Crowing Ram

Monday, July 10, 2006
Recreating the wheel
After I mentioned Mercury being in retrograde recently, a particularly astrologically informed friend forwarded a bit of potential upcoming celestial prediction.
Mercury retrograde periods are notoriously well-known for communication snafus as well as difficulty and/or lapses in decision-making. Yet with Jupiter also turning direct, no time will be better for looping back to old contacts, reviewing ideas and rethinking ways of optimizing your schedule.
Now, I wasn't really aware that ol' Jupiter had been in retrograde, but since it was brought to my attention, I can honestly say that the caveat seems apt. Things have been afoot for Rob and me, and much of our renewed enthusiasm for our personal well-being is translating into renewed interest in raising the bar at ThreadBear.
Certainly, things are going well at the shop, but when we moved into the "new" space two years ago, we were moving so hard and so fast that just getting through was the only way to go. It was, in my oh-so-less-than-humble opinion, like trying to direct the course of a tsunami. There was tremendous momentum behind the business, the community here in Lansing, and the fiber industry at large, and that kind of momentum makes steering somewhat moot.
Thankfully, the ocean's still with us, and the tides seem more predictable at this point. The moon's doing her job, the dolphins are out there jumping in the surf, and if you're particularly lucky, you might even get a decent view of some hot surfers. Hey! It's my analogy; roll with it.
My point, I suppose, is that we've actually had an opportunity to take a step back and look at how the business operates. It's a lot like the house, actually. Nice and beautiful, but somewhat obviously unplanned. I'm not keen on that. So now, we regroup.
We've actually done quite a bit of talking with our good friend Rachel (some of you may recall the awesome Rambling Rows Afghan she made in Cascade Sierra several years ago) from our days in Bloomington, Indiana. Having recently gone through a few life changes of her own, she jumped on the bandwagon with us, and she'll be moving to Lansing later this month to come to work for ThreadBear. We're very excited to have her energy and psychoses here with us again. She's very organized... not to put too fine a point on it, and she'll be bringing some of that organizational skill to bear on her favorite bears. God help her.
There's also a major physical shift in the store on its way. Many of our in-person clientele have come to regard my occasional shifts in the arrangement of the stairs as the "Hogwart's Effect." Apparently, they're here one day and know where everything is and come in the next, and everything has just moved! Oddly enough, there actually is both logic and effort that goes into those transformations, and this one is intended to open up the counter area and make more traffic space in and out of the front of the store. The last major shift was just prior to the 2006 holiday season, and that got a whole lot of like with like in inventory. We got most of the wools into the back of the store, the bulk of the hand-paints into one area, cottons with cottons, and eyelashes and other novelties basically into their own little kingdom. We'll be maintaining and refining that, but we're also making room for more accessories and notions that have crowded their way into the counter area and made both shopping for those items and checking out somewhat cumbersome.
Aesthetically, we're also moving toward a more serene look for the store in general. Since we moved into the Waverly Road building, we've flown primarily by the seat of our pants with pretty much every business function happening at the front counter. Since the latest "Hogwart's Shift," our store manager, Sabrina, has had an office behind the counter, and anyone who's been in the shop knows that Rob lives at the front register. We're moving Sabrina's office away from the counter, and Rob will have a dedicated office space in the non-public area of the building. Of course, he won't be chained to his desk (yet), but with everyone else crowding in around him at the front counter while he's trying to work, I'm hoping that having a private space of his own will help him feel a bit less pressure when he's working on a deadline.
And of course, there's me. I remain a mystery even to myself. I've got my office, and I've got tons to do on the business website, but as I've also said recently I've got a book to get written. Where on God's green earth is that time supposed to come from? Rob's fond of telling me that I don't utilize my time very well. He's right, of course. And I suppose that's where my focus needs to be for a while yet: getting me organized. I'm hoping Rachel will have some advice to offer in that regard. Until then, though, wish me luck... and time. ;-) I could use lots of both.
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