Monday, November 29, 2010

How Long Does Your Best Take?

Do any of really know when we are at our best? We all know those people who were everything in high school, even amazing, liked and admired by every student and praised by their teachers and coaches. I'm not really talking about them, (I like to believe they are well, but no longer amazing, if you know what I mean). I'm referring to moments in time when average people's talents and strengths shine through. When you are in the moment you don't see the best, you see the task. It is in the reflection that the best is recognized.
For weeks now customers have been asking how long it takes to decorate the shop for the holiday season. We reply within two weeks, but really? On reflection it takes a year. It's the time of year that the shop is the best reflection of its self, of me, the staff, the merchandise mix, our community, my family and that takes lots of time.
It is in reviewing past year's photos that I recognized the best of Christmas pasts at HiHo. However the tasks of the past two weeks (the physical labor) with my head down and focused I missed the best of so many. The labor of love, the passion behind my energy and excitement of sharing it with a supportive community, all exhausting, all encompassing and then in one moment it's done and it's the best.
With the Annual Open House done, Black Friday behind us and another calendar year about to begin, I believe, it's bigger, it's better, it's the best and because I am who I am, a "Mom & Pop" retailer to my core, I will believe that next year too.
For now, come out and shop, enjoy the displays, the music, the spirit of the season and reflect on the best of the season. This year's displays really took five and a half years ;)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Through the Customer's Eyes

The shop"HiHo" is nearly completely decked for the holidays. It was not without commitment, planning ,the will to work a stupid amount of hours and most importantly not without an amazing amount of supportive friends and family. Yup, each year we transform each room of HiHo into a fantasy of holiday splendor. These are just some of pictures of when it all began...Bev working overhead. Maggie and Carol decorating the upside down wall tree. Whitney and Cory completed the main room tree. Vicki, Cathy and Brianna tackled the snow trees..Here is a short video that gives you a feel for that evening.

All the merchandise is priced and sorted and ready to go before they all arrive, supposedly ;) The magic was all done in two days and three nights, the trees, the lights, props, even the furniture layouts. I still have not had a moment to take any photos and it has been two weeks since the decorating began and I continue to fine tune it, replenish it and take much pleasure in sharing the labor of love with our customer base. To my delight customers have been photographing the rooms. Their photos give me the opportunity to see HiHo though their eyes, they are very special photos. I thought I would share, this first one is of the Mad Men New Year's Party theme. The Rustic Cardinal/Bird theme holds it's own, with two snowy trees and lots of bird ornaments. We went for a traditional colors mixed with tartan plaid with our Hans Christian Anderson theme. Note the skates in the basket. Bright jewel tones and fruit ornaments are featured in our Canning and Pickling theme. Sweet Dear, a theme I love, lots of pink and flowers. Did you say Chocolate? All faux confections, but still a really yummy theme ;)Our year round Christmas room has been tidied up since these photos were taken, however still fun to see through the eyes of customers. These were all sent to me through the power of our HiHo face book page. I will do my best to take the time this week to take some photos with my camera too.
Yes on this week of thanks I'm grateful , very grateful, for family, friends and the support I continue to be blessed with , while I follow my passion. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Not Telling!

Hmm, I guess when I receive a comment on a post that asks where I am, it's time to get blogging....I've been sneaking around in Christmas HiHo ;)
I am in the shop, drawing, planning and plotting, locations for Christmas trees in each of the rooms. Themes are secured in my mind and furniture staging to make room for the trees have begun. Making space for the trees is a must or we would only be able to fit one of Charlie's trees in.
Every year my goal is to top the displays from the year before and of course top the sales from the year before. Balancing between wanting over the top displays and realistic displays customers can relate to. Another conflict is the choices made between what I like and what will sell.....and of course what products have the HiHo look. Although I am slipping some pink Christmas in this year, my favorite. No I'm not going to reveal the themes we have chosen for this years Christmas magic. However I will say this, they are somewhere between over the top and just plain sweet ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friends New & Old

Ahhh, what a weekend. The three day Columbus Day Weekend was a Hudson Valley high. Early morning frost and temps in the low 70's by the mid afternoon. A range of visitors from first timers to locals living less than a block away. The colors were out (although I do think next weekends colors will be better) and we were able to have the door open everyday.
He means HiHo!!
It's an exciting time of year the pace picks up and we also have the anticipation of the holiday sales. The dates have been picked for our annual in house/shop decorating party and our open house. Orders placed in August at the NYIGF need confirmation and tweaking, the room themes for the holidays are being put on paper, and the challenge of topping last years displays are on my mind.
Where do I look for inspiration, energy, even feed back? I'm so lucky to have peers that also own small businesses, from farmers to lawyers. Seeing their passion and commitment to succeed feeds my passion for HiHo.
I don't know what the next two months will bring, but I do know it will be an exciting ride. I will get to visit with new & old friends. It will fuel my enthusiasm for the 2011 and keep my entrepreneur heart beating and believing in my growing business. I thank you in advance for your amazing support of my dream, during this fourth quarter. Go, go, go!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Missing in Action

