We did it. We finally did it!
No, we didn’t find a way to reverse the effects of climate change, or figure out a system to ensure that no one ever goes without food or shelter, or find any way to create some justice for all of the inequities in society. Those things aren’t really in the purview of what Amy or I are able to accomplish — reach out to your nearest representative or billionaire for that kind of thing. We’re lucky if we can keep Raffy from eating trash off the ground (note: we can’t).
No, we finally opened the shop! After months of building furniture and sleeping on floors and painting walls and packing orders and stopping by UPS and ordering product and stickering product and stopping by UPS and doing trade shows and calling the electric company a dozen times and stopping by UPS and eating fast food for at least one meal a day and drinking an anxiety-inducing amount of coffee, we’ve finally got a lovely little space to call Our Shop. Did I mention our trips to UPS?
We culminated the shop’s opening with a ribbon cutting with the local chamber of commerce on Thursday, and had our grand opening on Saturday with a a few old friends, some new friends from around town, a bottle of prosecco, and several more bottles of Martinelli’s.
How else did we celebrate? By eating too much ice cream and spending the rest of the night talking about all of our next moves and plans for the business.
And this takes me to the secondary point of this post: there’s always the next thing with this kind of business. We get the time it takes to drink a bottle of sparkling cider to relax, enjoy the moment, and bask in what we’ve accomplished before we have to move on to the next thing.
The hardest part of my transition from teaching into this business has been with the sense, or lack thereof, of “finality.” With teaching, you start your year in August and it ends around Memorial Day. Once May rolls around, you get lax about the standards you have to teach, about the grades you have to give, and about getting to work early enough to not have to wait in line at the photocopier, all so that you can prepare for summer, where you shut off your brain from teaching. The year ends with a graduation. Sure you start again in a few months, but the students are different then, the materials are different, and you as a person are different. And you get the summer to sit back and reflect on those changes you went through. There’s a sense of ending, with a clear delineation of where one year starts and ends.
With the business, there isn’t that sense of ending. There isn’t the near-immediate chance at the end of a period to sit back and reflect on what you’ve done. This isn’t to bemoan the relentlessness of the business, but to shine some light on that fact. Of course, if Amy and I (and Raffy) weren’t neurotic messes, we might be able to settle down for two, maybe even three bottles of Martinelli’s before we moved on to the next thing, but instead we stay up until midnight talking about next steps. Like when we should start sharing our Q4 collection, which Amy's been working on in the midst of everything else the last couple of months. And how we should divide our marketing efforts between the business and the shop. And that we need to set up a better method of tracking our inventory. And should consider doing markets in Boston next holiday season? And on, and on.
So, we opened the shop, we celebrated as much as we could, and now it’s on to the next thing. And at some point in the future, I’ll write about that.