defense of social media

January 7, 2016 | inspiration, life | Permalink

fbFacebook in particular.  I am a big fan of facebook but I totally get why some people are not and I can respect that. But here are my thoughts on Facebook with an example from this morning to elaborate.

First off I heard yesterday “but I don’t CARE what you ate for dinner”. Yep, I get that, but I actually do care about what you ate. I love to see what other folks are eating and cooking. By sharing what you had and a link to the recipe I might have found my new favorite weekday meal. When you check in at a local restaurant and snap a photo of your meal, I might be inspired to go there too. And pets, I know some people who probably could give a hoot about my pets or your pets but I LOVE to see pictures of people’s pets and read about their shenanigans. I find it amusing and entertaining.

I am basically an introverted homebody but I love to travel vicariously with my FB friends. I like to see what is going on around town, maybe a new band is coming and although I might not go to the show I could pick up their CD to enjoy at home. I can see all kinds of stuff going around town, all in one place from art, music, food and farmers markets. Then I can make a decision on what would be the most fun for me to participate.

Facebook also gives you the option to follow, not follow, get notifications or not on all people and pages. I hate political and overly religious posts and sites so I block most of them from my newsfeeds. It doesn’t mean I have to unfriend the person with particular views and stances I just block all the stuff they share. You can have friends and not agree on everything, it is ok, but it doesn’t mean you have to see it either.

I know social media can be a major time suck but I find it relaxing and a good way to unwind rather than watching tv. Sometimes I am just lazy and it is just fun to look through my newsfeed for something interesting to read about. Like this morning. I went to the Y but have been pretty lazy since then before work.  But I saw an article about Alabama Chanin that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and really got my creative juices flowing for the day.

Actually the gal, Deborah Flack aka ChiChi Rose, is a virtual friend. I love how we can have virtual friendships with those we may or may not have ever met. Because sometimes all of “your people” don’t live in your community. How did I “meet” Deborah? Well, we were in DC last year at a The American Made Show and met Martha and Steve of 3 Sisters Design Co.. We knew instantly that they were our kind of people. So of course we became Facebook friends. By seeing their posts I saw that they had a friend in Georgia that made really cool stuff and her husband was an artist too. The name was familiar and I realized that I had bought a piece of Paul Flack‘s art at the Boardwalk art show years ago! I had actually spent quite a bit of time talking with them. So this Deborah is my kind of people also. She shares the best stuff on her newsfeeds. She loves a lot of the same obscure kind of art and craft that I do and is not prevalent in our area. I am grateful to have “met” her, not only is she herself inspiring but she shares tons of other inspiring things on her page.

Like the article I read this morning, which had my mind a wandering. Here is how my thoughts ran away with me this morning….

No, I cannot now or ever afford a $4000 dress but I do really admire the grow to sew process. I think it is awesome that they are creating unique, sustainable, amazing, beautiful work, for real jobs, in a rural area of the country. I think it is genius and I admire that. But then I get uncomfortable because I think they are a bit elitist and it is unrealistic and unobtainable by so many. And then I step away from that notion and realize that it is art. And it is art that is creating jobs and someone can obviously afford it so more power to them for making it work! Who am I to judge. I was judgy yesterday about a local business that I think is an unrealistic business model and cater to the elitists. But why, that’s not fair. I have never read their business plan, I don’t know what is in store for them in the future, they may really make it and maybe one day be active supporting members in our community doing lot of good stuff for others. Who knooooooows what their future is. I need not be so judgy all the time.

In having this judgy discussion with Barbara yesterday we had to admit that some folks may view US as elitists. They may, they DO, judge us for our business decisions. Because we choose one artist over another, that our store looks a certain way and is in a certain geographical location. And I get defensive and blog about it, like in my last post because I want people to know why we do the things we do. Other folks don’t feel the necessity in openly defending themselves like I do and because of that I need to accept the fact they they are doing what THEY have to do to live a fulfilling and hopefully profitable life just like I am!

Ok back to the positive side of the social media, I know this is a crazy post that is seemingly all over the place but I just wanted to illustrate how things I see on line can stimulate my thought processes, expanding and opening my mind. Alright so back to the article on the garments, the excitement, the uncomfortableness and then my solution…because I always have to satisfy myself with a “solution” whether I intend to pursue it or not! Yes, I adore these designs, the concept, the whole process but even though it is unattainable for me to own such a work of wearable art who is to say I can’t make something myself! No I am not in a position to go from grow to sew, hell I don’t even like to sew. BUT I coooould go to a thrift store, find something that may end up in the landfill sooner than later and repurpose it with stitchwork and embellishment. I have the power within me to create a new, sustainable, artful garment of my very own!

