Monday, June 28, 2010

A Lovely Sale

I had a lovely sale yesterday. Yes, I'm here in my shop on Sundays. I don't get a lot of customers, but I usually get a bit of work done--complete a special order or two, write my newsletter, photograph some jewelry. Yesterday was really no different, up until about 3:00. This nice young man comes in and says his girlfriend's birthday is coming up, and that she had been in my shop and saw some things she loved and had been raving about them.... All that great stuff that an artisan loves to hear!

He brought me a beautiful piece of lavender sea glass to set into a pendant for her. I was so excited at the prospect of making a $20 sale on a Sunday that I told him I'd be happy to do it on the spot, rather than putting it into my pile of special orders. He seemed pretty impressed about that, and proceeded to ask if I had any chains to go with the pendant, so he could make a complete "presentation" out of it. Well, SURE I've got some chains--another $15!--let me show you....

While I was setting the sea glass, he wandered around the store looking at other stuff. It turns out he had a "budget" amount in mind, and darned if he wasn't going to spend it all! He liked a couple of my larger, fancier neck ring pieces and asked my opinion. I tried on the one that was sort of asymmetrical so he could see how it looked on a real person, but advised him that it was really a piece intended for a night on the town, not so much a wear-with-anything. He quickly decided on the other neck ring--a fantastic green dichroic glass bead set in the center of a gold wire neck ring (pictured above). Fancy, yes, but it will look great with a party dress or a T-shirt, and he loved the fact that it would accent her green eyes.

While I was wrapping that up was when he told me he was still under budget, and grabbed another neck ring off the display by the door. Fifty strands of colored steel wire in black (one of the few things in the store that is not something I personally made, but VERY cool!) with a spoon-shaped blue, black, and silver glass pendant.

He made some excellent choices, and I told him so. All unique, attention-grabbing neck accessories that are going to get his girlfriend noticed every time she wears one. (And isn't that what great jewelry is all about?!) But I also told him that the thing she was going to find equally important was that he paid attention when she was talking about something she had seen that she liked. He was pleased. I'm quite sure SHE is going to be pleased. (And I was over the moon about the size of my lovely Sunday sale!)

I know I titled this post "a lovely sale", but I think the moral of the story should be: great jewelry, and a guy who pays attention! What more could you ask on your birthday? Right, girls?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I have the worst time texting. Partly because my phone is kind of old and doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard. So if I want to type an "s" for instance, I have to hit the 7 key four times. And I have to get my reading glasses to see the darn keyboard in the first place!

But my biggest problem is that I just cannot bring myself to use text language. I have always had an anal-retentive "eye" for grammar, and misspellings just make me crazy. Typos, too, but that's not done on purpose. I CANNOT use "u" "r" for "you are". I CANNOT use a 2 for "to" or "too". I CANNOT use a 4 for "for". I must use correct grammar. I must punctuate my sentences, and begin the next sentence with a capital letter. I CANNOT not capitalize "I" when referring to myself. So it takes forever for me to send a message. And of course the person I text most often is my 10-year-old son, who has absolutely no problem utilizing all kinds of abbreviated "spellings"!

I think encouraging text-speak in children is a really bad idea. I think they should learn how to spell and form sentences correctly before they start mangling them. Some of the things my son texts to me, I can tell it's just text-speak (and I hate it!). But some words, I'm not sure if he's spelling them wrong on purpose or if he doesn't know the correct spelling. So I get on him about it. And he says, "I know, Mom." Then I don't know if he really KNOWS, or if he's just feeding me that 10-year-old "I know, Mom" attitude!

I am quite certain that text language evolved out of laziness. And that's a shame, because I'm equally sure that it's here to stay. Except for the lone hold-out. Me. Anyone care to join me?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Later Hours

This past weekend many of the merchants of Historic Cocoa Village started staying open later on Friday and Saturday nights. For a long time, most of us have heard complaints from the locals saying they wished the stores would be open later so they could come down after work. This is a good thing, IF they have the right mindset.

My concern is this: sure, there are those people who come down to one of the restaurants for dinner, then walk the streets window-shopping. They wish the store was open. They cup their hands around their eyes and press up against the windows of the darkened store. I know this happens, because I see forehead prints and side-hand prints on my windows occasionally. And I'm not even on the main street (although I am right next to a fine-dining restaurant). So, do they really want to do some SHOPPING? Or would they just like to window-shop INDOORS with the lights on? Because window-shopping indoors with the lights on doesn't do the merchant one bit of good.
Do people take into consideration the additional labor and electricity, if nothing else, that goes into staying open 3 extra hours? I highly doubt it. So if people just come to Cocoa Village and walk around pointing and saying, "ooh, isn't that cute?" but don't BUY the cute thing, then it's having a negative impact. It is costing the store owner money. I realize it takes time to get the word out that something has changed, no matter what that something is. We're working hard to get the word out to the local community that some stores are offering later shopping hours. For me, the operative word is shopping. To some of the people who might come down, the operative word is going to be some of the stores will be open.

In a shopping district like ours, with dozens of individually owned-and-operated businesses, you're never going to get everyone on board. It stinks, but it's a fact. There are some who won't even consider staying open late. There are others who are "waiting to see what happens". There are still others who will try it once or twice and if they don't make a bunch of money, they'll say "oh, that doesn't work for me". I wish it were possible to get everyone to see that an all-out, committed, group effort is good for ALL of us, even if every visitor doesn't buy something in every store every time they visit. Just as I wish it were possible to get the visitors to see that BUYING something is beneficial to THEM because it will encourage the shops to stay open and to be open the next time the evening-shopping bug strikes.

If the shops aren't open, the public can't buy. And if the public doesn't come and buy, the shops won't stay open. Catch-22? You bet. We'll see how it goes. I'LL be open every Friday and Saturday evening until 8:00 p.m. Come on down! And bring your wallet! I won't be upset if you don't buy from me (although it would be REALLY cool if you did!), but I'll be sad if you don't buy something, somewhere.