July 24, 2015

A Pirate's Life for Me, and other musings on working alone.


Adjusting to working from home has been smoother than I expected. I'm an ENFJ, which according to the MBTI spectrum, means I tend to be more extroverted and feel energized when I spend time socializing or working in a group. I noticed this a lot in my previous retail experience both as a store manager and sales associate. The busy seasons were pretty chaotic (not Black-Friday-at-Best-Buy crazy, more like Waiting-In-Line-At-Tower-Records-For-Nsync-Tickets-To-Go-On-Sale crazy) but despite the steady stream of frantic customers, and having to re-assemble the whole store every evening, I would honestly leave at the end of each day with a slight energetic buzz on. 

I love working in retail for a few main reasons- everyday is a little different, I love working with people (both a team of co-workers and customers), and it's a very visually-driven industry, so there's always something that sparks fresh ideas and a new project to tackle. I've attempted the Lone-Ranger life before, during a brief layover as a Real Estate Agent, and quickly realized that I probably lacked the cut-throat competitive spirit needed to totally crush close enough deals, and I craved more creativity in my work- not "creative" like how people twist the word on their resumes when referring to their problem solving abilities, but creative like art! colors! texture! visually pleasing things! Obviously, there are a lot of aspects of retail work, and any job, that are more gritty than pretty, but overall, I've always felt at home with the shop-life. 

Now that I am in the process of building my own small retail business, with big dreams of expanding to a brick- and-mortar storefront someday, it is becoming more and more clear to me that this is what I feel called to do. I love how a shop brings people together from all walks of life, for a moment in time, and offers a place for people to explore, dream, find inspiration, or share their journey with others. I think of this incredible writer often and her experience running an independent bookstore and how, as her customers come back to share their feedback on a book they read or find a new one, they become a part of each other's stories. While working in small gift boutiques, I loved helping customers pick out party invitations, birthday gifts, and sweet surprises for their special someone's and having them come back a few weeks later and tell me about the fun new memories they now have. And while managing a small art supply business, I loved meeting and working with wannabe artists who had never picked up a brush and paint, only to have them come back a few months later to drop off a postcard for their upcoming gallery show. 

These stories and relationships are what have ultimately motivated me to take the leap into starting my own shop. I am still in the process of finding products and sourcing goods from around the world, which is both super exciting and time consuming. Since I am mostly doing it alone, from in-front of a computer screen, there are times when I feel a little overwhelmed and wish I had someone next to me to ask questions like "is this thing totally amazing or totally ugly?" or "do you like the chartreuse or fennel better?" But every time I get positive feedback from a company I reach out to, "Saw your website, love it! Can't wait to work together!", or an artist on the opposite side of the globe who is "So excited to find like-minded individuals!" I instantly feel more connected to a world that is so much bigger than the four walls around me. 

However, since I am already guilty of staying in my pajamas longer than I would like, eating every meal of the day at my desk, and getting up a little too often to glare out the window at whoever-is-weed-wacking-in-the-middle-of-the-day and driving-their-damn-motorcycle-up-and-down-our-block, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Sometimes, when I do get dressed, I spend a minute or two too-long wondering, "is this outfit too piratey?" (well, probably. please see above). But overall, working by myself, and for myself, has been an interesting and refreshing experience so far, even for this ENFJ who likes being all up in everybody's business and making schedules and working on a team. Thank you to each of my "co-workers" out there who have asked "So, how's it going?" and "What are you working on?" and "Have you left the house today?" - you're keeping me honest and reminding me that I'm not in this alone. And also that I probably need to tone down the accessories, and get a little bit more Vitamin D every once in a while... which is exactly what I plan to do for the next few days. Hooray for girl's nights and beach days and baby showers! Bring it on, weekend! 

Have a lovely Friday, friends! 


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1 comment:

  1. Retail is a fun but intense career. During university I worked in retail and I loved it, it was such a fun job! My fave was doing the mannequins or window displays. And helping customers find stuff they loved.

    good luck with your entrepreneur endeavours, it sounds like you'll have lots success :)

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