12 May 2007

On Giving Life to Dreams

Sweet Alexia, my new little niece. She was always our dream--we just didn't know her yet.

This blog is not only about my shop, The Blissful Home--what's new, what's inspiring us, where we're headed--but it's also about my journey as a shop owner. As many of you know, it's been about fifteen months since I left a very fulfilling career as a high school English teacher (a career I worked and prepared very earnestly for, then practiced for four years) and threw myself headlong into the dream of a lifetime: creating my own business. At the age of twenty-seven (when I opened my first shop), I didn't know what I didn't know (as Dr. Phil says), but I did know that something was propelling me forward into creating and defining my own life's work on my own timetable and on my own terms. The seed of my entrepreneurial dream grew into a brick-and-mortar boutique filled with casual and remarkable French and European-inspired furnishings and gifts, located in a place I never dreamed I'd return to: my hometown of Canton, Ohio. And here I am today, here we are, growing our customer base, thriving, and learning so much.

While I delight in and will continue to delight in using this blog as an online presence for my customers, many of whom check in regularly to see photos of new merchandise, read about our trips to Market, learn about upcoming events at The Blissful, and divine the inspiration behind our latest collections, I have a fresh new purpose in mind for this blog as well. If, as we go down the road, I feel the need to branch some of my posts off into a second blog, I will, while maintaining this first, original one.

So here's the new thing blooming inside me: I have a desire to dialogue with other women (and men, for that matter!) who are interested in launching or have already launched their own creative businesses. Whether that be shop owning, web design, jewelry making, freelance writing, or something else entirely, I want to talk about issues related to being an entrepreneur, what I define as creating a life's work for onesself by doing something in a way that has never been done before. I want to gather the insight of other people doing what I do--or who would like to be doing what I do. These particular posts will by no means be an "advice forum" of any sort--my name is Abby, not 'Dear Abby', after all. Rather, I will frame them as reflections of one young woman who is shaping her dream into something pretty exciting, and doing it with the help and support of many, many other people, not the least of whom are my wonderful customers. In fact, I will focus much less (if at all) on the what and the how of starting your own business. I will probably focus more on the why and the who--why do we choose entrepreneurship and who are we when we choose it? Along the way, I will probably ask more questions than I will provide answers. Sometimes just having the conversation with others who are engaged in the process is as valuable as anything else. But here's one thing you should know: I am a very positive person and almost refuse to focus for any considerable length of time on negativity. Yes, stresses and bad days are a part of life, a part of retailing, and certainly a part of owning your own business. I'm no Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses, but I am a bouncer. No matter what happens, I bounce back with hope and optimism. So there will be no wallowing around here.

Thank for you reading along. I welcome and invite you to post comments anytime.

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including those of us for whom our creative endeavors are our little babies (at least for the time being). To everyone out there giving life to your dreams today, I say cheers.

10 comments:

Dawn said...

I think that is a great idea! I'd totally be into that...

What a beautiful baby!

Mel said...

Ab-

I would be all about discussing the entrepreneurial spirit with you and others. You are my inspiration to leave teaching and maybe open my own home organizing business (all of which you know!).

Gina said...

I was just thinking myself I really want to post a blog and share some of the inspirational sites, blogs, photos I've seen lately to get my creative juices flowing again.

The Blissful Home said...

Dawn, Mel, and Gina--

I'm excited to hear that all of you find this idea compelling. I just read a great book about female entrepreneurship and I will post a new blog with some highlights from it within the next few days.

Be inspired today.

--Abby

Traditions Journal said...

Hi,
I know this is off the subject a little...but I own a shop (15 years now) and have written a shop "journal" as a blog for my customers. Besides telling them about it directly, i have taken a small ad in the paper...how else can I attract them? oh, and I also sent a notice to them via my email list of ccustomers. Any insight? Thanks

The Blissful Home said...

Hello, Traditions Journal (I'm sorry I couldn't find your name on your blog--I probably missed it):

I advertise my blog by word of mouth to my customers (I give each one a business card, on the back of which I've affixed a label with the blog address), with a link on my website, and the best way I've found is to include a link to the blog in every single e-mail I send to my customer list of 500+ (and growing). I send e-mails out to this list about twice a month. I usually work a mention about the blog into the body of the e-mail, then put a hyperlink right there for the reader to click. The blog address is also included in the signature of every e-mail.

By the way, I liked your last blog on blue being back. I think you're right: it seems to be back in a BIG way and looks very fresh right now. Isn't it interesting how home decorating trends cycle around?

Thanks for reading, Traditions. I'll be reading yours!

--Abby

Christine said...

Such a beautiful little baby girl!

Anonymous said...

Abby!
I dream and think of doing my own thing everyday! I spend 4 days a week, inside a small cubicle!!!! But my dream isn't about owning a shop, it's about being creative, making wonderful things to sell in shops like yours. Living my life as an Artist, creating the things I love to make, jewelry, vintage looking boxes, needleart,journals, etc. I have sold many of the items I have made, but never to a shop! It also seems that time is an issue, there never seems to be enough of it to creative alot of things at once!
I think your idea is awesome and inspiring and I would love to be a part of it!!
p.s. Congrats on being an Aunt, life will never be the same!!! :)
Kim~ (One of the Fab Five!)

The Blissful Home said...

Christine--

Thanks! I think it's okay to say thanks when she's my niece and not my "own" little baby...? :)

--Abby

The Blissful Home said...

Dear Kim--

You ARE an Artist because you are creating! I would love to see some of your pieces sometime. If you think of it, bring a few along next time you're coming to visit. I am very curious!

Have a blessed rest of your weekend.

--Abby