Their first reactions are usually worry and sadness.
"Why? What's wrong?" When I let them know I'm o.k., then they immediately say, "Oh no, where am I going to get your soaps, and smell them, and touch them?" ... "I can't go back, Joanna! It's all I use now....."
I love my customers. Apparently, they've gotten hooked on handmade soaps and smelling-before-buying. So I am gathering all of my local customers' names and email addresses and will contact them if I start going to a regular farmer's market or find a monthly location where I can display my soaps.
Today, one of my regular monthly customers came in and chatted me up with political conversation, thoughts on living in other countries, and ideas of a better life before we moved onto a soap chat. He always comes in alone after his shift at the hospital, buys 5 or 6 bars of different soap, talks about the world, his wife and grown up children, and jokes that being physically dirty is the reason he stopped in.
I have really loved my time at the shop for so many reasons, but in this post I want to thank all of the customers that came in because they were curious, dared to try one of my products or soaps, and came back. I loved meeting you. I loved talking to you. I wasn't pretending, except for the crazy guy with the hands like shovels that wouldn't leave the shop.
c r e e p y d u d e.
We are down to our last few days. Today was busy for me with organizing equipment and doing inventory. It wasn't a wildly busy retail day, but I told the customers about the shop and sure enough they scooped up a variety of soaps, fearing they wouldn't be able to smell them for awhile. "Can't live without these, Joanna....." Very sweet story: A 17 year old guy from the fishing shop two doors down came in for his mom "just because she was at home all day doing laundry and stuff and she'd probably like this stuff". Could there be a nicer kid? Dropped over $30 of his own money because he thought his mom was working hard at home. I can only hope my son stops to think like that when he's that age.
My heart has been doing the involuntary tightening twist these days and it's not been easy. The decision was a hard one and it was really sad at first, then brutal and heartbreaking, then it moved towards being realistic and reasonable and now I feel like it is absolutely the right decision and that it will really help me hone in on what I need to focus on with the business and life in general -- for now. The experience was incredible and I'd do it all over again. I have been wearing many hats for many years, but this balancing act was by far the most fun to "endure". Every day was a joy. I looked forward to getting to the shop every single day. There wasn't a day that I stared at the clock so I could go home.
I need to thank every single one of you who walked into the shop over the last fourteen months and changed my life. You know who you are. So.. as part of growth, both personally and professionally, I will hone in, focus, work harder than ever and make magic. This is what I need to do. But I do have you all to thank. You have touched me.
One more week in the shop. I will continue to keep you updated as we go, of course. Shop hours next week will be:
Monday through Friday: Noon - 6 pm for sure.
Saturday and Sunday we will be moving and cleaning (I think). If we can swing being open on Saturday we will be, but I just don't know...