2014 will go down as a year fully saturated in shopping opportunities, early sale campaigns, and deep discounts. No one is being stingy this year.
My inbox began filling up on Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, with full-on explosion by Thursday afternoon. Sadly, I’ve learned that no holiday is sacred. No day or hour is too early to incite mania.
When I couldn’t get MR PORTER to load properly, I called time-out; didn’t approach the site again until 24 hours had passed.
In instances like this, it’s clear that all retailers, small and large, have no choice but to follow suit. Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday. Suddenly, it is the standard expectation, rather than the exception.
If nothing else over the long, lazy weekend, I wanted to promote my friends and local business owners who are fixtures in the community, year-round. So Saturday, which should have been as busy or busier than the day before, though it wasn’t, I split about four hours between Jux-ta-pose Apparel & Studio and The Pink Petticoat in Hyde Park Village. Theoretically, I was to advise, suggest, and just generally greet and meet patrons and shoppers.
Kallie and Lindsay Wesley of Jux-ta-pose brought in Jane Kalpakis of Love, Nina Jane jewelry for a trunk show. She makes natural pearl baubles on leather cords, sometimes with vintage bronze medallions from France affixed.
Lesley Geyer tapped Olfaction, a locally-produced soy candle brand, to set up temporary display.
Minus my own pop-up shop, this was the most time I’d ever spent manning a retail operation. As an introvert and general overthinker, it was exhausting. Chatting, helping, asking questions of weary, aloof shoppers. Or ones that needed lots of help, which makes it harder to multitask with other customers.
There’s a clear ebb-and-flow to retail, no matter where you work. Some days all you sell are $5.00 birthday cards. Other days, someone walks out with a $350 lamp.
Local owners in local shops, especially, become part of the community. They are consistent figures, like the mailman and police officer, and they have loyal clientele.
Lesley Geyer and the Wesley sisters all seem very relaxed, but upon closer inspection, have considered nearly every detail, and labored over decisions about decor, design, product mix, and ways to consistently improve.
They also carry merchandise that can compete with the behemoths we all know.
You see, it’s great if you support local one out of the 352 days in a year, but it’s even better if you adopt a philosophy of local. The deals won’t be as fantastic, and the service won’t always feel as polished, but it’s real. Retail with texture and life. Retail whose profits stay local, and go to support restaurants, other local stores, and real estate. Neighborhoods.
It’s all related, and it’s all cyclical. You have a say, vote with your dollars!
For a guide to Tampa shopping local + luxury, click here.