The truth about shopping small.

Confession

So here`s a small little confession. We don`t always shop small. There I said it, but it doesn`t mean I don`t support it. We all know things made in big box stores are more affordable, especially when you are running on a budget. I get it, so don`t feel bad that you can`t always do it.

Big Box Stores

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There are some really awesome big box stores out there, and yes I buy from them. But the truth it, those big box stores, have millions of dollars to invest, factories they run to make their items and are able to hire hundreds of people to do their marketing, run their social media accounts, several types of advisors and the list goes on. They produce thousands of these products in their factories, therefore sourcing in bulk and by bulk, I mean boat loads, and they are able to negotiate better pricing and this allows them prices down or at least put more profit in their pockets. Its just how business works. And honestly, who doesn`t love shopping in busy stores with three kids screaming every time you stop to look at something? No sarcasm here.

The difference in small shops.

I can’t speak for other small shops but I can speak from the experience of having mine. When I started, I just thought, this is easy and I can handle it. Little did I know all the work that goes behind it for just ONE person. I am not looking for pity here, I just want you to learn what goes into each item I make. A day in my life as a small shop owner.

One day in my life as a small shop owner.

Saturday, the sun is out! Perfect, I can get some photos done. Score. Except, I have to make a few things to take photos of. I have no made stock because everything I make is made to order. Note to self to finish off some customer orders so I can catch that sunlight. I can’t take photos during the week because…

Week day ritual:

5:00 am – alarm, snooze, alarm snooze.

5:20 am – roll out of bed, realizing I have to rush because I hit that snooze to many times.

5:40 am – already running late and running out the door praying I don’t have to brush snow off my car because I am already late.

7:00 am – arrive to my day job, catch up on my work emails, make a post-it list of things that need to be done.

7:30-8:00 am – find something to post on the shop’s instagram (@shopbe.loved ) account. I have to post in this window so I can focus on the rest of my day, let my followers know I’m still kicking around.

Fast forward day job duties.

4:30 pm – catch up on instagram messages, posts, comments, likes.

5:00 pm – kids, all kids until they go to bed.

8:00 pm – hooray! last kid went to bed.

Time for shop duties. I can’t take photos because its too dark. It will have to wait until the weekend. Go through my to-do list and orders, cut and sew, catch up on customer emails and hope that I have at least a couple of items made.

9:00ish pm – Find something to post. (yes I am still here and alive)

10:30 – 11:00 pm – Bed.

REPEAT every day during the week days.

Yes this is pretty much my days. Now back to Saturday.

That To-Do list must shrink today, coffee, emails, social media, photos and make and pack orders. All within a 8-12 hr period and hope that I make it to the post office.

Sunday – spend time with my kids. Sunday night, think about what else needs to be done.

The maker chaos.

In the beginning, I had thought, I will make an item, then post it, and it will sell. Just like magic. I was so wrong. I wish it was that easy.

Besides always making decisions on fabric choices and designs, there is so much more to being a small shop owner. The marketing, the emails, the customer service, the posts, the supplies, the order packing, just every single detail. And my brain NEVER shuts down. Every single penny that I have made from the shop has been reinvested and there has been days of so much struggle that I have wanted to quit, over and over again. But I couldn’t let myself do that until I have given it more and feel ready to do so. I am a mom first, and trying to balance that life. Between my day job and the shop, I am working about 60-70 hours a week and I am exhausted. So I love small shops because they put heart into that ONE item you purchased. You have supported them, not just by buying something, its much more than that. You are supporting a dream, have contributed to help them keep moving forward. Letting them know that there is a demand for something they made. You are supporting a mom, a dad, someone that is trying to make a business to support their family or a belief or someone that is aspiring to be some kind of meaning in this world.

I support small shops because I know that some how, I am contributing to a dream. In this category, you will find some of my small shop friends and products that we love and support. I hope you will enjoy this space.

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