SPOOL was three years old and had already gotten great press, even winning the highly coveted Quilt Sampler Top 10 Shop of the Year Award given by Better Homes and Gardens. I’m not bragging when I say it was a remarkable store. Things were very bright, with one exception: I had become dreadfully unhappy.
Owning a quilt shop, or any small independent retail business, is amazing amounts of hard work. Working 15-18 hours a day was not unusual and that meant time not spent with family or being able to peruse any personal joys. I had no time off. I actually worked on the day I had major surgery. As the saying goes, “There is no rest for the wicked or those in retail,” and that was true for me.
During my time of working on these hard choices I did a lot of reading and recommend these books if you are looking for help in making choices. While they are not all specifically business books they are about the business of life.
The irony is that I love creating a magical retail experience. The look of delight on each customer face when they would walk in our door for the first time, their tiny, happy gasps or the occasional “whoop,” meant we were doing it right. Still it wasn’t enough and I knew I had to make a change for my own wellbeing.
To say closing SPOOL was not a popular decision among fans and customers would be an understatement. Yet in my gut I knew that no matter how big we grew, how much more social media acclaim we received and even how many people drove half way across the United States to visit us, I had made a Big-M, Mistake. (A Big-M Mistake in my book is one that reaches so far and wide as to create ripples past your own door and out into the world). All the success in the world could not make up for being so unhappy on a daily basis.
And offer they did! While some were just quietly weepy to lose a progressive-leaning fabric haven in an otherwise rather traditional area, some were free with their accusations that I had no “right” to close and that as a service business “I owed it to the community to stay open”. And yet their shame was an offering that I was not obligated to accept, much like that seasonal fruitcake that does second duty as a doorstop.
I’m now working daily to build Badass Quilters Society into an income generator that gives me the luxury of maintaining the industry connections I cherish while caring for my family in a way that best fits my desires and values. Each day we’re a day further down our own path and I always reserve the right to start over, again.