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 ;)