On that note, I am off to shower and get to work because I am already going to be really late. I am glad Barbara knows I get wrapped up in stuff early in the morning. Bye Bye

Balancing Act

January 1, 2016 | life | Permalink

balanceBalance has been a New Year pondering for me as long as I can remember. Although different years mean different things to ponder what I need to work on. I am feeling pretty good about balancing exercise, cooking, pet, home and work time…although friendship time is always challenging for me since I am not really people-y inclined after work, but that is another post for another day.

Yesterday and today I have really been focusing on balancing the business. We are gaining a reputation for carrying a lot of local items in our shop. Which is true we do have quite a few local folks in there, 100′s of Virginia vendors, many from around the US and Canada and a few fair trade items.  I think it is a great mix and this is what we strive to maintain. We want to buy responsibly for The Wedge, that is our main focus. That is the BIG Picture.

The details though. Oooooh the details. Life is all in the details isn’t it. So you have the obvious details like paying the rent, marketing expenses, utilities, insurance,  etc. Eventually a living wage for Barbara and I will be in there too. As we venture into year 3 and a new lease we are not there yet (the living wage part that is, we can manage the bills) but we have a better idea of HOW to get there now. We know what is working for us and what is not working for us at this point. A store, in our location is not and will never make it on consignment alone. Not going to happen. Although some folks insist that the 40% of the sale we keep is high it really isn’t when you consider the overhead we have, credit card fees, the gift wrapping and what not. I need to be careful here because I can get very defensive. That being said, as much as we want to support our local artists and crafters we cannot do it to the point of losing the shop. As much as we want to help others we are unfortunately not a charity we are a business and that is the bottom line. In dealing with consignors verses wholesalers we are dealing with folks on a very personal level and feelings can get hurt all around and very easily. Artist think we don’t value their time and effort and I often feel the same way on my end. It goes both ways.

I don’t think a lot of folks understand what goes on behind the scenes. And since I am the kind of gal that likes to tell you how things really are I am going to give you a glimpse of the sort of things we deal with everyday. I think with a little understanding folks will see why there are not many shops doing what we do. I think you will also understand why we want and need to move towards more wholesaling. With wholesaling you get a higher margin although in selling responsibly produced arts, crafts and gifts the margin in MUCH less than selling mass produced Chinese crapola. Let me state though that just because I keep throwing around the term wholesaling doesn’t mean it has to be less local. Several of our local vendors are already wholesaling with us. Buying outright is nice for many reasons  but the main one is the artist, crafter, gift maker gets paid on the spot. Yes you may be receiving a little less but you are not waiting around wondering when and if your product is going to sell. It’s in our court then. No risk for you, just us. Although I should add that the large pieces of original fine art and craft will probably always be on consignment because of the higher price point.

OK, here is a little behind the scenes. The things that kind of hurt my feelings when having to deal with them…

Folks who purchase all their materials retail, because this is your hobby and not your job, but yet want to make X amount of dollars for your time and then x2 on what you paid (retail) for your materials. And some even tack on an extra 40% onto the price above.

Folks who think because of our geographic location enables them to tack on extra to their retail but sell it up the road for less.

The producers who sell directly to the customers for X amount but then expect us to sell it for much more. That makes us look terrible. Like we are gougers. I hate that. If we can get X amount so can YOU. Sell it the same across the board.

Some people like to come in a critique how you have their items displayed. We have had folks pick their stuff up and start rearranging with a store full of people in order to have their work in a “better” place.

Wholesaling with the little guy has it’s downsides too. We are often dealing directly with the artists and producers themselves. Their talents lie in their creations not necessarily booking keeping and customer service. A lot of small batch producers thing that we can make it on 30% margins, shipping can be anywhere from 10-25%, folks can randomly jack up their cost without warning and you find out after it’s been delivered. People have changed the cost to a quantity based price without warning you get charged significantly more for the smaller orders you have always placed. I get it but geez, give us a heads up, let us know what to expect. Then you have orders placed that never come. Emails don’t get checked, orders don’t get sent. People get busy and just blow you the hell off.

I think this might give those of you that wonder why there aren’t more stores like us around, it is a tricky balance. I can see where it is a lot easier and much more profitable to go to the big markets and buy all your stuff mass produced. You can get it all in one place, it is cheap to buy, you can mark it up insanely, and make your customers happy by offering sales often.  But Barbara and I are made of tougher stuff, we relish the challenge of having a little store like ours, we love searching out American made goodness, and working with the locals. I know I sound like I was really fussing but there is always good and bad. And our good peeps are why we do what we do. We love them, they love us, it is why we get up everyday and keep doing what we do.

Here’s to a balanced, profitable, fun and exciting New Year!!