18 March 2009

What's Abby Doing?

Not Abby. This is Jamie, one of our Johnny-on-the-spot models when we shoot apparel and handbags for the Online Boutique. Learn more about this handbag here.

Sometimes I wonder just what customers must think when they're shopping the store and they see me standing at my cash wrap, behind the computer monitor, tap-tap-tapping away on the keyboard. This is a daily occurrence {especially on days when staff is busy elsewhere in the store and I'm not tucked away in my office} and is probably the most familiar vision of me that most customers have. I swear I'm not catching up on my personal e-mail or looking up recipes! I'd like to tell them.

Abby's view of the store when peeking out from behind her keyboard. The pale blue thing with brown detail, at left, is the robin's egg blue vintage vase that holds pens at the cash wrap.

Instead, I'm likely doing one of the following {and sometimes two or three at the same time, switching between screens like nobody's business}: firing off an e-mail to a sales rep {"Where's my tissue paper??!!!"}; making an inquiry to a prospective new vendor {"I believe your line may be a great fit for our mix at THE BLISSFUL..."}; checking in with an existing vendor's customer service department regarding a billing or shipping issue; writing a blog post like this one or networking in blogland; responding to a request for information about our products that someone in Greece or North Dakota saw on our blog or Online Boutique; reviewing orders that have come in via our Online Boutique; generating Sales Receipts and shipping tags for Online Orders that will be shipped out today; writing orders for new merchandise; answering an e-mail question from another shop owner or wannabe shop owner; working on a a marketing piece; researching new products, lines, ideas, Markets, other stores I admire; watching and reconciling our bank account online; planning my next season in the store or buying trip; making to-do lists for myself and staff; communicating with advertisers. Some customers might be surprised by the amount of detailed, office-y, computer work that a business like this requires, and just how tied to my computer I really have to be to make sure everything's well in our world. Indie retail in the digital age is a business in which office-lovin' paper pushers like me can really thrive. At least the type of indie retail that THE BLISSFUL is. Around here, I handle the gross majority of the paperwork...and truth be told, I love that element of this business!

Customers may notice that I've been spending a lot more time behind the scenes lately. I've been learning more about the art of making an indie retail shop spin, and this takes me off the sales floor more and more. Trust me--I'm far from perfection but learning more everyday. Our shopgirls, however, are closer to perfect than I deserve.

I offer the above image with tongue firmly inserted in cheek. Check out the rest of the image here.

In fact, I have to run off in a second to make some more gears spin, but first I wanted to show you some of the new items we've recently added to our Online Boutique for Spring {just one more thing I might be doing when you see and hear me tap-tap-tapping away on my keyboard}. Click the link under each photo to be transported directly to the page where you can learn more, and maybe purchase. FYI, I'm in the process of uploading about 100 recently arrived items, so this is not all. Keep checking back!

Our next buying trip-in-the-works: we'll be heading to Chicago at the end of the month to attend Stylemax, a fashion/jewelry/accessories circuit. We'll also meet up with our friend Margo, candlemaker extraordinaire of Tatine, who made the candles above with her very own hands.

Tanks with a timely message. Click here to learn more about this one and view other styles.

Grow your own herbs with these cleverly packaged Herb Potting Kits. We tore off a bit of our lush cilantro yesterday just to taste--and ah yes, totally salsa-worthy. The recycled paper pots are lined with sturdy plastic {so you can actually water right into them} and arrive in a round open weave bamboo basket. The dirt and seeds are included! A great gift idea for the home cook or someone who's looking to live a little more green. Rather than buy fresh herbs from the grocery store once a month when you need them for one recipe {and then throwing away what you didn't use}, grow your own at home for a fraction of the price and enjoy them daily. Thyme is great on eggs; basil is sublime when pressed in a George Foreman between two halves of a baguette or focaccia with mozzarella and tomato.

When on the go, tote along just the essentials in a Royal Robin zip pouch adorned with subtle swarovskis. Click here to see other styles.

Allow for small pleasures, like our made-in-Spain lip balms.

A new collection from KOBO to delight you. Today we're burning Orange Amber.

A great new influx of books to inspire you. This is one of my favorites.

This is the first day all year that we've been able to prop our shop door open. The breeze feels like sweet elixir right now! The signs of Spring are all around us. {Readers in more temperate climates, please bear with all the weather-related talk on this blog. We in the Midwest long for the change of seasons.}

One last thing: a notice of a Last Chance Sale: we are offering 50% OFF select Pyrrha jewelry until it's gone {Silver Initial Necklaces not included in this sale}. We've got some beautiful rings in store {but only in select sizes}, along with some pretty amazing necklaces. If you've ever wanted a piece from this truly heirloom-quality collection, the time to act is now during our Last Chance Sale. We've got one Silver Initial Ring in a 'C,' band size 8, eligible for sale to the first person who contacts us. Local customers, please call the shop at 330.492.2500 or stop in. Non-local customers, please e-mail inquiries about what may still be available to sales@theblissful.com. Merci!


Kasey said...

My kind of shopping, stylemax!

Jeanneoli said...

I can't imagine what the constant learning curve is for running a shop. You make it look easy. I always love seeing what is new in your shop...the herb growing kit is so sweet.

Hi! I'm Kirsten... said...

That Bazaar style book VERY nearly came home with me last time I was in, but I just couldn't afford it. I may have to get in soon and see if you still have any copies. It is so me right now....

for Spring and Summer I keep bringing more and more vintage color into the house!

Anonymous said...

I love The Blissful! It is my favorite store!