This has been a tough week.
Not only did I begin to tackle the enormous task of shelving, alphabetizing, and pricing the books this week, I also (1) set up an appointment to have the Books by Design sign installed, (2) went through the paperwork with the City of Villa Rica to get said sign approved, (3) threw said paperwork away because they failed to tell me that window signs do not require approval, (4) hung up my beautiful new mailbox, (5) added over two hundred children’s books to the inventory, and (6) bought a cash register for an incredible bargain this weekend–all the while not having internet from sometime Monday afternoon until Friday at about 4pm (hence the lack of blogs this week). I thought about trying to fly while I was at it, but I think I’ll leave that for Superman.
Despite the up-close and personal time I spent with all the books this week and the fact that I haven’t worn anything other than cotton shorts, Shell gasoline t-shirts, and baseball hats, I think I finally started to feel like a businesswoman this week. I’ve been prepping myself for this transition in my life for a while now… from the very beginning of this process, since the very first day I decided to start Books by Design, I stuck a post-it note on my desk that said, “I will learn to be more ASSERTIVE.” I’ve been learning to negotiate, delegate, bargain, and organize. But it wasn’t until this week, when I really had to defend some of the decisions I’ve made in the face of some pretty harsh criticism and adversity that I truly felt like a proverbial briefcase toting, small business owner.
I’d like to go on record saying that I know I haven’t been flawless in this whole business-building process. I’ve flubbed up some small things… like I probably didn’t buy a high enough quality paint (thought it was low-VOC!), and maybe it was or it wasn’t the right decision to wait until July 1st to starting telling everyone about Books by Design in the first place. You can probably question some of the larger decisions, too–did I choose a visible enough location? Are we on the right side of the railroad tracks? Is there enough square footage in the store to display the books? Do we really want to call it Books by Design? But y’all know what… I weighed and wondered and prayed over all of those issues, did cost-benefit analyses, pros and cons columns, the whole nine yards, and I made the best decisions I could possibly make. And I am very proud of that. I am proud of the fact that I’ve listened to wise counsel, but ultimately made my own decisions. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of my lease, when I’m deciding whatever the next step from Tiffany Ward and Books by Design will be, it will again fall on my shoulders. I will be the one responsible for the ultimate success or failure of Books by Design, so I might as well take ownership of it now. I refuse to go against my gut, do something someone else’s way and deal with failure, only wonder if I could’ve made it work if I would’ve listened to my instincts… if only I had been more assertive.
So yeah… today I’m changing my title to officially read: Tiffany Ward, Small Business Owner.
In other news, I want to share some before and after pictures of the Books by Design shop. We’re obviously not too far along in these pictures yet, but here’s a sneaky, sneak peek!
I love the old brick and the sweet tin roof. And I even love that the shop is kind of tiny… I think it adds to it’s charm. Two changes needed to update this picture: remove the “For Rent” sign and add a cute, new mailbox!
Welcome to Books by Design!
Notice that the space is divided into two room by a partition wall, door, and interior window. The back room (see below) will be my design consultation space, tutoring center, and book storage area. At first, I was worried about the interior window, as I’ve never dealt with one of those before, but now I’m excited about the challenge.
I decided to leave the consultation space the existing color for financial, time & energy, and resourceful reasons, but the true shop space needed some pizzazz. I love this color, St. Croix. It very interactive with light, and depending on the time of day, it looks turquoise, teal, and even a little bit grey.
It’s my store, and they won’t let me paint. Imagine this: they said I was too slow. Haters. I replied, “Speed is a detriment to skill and accuracy.” I mean they never gave out awards on Honors Day for being the first to turn in your work or test, but they gave out plenty for having the most correct answers!
Blinds, trim, and paint. I think it made for a really soothing, but eye-catching combination!