A New Day at Suzanne’s Cottage

My first day of retirement included Charles serving me breakfast, homemade Strawberry Jam from a friend, and a bouquet of flowers from my colleagues at Drumlin Farm.
A New Day: My first day of retirement included Charles serving me breakfast, homemade Strawberry Jam from a friend, and a bouquet of flowers from my colleagues at Drumlin Farm.

So what do you plan to do with yourself? How will you occupy yourself? Are you planing to travel? Are you moving to Florida?

Over the past month I have heard all these questions, and more. A month ago I told my colleagues I was leaving the Farm. My husband and I planned our retirements for the end of June.

Today is a big day. It is my first day of retirement. No more 9-5 job.

I received a nice send-off from my friends at the Farm yesterday. I enjoyed many people there, but it is time for something new.

Perhaps it is better stated, it is time for a new approach to something else.

A New Day Means Re-inventing Suzanne’s Cottage

Over the past five years I have split my time between my farm job and my “Junk Business”. During that time I have had varying degrees of success, but nothing lasts forever. I’ve tried consignment, group shops, Co-ops, yard sales and flea markets.

Shops come and go. Owners come and go. Business climates come and go. I have never been able to stay in one location for more than a year, and then it’s time to look around. I’m constantly scouting new locations. I am constantly forced to re-think things and “re-invent” myself.

The upside of this is that I have made many friends and I have established a remarkable network of dealers, vendors, and shop owners. The downside is that one cannot grow complacent, and change is always in play.

Solo or Not

People often tell me I should open my own shop. That holds no appeal to me whatsoever. I enjoy the freedom to scour the countryside, looking at shops, meeting people, searching for treasures to repurpose for home or for sale.

This business is a creative and social outlet for me. I have no desire to be captive in a store on a beautiful summer day (that is why I no longer work at the farm). I also do not want to be a slave to office hours for 4 to 7 days a week. I don’t want to worry about rent, electric bills, payroll, schedules, heating and air conditioning, snow plowing and shoveling, advertising, etc. You get the idea.

Of all the business models I’ve experimented with, I tend to like the Co-op best. But how does one choose? What do I look for in a new shop? Well that is what I write about in the next post, because this was just too lengthy for one article.

So next week I will hit on the following points:

  1. Owner
  2. Location
  3. Vendor Churn
  4. Customer Traffic
  5. Days Open for Business
  6. Web and Social Media Presence
  7. Price Points & Customer Demographics
  8. Similar Design Aesthetics

I’m excited about the next installment. It’s 95% complete, and once the minor tweaking is done, it will be published.

Until then, please feel free to comment and share.

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