Friday, January 22, 2010

Emotional Shop Closing

Is has been a very emotional couple of weeks for me since our decision to close the store. Almost everyone that has come into the shop is a repeat customer and, while they are shopping, I've mentioned that we are closing the shop at the end of next week.

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...

Thank you.


love, Joanna


Soapylove said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you are closing your shop. I was always envious when I saw pics of you in front of your store, but I guess it's not as glamorous as it looks! :(

I loved your story about the teenager who bought some "stuff" for his mom. That is incredibly sweet.

I'm glad to read that you have come to grips with this decision and are sure it's the right one. I wish you the best in your business and hope to see you at HSMG! :)

Amber said...

Beautifully written Jo. I'm thinking of you. ♥

Kara said...

Hi Joanna,

I'm so sorry to hear about you closing your shop. I know how hard you worked on it! I wish I could have made it down to Florida to see it! I know how many people love your products though (i.e. me!) and I know that your online business will still do fabulously. It still makes me so excited to see that you've been selling honey baby sugar pie and to think that started with my wedding soap! I've pretty much run out of everything of yours so I'll have to make a purchase soon! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your wonderful products and that everyone is rooting for you!
Kara said...

Joanna, it is admirable that you took that first step and opened a store! The fact that you were there 14 months is ASTOUNDING!

Every day, I am lucky to talk to people in this business whose dream is to do just what you did. Many of them give up far before they reach that point.

You had a dream, you stood on your very tippy toes to pluck it out of the sky, bring it down to earth and make it a reality. There is no shame in that. How do we ever know what we can accomplish or manage if we don't first try it?

Every end is a new beginning. You have a lot of talent and a lot of moxie! Now you will be able to focus on the things that positively affect your bottom line, and that...that is what good business is all about!

Mary said...

Joanna, my heart is with you.

I wonder from time to time what it would be like if I had to give my business up. It would be difficult.

I realize you are moving forward, continuing your business. Still, the chage has to be tough.

New doors are ahead. I feel they will open and the sadness you feel today will turn to joy!

dcyrill said...

Know that we only learn by doing. That is how we gain experience. You post continues to remind me that we have to try whatever comes into our hearts and minds. And if it doesn't work out, it is ok. We come out better for it. I can only imagine that this was a hard decision. Your business, personality and down to earth demeanor have always been an ... See Moreinspiration to me since the first day I read your blog. Keep doing what you are doing and you will continue to prosper in all aspects of your life and business. Hugs & Kisses - Diana

FuturePrimitive said...

bless you Jo Jo. I wish you every success and happiness.

Lori Stoia said...

Sorry to hear that you had to close your store. These are tough times.

Once you gather emails from your loyal customers may be you can sell on etsy or like you said at the farmer's market.

Wish the best!

Carmen Rose said...

Sorry for your loss my dear, I also closed a shop and felt the weight of a chapter of my life coming to an end. Tomorrow is another day filled with possibilities. You'll feel the grief, but you will be fine.
With love,

Anonymous said...

I know I'd sent my love and hugs and thoughts for you when you first announced the closing, but who knows what happened to the comment, so I'll re-send my love, hugs, and thoughts. I'm happy for you, though, that you've developed such a dedicated clientele in a short time.

sarah said...

I, too just had to close my store. Leaving the die hard customers was definitely the hardest. The emotional mess I was has been taken over by a very realistic me. I wish you the best, knowing how it feels to make the decision. These are hard times..
Sarah VonFrank

Julie @ Latherati Soap Foundry said...

Joanna, So sad you have to close up shop. I've been reading your blog for awhile now (and just started following you!).

Good luck with your future endeavors. Wishing you all the best.

Latherati Soap Foundry

Kim said...

I'm sad that I could never visit your beautiful shop in person, but I am happy for you and hopeful for your future. You make the most wonderful product ever, so you are bound for greatness in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, you are an amazing person, artisan and friend. You have so much love and admiration following you in these comments. I am all welled up with emotion by the support and love you are receiving. You did an amazing job, you are a simply amazing woman. Good luck in your next step. Love, Deedeelicious

O Bella Naturals said...

I'm so glad for you that you were able to make your dream a reality and open a shop and I know more good things are in store for you and your soaps! I'm glad I stumbled upon your shop that day in little old Jupiter! :) Your shop was definitely a one of a kind local shop in all the time I've lived in Jupiter (25 years!) and I will miss it! Hoping to see you at a market sometime. Thanks for all your encouragement and chatting!


Kathy@Beguile said...

Jo you've done what what so many of us dream of doing, and that speaks volumes for your dedication to your wonderful products, your obvious high level of customer service, and for your own personal courage and strength. Now you and your business are moving on to a new chapter again, and able to take with you all that your retail experience has given you - well done! Your physical customers will go 'online' with you I'm sure :)


Anne-Marie said...

I am so sorry to read about your heartbreak and the shop closing. I know that you put a lot into the shop and grew so much as a businessperson in the process. Knowing when to stop is a sign of a confident, mature businessperson so big kudos to you for that. And, also a big hug. I know this isn't an easy time for you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kat said...

I'm sad to see you close your shop but excited to see what you do next. You are great!


my word verification is crudsect. indeed...

Anonymous said...

Sad to see your shop closing but you have some awesome work benches and cupboards. We all become richer from our experiences in life. Take care. Hugs xoxoxo