Real Simple: Shopkeeper
I was really inspired by the January issue of Real Simple magazine because I thought their shopkeeper profiles in Meet the shopkeepers: Five women who are following their dreams ? and selling great stuff along the way was just great. Did you catch that yet?
For int'l readers and others interested, I'll recap. They featured Nancy Laboz of Parcel, Sage owner Shannon Kitchens, Diane Campbell of The Candy Store in San Francisco (I first read about her via Daily Candy, how fitting), Amy McCawley from The Livable Home, and finally the lady behind Outdoor Divas -- Kim Walker.
What encouraged me about each of these spirited ladies is that they've each built a successful business primarily around negative emotions they were feeling - frustration due to a need that wasn't being filled in their local community. Of course, other reasons cited had to do with a desire to follow a childhood passion or the urge to share something they're into with others, but again - it was all about filling a need.
Nancy wanted to do something with all the collections that she and her husband had since both love to scour flea markets and found that they ultimately needed to do something with all the great things that resulted from their hunts.
Kim was tired of shopping several stores in Vail, all with inexperienced staff, to find sporting gear so she created a customer service driven store carrying woman-specific gear.
Diane has loved candy since she was a child, selling it out of her locker at school, so her business was born out of a love of candy and a desire to share the sweetness on San Francisco's Russian Hill where she wanted to live her dream and again, fill a void.
Amy is an Interior Designer who was sick of being covered in dog hair from her 3 fur kids. When clients wanted to see her home, she felt embarrassed by the overwhelming "fur factor" and would cringe at the thought of having them over. This resulted in forming The Livable Home, a business focused solely on furniture with fabrics that are guaranteed to stand up to the demands of owning pets and having young children.
Again, see a pattern here? These ladies turned a negative situation into a positive one -- filling a gap. If you don't have access to a particular product you love, well complaining won't change that. View a void as a call to action - if you see something is missing, step up and change it, right? Being innovative isn't about copying the idea of someone else and then just rolling it out with your name on it, it's about finding a need, filling a void, and actively seeking to fill that need through your business. That's how decor8 came about. And if you own a business, you may think of your roots and see the same beginnings - you built your product based on what you weren't seeing - but desired to see.
Whether that's a storefront, a website, a blog, Etsy, DaWanda, Ebay, Trunkt, etc. there's really no excuse to not listen to your voice nowadays with so many platforms that exist where you can get started. If you're frustrated by lack, rise to the challenge and turn that lack (negative) into a business (positive).
No summer indie market in your city like Renegade or Felt Club, well look into starting your own. Can't find a blog that targets your passion (floral design, gocco printing, etc.), then do some research and start your own. Freak at the thought of attending yet another craft fair only to see mostly booths packed with jewelry and handbag designers when you want to find some good vintage stuff? Talk to the market owner about renting a space and sell vintage finds yourself.
What frustrates you? Can you do something about it? Find a need, fill the gap. It's really that simple.
(image taken by holly becker for decor8)