I am SOOOO happy to have my blog back! I have missed you all this week and actually had some things I wanted to share as well as a Thrift Score Thursday post, but alas, the internet hackers of the world had other plans for me. Anyhow, you guys, this weekend marks a very exciting time for me and Sarah at Sweet Clover. We are hosting Sweet Clover’s Fresh Start 2016 Sale this weekend, Friday through Sunday and will be open from 10-5 each day. I want to share with you some photos from around the shop, but also tell you why this is our “Fresh Start.”
Now and then on this little blog of mine I have mentioned that this last year was challenging in many ways, but mostly it was an excellent opportunity for personal growth. And I am grateful for every chance I had to learn along with Sarah, to strengthen our partnership, and evolve into bossladies.
I would say that everything we went through started last Spring; we started to feel negativity from some of our vendors. We have a facebook group we use to communicate, and let’s just say there were several passive aggressive posts and comments made that were fully intended to stir the proverbial pot. We had a big store meeting and tried to work through any issues and work together as a team, but it became clear that unless we were doing things the way some of these vendors wanted, they weren’t going to be happy.
We called meetings with individual vendors as well… and one vendor in particular told me that she didn’t feel her customer was coming in, and told me, “No offense, but you are not who I want shopping in my space.” I was ridiculed for having “midcentury” style… If you’ve looked at my home tour, you know I love to blend one or two pieces of midcentury in my home, but my overall style is far from midcentury.
The cottage in January, styled by Leilouta
Shortly after these meetings, 6 vendors gave their notice and all let us know that they would be leaving after our November Sale. What hurt was the orchestrated way it all happened, and that some of them I considered to be friends. I was a good friend to some in particular, when they didn’t seem to have many friends. When other vendors would speak negatively of them, I always defended them. I felt sucker-punched. Sarah and I were both hurt, but we knew that dwelling on it would do no good.
After putting on our big girl pants, we got to work! Fortunately over the time we’ve been open, we’ve connected with many other businesses and we had a great wait list on our hands. We set up interviews and for a good couple of weeks we had meetings and interviews almost daily. We had no trouble filling up our spaces with great new vendors… the trouble we have had is that we have a few more we love and want to squeeze in, but there is no room at the inn!
Buffet styled by The Mill at Keymar
We set up meetings with all of our existing vendors, and we let them all know that we had 6 vendors leaving. Honesty is always best, and we wanted to make sure they were aware of the changes happening, so that they were not blindsided or scared. Plans were in place to fill those spaces, and we wanted to make sure they knew. Additionally, all of the vendors leaving had downstairs spaces, so this all turned into a fantastic opportunity for our upstairs vendors to move downstairs.
The only downside of them moving downstairs was that the old vendors had until November 30th to move out…. and our December sale came early starting on the 4th. So our remaining vendors had just a few days to make all of these moves, clean their old spaces for new vendors, and set up a new space. And our new vendors had just a few days to get themselves all set up as well.
Awesome industrial piece from Vintage Mid Century Frederick
And I am thrilled to say that everyone worked together beautifully, as a team, to make it all happen. Sarah and I brought our husbands along, we hired some man power, and we got it all done!
Mint bentwoods at Sweet Clover
So heading into a new year, and with all of these changes, we needed our fresh start. We made some other changes… our stairs have been refinished and I can’t wait to show them off soon (the finishing touches were going on today!). We’ve moved our cash wrap for a new flow and layout, and we’ve implemented some new systems at checkout to make it a better experience for vendors and customers.
With all of these changes, we were presented with the opportunity to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony as members of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce. We never did one when we originally opened, and we had so many wonderful changes to celebrate! So tomorrow at 10 am we will hold our ribbon cutting and we will celebrate all that we have been through to get to where we are, and all that we have to look forward to as we continue to grow! If you are local we would love to have you join us, and to entice you we will have coffee and donuts (aside from so many amazing vintage finds, of course!)
2015 was challenging, but we came out of it stronger and have learned so much and I wanted to share to encourage you.
- Lean on those who love and support you. My family is always there for me, through thick and thin. My kids cheered me on as all of this was going on and they knew it was difficult. The best moment this Fall was Emmy taking me by the hand to show me a beautiful sunset. She said, “I wanted to show you because it was so bright and beautiful and stood out to me, and you stand out to me just like that sunset because you are bright and beautiful and colorful and happy.” I knew I could be the woman she thought I was.
- Be strong, be fearless, be confident. And if you aren’t those things, fake it ’til you make it! We second guessed ourselves when we would be questioned, and that only made us weaker and more easily hurt.
- A great partnership in business is a rare thing. If you have one, nurture it and appreciate it. When times were tough, Sarah and I made it through by keeping each other smiling, and carrying on laughing at our own witty banter. (At least we think it’s witty!)
- Always have a plan B. We had a wait list and that helped us when we faced what could have otherwise been a half empty Sweet Clover!
- Whenever in doubt, remember why you started your business in the first place and stick to your guns. Evolving and changing are part of the process, but make sure to grow in the direction of your choice. Stick to your guns!
- Finally, have FUN! There was certainly time this summer when Sarah and I both knew in our guts that Sweet Clover was not fun anymore and no longer our happy place. I felt at a loss creatively because of it. We’ve made all of these changes with the help and support of our amazing team so that we could once again love what we do, and I am happy to report that Sweet Clover has once again become our place to work, laugh, dream, and keep on going!And just because it’s pretty, here’s one of the horses at Sweet Clover.
We are looking forward to a fabulous weekend, but more importantly an exciting and joy-filled year ahead! I want to thank you all for reading, supporting, and dreaming with me. Cheers to 2016!