A whirl wind of weeks have blown by. New projects and just plain upkeep of the shop and life.
I've been working on the addition of shopping pages to our web site and I just finished my first HiHo How To Video, both challenging and rewarding. I hope you take a peek at both.
Mr. HiHo was a wonderful producer, director and camera man, I was a bumbling host. Every segment you see I did at least four times. What you see took two and a half hours in the shop and two hours at home editing. Now to figure out how to promote the HiHo YouTube Chanel? There is always work to be done ;))
We also did an installation of a Tuscany themed photo booth at a charity event....busy, busy.

I hope the elves are preparing the shop for Christmas, because I'm behind ;)!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's September?

Really school starts tomorrow, the Summer is over? I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to me, I've been moving around fall merchandise for weeks. I'm done writing orders for Christmas and we did have the opportunity to turn off the air conditioning yesterday.
Signs of the impending Fall season are everywhere, none as clear as my big yellow folder marked 'Tent Event". I've mentioned my list making before, a folder just means I have so many lists for this annual event they need to be filed.
Gearing up for the Tent Event pushes my organizational abilities to the limits. We need a lot more vintage inventory, vendors, music, drawings{I always need drawings}, tents, staff, signage, ads....well you get the picture. I'm all over the place...
We have stepped up our buying pace, frequenting auctions and using Tuesdays for road trips and picking. We are optimistic about the fourth quarter and you can't sell things unless you have things to sell, right?
Choosing vendors to spend the weekend with us, is like wanting to have a party for 24 and you only have room for 8. Who to invite? Who is available? Who has local products that complement HiHo? Who would be part of the right mix? Who should be seated next to who?
I'm happy to report, we have the loveliest eclectic group of people coming to set up their wares at the event this year. A few who join us every year and some first timers, but all are ready to put their best foot forward and shine this weekend.
Like always live music will be performed by my dear friends, Don Sparks and Mike Rice, they are so talented. I'm grateful they agreed to host the music tent both days. Musical friends from around the Hudson Valley will be joining them. Sooo, cool!
My small random sketches of possible displays under the tent are filling up my notebook fast. Seems every time I draw a vignette around a piece of furniture, I sell it and have to come up with another plan. I good problem, but it does have me wanting to hoard furniture in the office until the weekend. This is not my office but it is close ;)
The tents have been ordered for weeks. Thank goodness for a great local tent company.
Did I say staff before? Yes, my children are wonderful shop slaves ;)) bless them, and I do love the ladies that work for me. However I hired a personal assistant this past week that will start this week.....HOORAY...{I'm jumping up and down} just two days a week but I'm so excited. I will introduce her on the blog soon. Maybe she can help me at the house too ;)
Signage, still need to take care of this....maybe my assistant can help with this, hehehe.
The ads are done and gee it feels good to know they are.
To add a little more adventure to the week, the front of the building is getting a fresh coat of paint by Friday.
All and all, it does feel like September is here. I'm hoping the planning for the next thing coming up the pike doesn't have me missing out on living in the moment. I guess not, because I have great memories of this Summer. Although school starting tomorrow for the kids did sneak up on me. Hope you join us at, HiHo's Sixth Annual tent Event this Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


One of the great parts of going to the New York International Gift Fair is seeing all the items you would never own and the items you wish the shop had room for. Grand scale furniture, surprising fabrics and displays to die for. All these shots were taken at the Home Pier 94. It is against the rules to take photos on the showroom floors so good thing I found a camera loaded with pictures. Someone must have lost it after they took these pictures.............and I can't believe it showed up in my purse after I arrived home ;)) enjoy the inspiration.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Wedding Gift?

It was BEAUTIFUL day in the Hudson Valley today, Chelsea's wedding day. HiHo is only a 35 minute drive from all of her festivities. Made me think....I wonder what the Bride & Groom would be receiving as gifts?
I Googled, "top 10 wedding gifts" and was completely uninspired. Some big box store lists came up and boring mentions like framing the invite, really? Now a days it is so expensive to have a wedding, if you are invited to one you are a close friend or family member, right? You should know what the taste of the new couple is. What their hobbies and preferred pass times are, basically what makes them tick.
Some say you should be sure to give a gift that at the very least covers the cost of your dinner....eeek, glad I wasn't invited.

Some of my favorite HiHo selected gifts that I have given in the past....a vintage Pyrex mixing bowl set, a set of vintage etched wine glasses, his and hers matching knit throws and even a vintage wine rack.
Not that I am an expert in this area but I tend to believe giving something that in the years to come they will remember as a gift from you, is the way to go.
What would you give the happy couple?