piper’s dream report: week fourteen

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Hi everyone!  Thanks for all your support and congrats – it’s really exciting to be at this point – I still can’t believe I’m only 10 weeks or so away from my dream of having a store!!  Are ya kidding me – is this really happening?!  I feel like I need to pinch myself just to make sure it’s really happening.  On one hand, it feels like it’s taking forever to get here…on the other, I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough time to get everything done!!

As I said last week, once I sent over the down payment to the web designer, it became real for me.  No turning back now – and that has been exciting, terrifying, and overwhelming all at the same time.  I’m actually this close to doing something I’ve talked about for years and years!  So to get through the next few weeks, I’m really trying to take it day by day and not allow myself to get too hung up on things.  I’m really trying to take what Jess said to heart…it’s only through trial and error that I can learn and grow.  I do have to say this is much easier said than done – I have to keep fighting against my perfectionist side (man, she is strong!!) and keep fighting the ups & downs with my confidence.  Because anyway you look at it – this is still a risk.  It may be my dream, but it’s also a risk and no matter how much research I do, at some point it comes time to either do it or not.  I keep saying to myself “what’s the worst that can happen?”  Apparently I should not be asking myself this – I can come up with a lot of good answers!  So it’s back to – just keep working and hoping that hard work pays off in the end!

Since some of you asked (thanks!), I thought I’d share with you what my to-do list looks like for the next few weeks as well as what my days are like right now.  Kind of an inside peek at what I’m doing (or sometimes not doing if I’m procrastinating!). I took a moment last week to prioritize my list and really look at what needs to be accomplished in the next few weeks.  I thought I’d share them with you – we can “countdown” together!!

Remember how I was a bit concerned about the outlay of money to hire a web designer?  Well, I think it’s already proving itself worthy of investment.  I’m working with Aeolidia and they have a wonderful system where you can log in and see everything that’s going on with your web design.  It shows me my to-do list, tells me when those tasks need to be completed, shows the tasks that the web designer needs to accomplish and shows me a calendar of when things will be done on the web site.  I have to say it’s pure bliss to have all that thought out for me…definitely worth it!!

(image via modernemotive)

Of course, now it’s crunch time having to work on my web design to-do list for them.  Up first?  Some biggies.  I need to give them my design preferences (and also my Cartkeeper preferences) by August 23rd (yikes!).  The good news is that I’ve been compiling a lot of information in prep for this.  I have a giant list of websites that I like the look of – think bright, clean, modern & stylish.  And yep you guessed it, the perfectionist in me keeps wanting to add to this list.  I have too so many ideas for how the website should look, but now I’m at the point where I have to decide…deep breath (it can be changed if I don’t like it, right?)  This is where some of the branding comes in – the hardest part and something I’m learning will have to grow as the store grows.  (Is this me talking??  Not having something perfect out the gate?!)  I mean, it would be great to have the store perfectly branded from the get-go…but I also think there’s something charming about having a small store.  I’m not a big chain – that’s part of my “secret sauce” and so the fact that it’s not perfectly designed and packaged gives it a certain charm (at least this is the thought I’m clinging to right now!).  I know that’s what draws me to small stores & boutiques.  I have my ideas for “branding” but they are by far not solidified, they’re not perfect – and most likely they’ll grow as I learn what my customers want & like.

I also have a slew of ideas for the actual store website – this is where I’m going to have to be okay with waiting on some of these ideas (let me tell you, not easy for someone who’s impatient!!). It’s just that some of them are too expensive to create right now (making the website interactive for one thing) so hopefully it’s something I can add to the site in the future.  But some will be an important part of the store – something fun that I’m keeping close to my chest right now – a way to make my online store feel welcoming (I gotta have a teaser, right?!)  I’ll let you know more about it closer to the opening…suffice to say, it’s taking a lot of my time and energy right now, so fingers crossed that it will work!

