Want to Be a Shop Owner?

I once heard someone who'd been in retail a very long time say, "Everyone wants to own a boutique, no one wants to work boutique hours."  I have to say, she's not far off.  

I grew up watching my mom run a corner boutique in our small town of Atlanta, Texas.  I believe it was open for 12 years...it all runs together honestly. During that time, my mother worked incredibly hard being an independent business owner, boss, buyer, accountant, you name it.  I remember long hours of unloading shipments, redoing displays, and counting cash drawers. Back then, I knew she worked hard and I appreciated her success, but as a kid, I just honestly wanted "mom".  She missed my tennis tournaments, was dead tired at the end of the day,  and weekends were not family time because the shop was open.

That part of "boutique life" is why the woman I mentioned earlier was accurate. Shop owner? "YES, please!" says almost every woman. Clothes at wholesale prices? Buying trips?  Customer fun? It sounds great.

And it is....it really can be a whole lot of fun. But underneath the "wholesale clothes" aspect there's a ton of work that is unglamorous and not fun (which, by the way, I never.....hardly ever...take clothes off the sales floor for myself. As a shop owner, you want your customers to have plentiful selection, so taking a size off the rack that someone else might need?  Nope.) 

I knew these pitfalls of shop owner life going into this venture. If I ever I opened a shop, it would not take over my life. I wouldn't let it. I told my husband, sweet man, that if Atticus couldn't make enough to support hiring great staff to help me run the business, so I don't miss out on family life, then I would not keep Atticus going.  That was my line in the sand.  It had to be that way. And so far, it has.

I'll say this. You want to be a shop owner? You are seriously dreaming about it?  Then spend some time talking to owners of businesses you admire and ask for their time. Ask them about their life, their routines, their non-negotiables, their work hours. Ask them about holiday season (yep, that's a different scenario of retail). Ask them about any regrets or wishes.  Dig deep so that you know as much as possible about all the highs and lows of shop ownership....because 50% of small businesses close within 5 years. Yep.  That's truth.

Small business ownership has been a wonderful experience for me. Being my own boss and getting to be creative everyday has been refreshing. But I will say, I'm firm on my non-negotiables.  I made my list and checked it twice....a personal life while also having a shop life. It can be done. It has to be done.

Do your homework before you venture out, so that you aren't one of the 50% that close due to a myriad of reasons....one of which is burn out and over-work. And if your list checks out, then go for it. You just might find yourself in your dream job!