Saturday, September 5, 2015

...small business, you gotta work it & a bit of a rant...

“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart.
It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent.”

I’m sitting at my kitchen island drinking a glass of Goosebump wine (with a screw top because I’m classy like that) with a pumpkin nutmeg candle burning (not a Yankee candle but one of the crackling ones that my fella buys at Target) [Note: while typing this, we switched to the Yankee Candle Black Magic] and my fella’s music is playing in the background. We’re listening to Bach Fantasia and Fugue in G minor (not the famous one but one of the others). I’m tuckered and soon we’ll be eating frozen pizza and watching Gaslight (1944) and maybe catch up on an episode of The Strain and maybe Switched at Birth (not gothy enough? My excuse is that I teach adolescent lit but really I love a good teen drama and ABC Family cracks me up!)

sunrise from the train
It’s been a long week mostly because it’s a new semester and I’m just getting back into the swing of things. Plus, my hours have been a little longer with the new gig but overall, no complaints. I’m back to seeing daily sunrises; and, my train reading time is once again consistent.   

Today was the kind of day where we woke early (after all, we went to bed at 8:15pm last night because we were so tired) and lounged about. I made my first William-Sonoma pumpkin and pecan pancakes of the season. I’m out of practice because I burned my bat and then my Jack-o-lantern turned out a little wonky. They tasted good and my fella really doesn’t care if his pancakes are in fun shapes or not.
I headed out to my favorite jewelry necromancer in Richmond who had created not one or even two but three necklaces to stack. She’s calling the piece “Bat Utopia”. I love the elements in it. Earlier in the week, I took a picture of some of the other pieces of hers that I had stacked. I love Kay Adams Jewelry for many reasons… but mostly because they’re pieces that she puts together just for me. She gets someone’s vibe and then voila! You’re in debt ;D Most all of my amazing necklaces come from her. I’ve written about her work before but Kay rescues old pieces of jewelry and brings them back to life. If the jewelry pieces are missing stones, are cracked, or even are broken… no worries. She works her magic and makes them new again. I watch her talk about each little piece and what she’s done to it to make it amazing. 

Today, I watched how another customer came in and as she explained the magic she did, he sort of shrugged. “It’s pretty”, he muttered…or something like that. This was a piece for his new wife. I wasn’t quite annoyed at the time but I’ve built myself up to think that he should have paid more attention. He was buying a piece of history, a piece of craftsmanship that might not always be around.  But maybe it’s just me… maybe part of the experience of shopping in Anthill Antiques and buying Kay Adams Jewelry pieces is that I enjoy the history behind each little piece. Where were you from? Who loved you before? How did you get here?, I whisper. I imagine stories… something that I never do with a piece of mass-marketed piece of retail. 

With Kay, the creator of beautiful jewelry
Of course, Kay runs a good local business too. She has an active Facebook page and a detailed website. She also knows her customers by name.  This isn't to say that all shop owners need to know their customers by name... down the street from Kay's shop in the Carytown district of Richmond, I'm known by the Christmas shop (Old World Accents) as "Devil Girl" because each August when the shop keeper gets in her new ornaments, I buy the devils. There was even a shop that closed a few years ago that knew me by the name "Bat Lady" because I bought up all of their bat merchandise during Halloween. Hell, that store even called me when they had something new in the shop. Kay sends me Facebook messages. *THIS* is why I like shopping local. It isn't just that I love their merchandise, but I feel like I'm part of something.  

Even ReFunkit sent me a text message with the stand for the cemetery fence angel this week. The stand needs to be painted but this is the progress of the stand for the cemetery fence angel (who will remain rusted).

Today, I went to some local shops that 1.) did not have hours posted so I have no idea if or when they’re open; 2.) had posted hours but while I was there before closing, the stores were still closed without any notice; and, 3.) the store that I went into that was open had an owner/manager/someone-I’ve-seen-before not recognize me as a customer who has been in and brought people in a few times before. 

That’s one of the frustrating parts of shopping local and I’m not here to shame anyone but I don’t see myself going back to these establishments. What’s the point? They’re not doing me any favors. I frequent and spend good money at local establishments that value my business. Okay, maybe it's the wine but this turned into a rant. Perhaps it is. Either way, I'm off to watch a movie with my fella.


  1. And you so much for introducing me to Kay and her wonderful shop. Her energy is infectious and I adore her enthusiasm for her work and her customers. Whenever I wear my Kay necklaces, I have had to get used to being stopped and having to explain about them. I love doing it, though, hoping to potentially turn other folks onto the wonders that await them in Kay's shop.

  2. Kay sounds wonderful! I love people who reuse. Im sure that guy doesn't really get it but shops there for his beloved because she loves it. We don't always get our partner's taste, but try to cater to it!

    I know what you mean, i love my local independent bookstore and often shop there, but there is another local shop which i avoid due to rude owners and the fact they do nit treat their staff well.