(images via Bison)

During this time, I’ve also been contacting artists, designers & companies whose product I would like to have for my store.  This part has been exciting, seeing the possibilities come together!  However, I also have to narrow down the artists and that’s proving more difficult than I expected.  Without fully knowing my customer, it’s difficult to decide which art print, for example, would be better to carry.  I’m also finding out that some artists who I knew 100% I would love to carry have too high of a minimum order for me or don’t offer wholesale to online stores.  Bummer, right?  You should see me as I anxiously await getting responses back!  And yes, it’s hard trying to get all of this stuff done while I’m working full time.  The good news is that I can do a lot of this from work.  I’m lucky in a sense that my day job is really only a part time job  (yet they have me here full time…hmm, wonder why I hate working for a corporation so much?!)  So I do have some time during the day to get things done on my store.  Unfortunately this involves a lot of hiding what I’m doing – not very conducive to creative, productive work on the store!  And I’m not even doing a great job of hiding – I’m telling you, my boss needs to wear a bell so I can hear her when she approaches!  (If you saw my tweet the other day, my boss actually mentioned my internet usage to me – oops!  Luckily for me, not much is done about these things at my job.)  So, I do what I can at work (I’m blocked from accessing a lot of websites like email – urgh!) and then come home and work for about 3-4 hours a night as well as the weekends.  It’s not easy – I’m tired A LOT, the house is a mess, and I miss my family (okay, they’re still there…but ½ the time I’m zombified on the computer…not really quality time!)  But I’m hoping in the end it’ll pay off!

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  1. Piper I so enjoyed reading this post and learning more about you, your dream and the progress on the store. It is all so exciting and let me just say that all of what you feel is totally appropriate. The perfectionist side, the impatience and all the worry is part of the ingredients for what will make a perfect dish in the end. I think you are so on track, and it sounds like you have hooked up with some great people. The web designers seem great and I can’t wait to see the final result of all your hard work.

    Where are you based? I can’t believe I haven’t asked this before.. or did you tell me in your email? Help?

    Anyway, I hope you share along the way. This is so exciting Piper!

    x Charlotta

  2. Anna

    Piper, I am glad to hear you are moving forward with your dream. I can’t wait until your store opens.

  3. I’ve loved reading your dream report in the past few months. You are so honest, and that is what keeps me coming back.

    Purely from a consumer standpoint I would say that, while it is important to put a lot of thought into your website in the beginning, it isn’t something that is permanent. There is always room to evolve, grow, and transform as your business does (which is the amazing thing about owning your own business). That being said, when I first started my blog (which, admittedly is NOT the same things as a business) somebody gave me the advice to pick a design/layout and stick with it for the “childhood” of my blog. That way it give readers the sense that it is more familiar. I think that when we’re creating our own space, we always want to make it ‘just a little bit’ better but sometimes it can confuse the buyer (or reader).

    But, from the design and layout of your blog, I’m sure you’re website will be beautiful and user friendly!

  4. So glad to hear that things are progressing. I hear ya on the day-job issue, so just know that you’re not alone! And while it’s a bummer that some of your fave artists won’t do the wholesale for online shops, it sounds like you have enough in mind that they won’t be missed. And maybe in the future they’ll change their tune.

    Sounds like you’ve done a lot of good work already! And I love your attitude that it doesn’t have to be perfect from the get-go. As long as you feel good about it, more elements or branding signatures can always be added later.

  5. Congrats on moving forward with your design! I agree, all you can do is dive in head first and just keep swimming! Good luck with everything!

  6. Emma Jo

    Hi Piper!

    I see you’re keeping your promise not to ask for advise 😉 how does it feel?

    I’m laying on my bed and I can’t sleep because we have a “lovely” event outside my bedroom window called “the medieval times week” and let me tell you how much I despise bagpipes right now…they’ve been playing nonstop for several hours.

    that aside, I really enjoyed this post because it’s sooo nice to see your progress! You’re actually DOING it 😀 You should be so proud of yourself!

  7. Yay Piper! I’m so glad you’re working with Aeolidia. They are super great– I’ve worked on a couple of projects with them as an illustrator/designer. Really professional and easy to work with AND all their stuff looks great! So excited to see your shop!
    “…will have to grow as the store grows”– I keep trying to remind myself the same thing. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect right now. Moving forward is the important thing. Something you’re clearly doing!

  8. Jenny

    So exciting Piper! I can’t wait to see the store! Sounds like you are working so hard and I just know it will be a huge success! Oh, and I totally saw that tweet about your internet usage – LOL!

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