Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Carving Out a Nook For Yourself

As a self proclaimed work alcoholic and decor crazed enthusiast it was nice to be reminded to make space for myself. Recently I was gifted the most visually beautiful book Hers by Jacqueline deMontravel. Hers published in December of 2011 and offers hundreds of stylish ways for creating your own private retreat. (I'm not sure how this book snuck by me, it has endless decor inspirations.)
With hundreds of amazing photographs to choose favorite ideas from you’ll be motivated to start remixing, organizing and carving out a nook for yourself in know time.
The time has come to create an enchanted place, a private retreat for myself. This is a must have book...motivation, ideas, inspiration and it's all about you. What more could you want? Maybe a little space of your own ;)) Enjoy.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Mid-Winter Night's Dream

Being able to lose myself in the creative process of bringing my imagined environments to life at HiHo is what continues to fuel my love for the business. This particular idea started from the thought process of wanting to use old music sheets in layers of creams.

Lilac branches from the yard, a lot of glue gun magic and the memory of my eighth grade class production of Midsummer Night's Dream all "played" a part in the Christmas display results shown in this video. Enjoy and remember to shop local.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

the phone call

I answered the phone about three weeks before the Cupcake Festival and my voice went up three octaves, I had won!

It all started on a Tuesday, the day I had planned to attend the New York International Gift Show and the forecast was claiming a "northeaster" was going to roll in by two o'clock in the afternoon. Time to change my plans. Over my morning cup of Hot Chocolate I realized the deadline for entering Country Business Magazine's Retailer of the Year was at midnight. Now mind you I had sworn off entering after two years of no response from the magazine and the huge time commitment of applying. But maybe this was a sign I should attempt one last time.

As the day grew dark with a threatening sky and the winds picked up, I remained in my PJ's. The task of fully answering the questions by the magazine were as hard, if not harder than I remembered. (Must be why I refer to my previous application as my HiHo thesis) I wrote past lunch, took a break for dinner and Mr. HiHo did a proof read after 9 PM.I answered questions like "how do you make decisions about buying for your store?" and " what type of promotions do you do?" I know, open ended questions that need specific examples to back them up. I kept saying to the family"I'm never doing this again". Well long story short I made the deadline and moved on with my life.

The very cold Spring arrived and meetings and plans for the towns annual Cupcake Festival had me busy. The kids had rehearsals, concerts, shows and Mr. HiHo had projects in motion, life is always full. HiHo was holding it's own while I plotted cupcake themed displays and window props, business as usual.
A small group of us would meet every Weds. morning early to hash out and discus the count down to the event. On this particular morning the bank called my cell phone, ut oh. A customers large check had bounced and my account was in jeopardy, not good. I jumped up, ran to the bank and covered the check made a phone call and straightened things out. I went back to the meeting. Needless to say not a great morning. The morning continued to have "pop ups" and I guess you could say I was having a bad day. I was finally settling into the afternoon and putting the morning behind me and the phone rang."Heidi, this is Susan Wagner of Country Business Magazine" I was thinking OK ,we had discussed the possibility of writing an article for them, hmmm."yes?" "I have good news our judges have voted you our 2011 Retailer of the Year"

The rest is a bit of a blur, because I couldn't stop repeating "OMG I can't believe it" I awkwardly got off the phone and finished up with a customer before phoning Mr. HiHo.

I phoned home told him the news ran through some of the winnings and paused "can you believe this morning I couldn't cover the accounts and this afternoon I'm retailer of the year?" and with out a moment of hesitation my hero said "that's why your retailer of the year, you are up for the ride"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Climbing Out Of April

Lets be truthful here, April is the hardest retail month of the year for us at HiHo. I'm not sure if it is in actual numbers made, but my expectations are always high and disappointment looms. I get all geared up for the end of the winter blues and think the world will be ready to come shopping again. I order merchandise I'm eager to receive and often told it will be available in May. Customers who do visit are thrilled with the addition of even a few bright color pallets and refreshed displays, but just for looking. It's a tough month, I've never been good at waiting.

People/customers ask all the time "how's business?" Hey it's 2011 and I'm open, right? Sure I want to be busier, grow the business more rapidly, hire more help, give back to the community in bigger ways, but again it's 2011 and we are very happy to be on the mountain and cautiously climbing.

For a while there, the first two years, it felt like we were climbing with ease. We were secure in our footing and could anticipate each move. Well then we like millions of others hankered down hoping the storm would pass. I'm not sure if it has passed or if we are just braver. We are out climbing again, taking risks and feeling more secure about our journey toward the top of the mountain.

The path of a small retailer is both challenging and rewarding. I'm lucky enough to be in a small town that supports my dream. I had the pleasure of receiving a generous complement this week from a fellow entrepreneur, she said to me "it's what you do for the Main Street community, HiHo is part of the very energy that fuels the town." WOW, right? What a wonderful thing to hear while I'm in the middle of my April waiting.
I know other small businesses around the United States are working hard like we are and I feel it's important to recognise that holding on isn't enough, plan your next move, you have a community behind you. Yes, hold on tight, but climb!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Blog Hat

Like so many woman I know, I wear a number of hats and seem to constantly be putting on new ones. I have hats I wear everyday, like my "mom hat", the "wife hat", "shop owner hat", you get my gist and they fit really well. Seasonal hats are always overwhelming but fun and volunteer hats come and go. I even have been wearing a hat I hate lately, the one of a very concerned friend. However my newest hat might surprise you. I call it my "Rock&Roll Mom hat", it's a big one I didn't pick out. I'm still figuring out what it goes with. {My middle child, my daughter, Aubrey has been spreading her wings and singing with a band.}

I'm aware I haven't been wearing my "blog hat" nearly enough. I have so much to share about the shop, our small town and the family, that it has made it even harder to put it on. So much to write so little time. I will say my "fun friend hat" has gotten a work out too, new friends, time to nurture old friendships and just developing stronger ties. I'm really loving this hat right now.
The holiday season was wonderful at HiHo and at home. January brought an adventure to the AmericasMart Atlanta and the birth of yet another new venture. February has slipped through my figures as I prepare for the Spring changes on our sales floor and the end of another school year. I have tons to share and I promise to put my "blog hat" on more often.

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.