Let me start by saying I’m just a regular mom trying to figure it out as I go along.
As much as I like to think that I know it all, I am, in fact, still learning. With each passing day, running a business and raising kids, I’m still learning how to stay healthy and calm, how to find the positives and laugh a little along the way. There are always learning curves and this holiday season is no exception.
After nine years of retail, it comes as no surprise that the holiday season is busy. I welcome the yearly onslaught. This year, unexpected volume of sales (with a string of colds and flus that swept through our home) took the retail holiday season stress to new heights.
I have the problem that many business owners dream about - a flood of daily sales.
The good news is that we’ve had a sell-out season, the bad news is that we are selling out of many items. Business owners and friends congratulate me when I tell them. Customers do not. Try telling a husband, a few weeks before Christmas, that we cannot give him what is on his wife’s wish list.
I have also failed every test on how to not feel overwhelmed. I have stopped working out, chocolate-chip cookies and caffein give me my afternoon energy boost, my gluten-free diet has been replaced by crackers and cheese and I am not getting enough sleep (my new cough doesn’t help.) I wake up in the darkness every morning and blink at my computer hoping that an extra few hours, before the kids are up, will make all these challenges dissolve into the cold morning air.
I post with pride all the great customer testimonials https://www.suetables.com/ca/testimonials but this year we’ve had our share of frustrated customers feeling our growing pains. A customer emailed me yesterday. She said, “Sue, I love your product and my friends and I have been buying for years! But this is so discouraging.” I sent her a sterling silver peace symbol as an apology and peace offering.
The holiday season can be a very stressful time for many people. Busy schedules filled with parties, school and work events, shopping for gifts, and many other obligations can wreak havoc on your routine and sense of balance, leaving you tired, irritable, and overwhelmed. Add to that the vague sense that you are supposed to be full of joy and cheer, and you may find yourself, like me, counting the days until Christmas holidays.
So here is what I plan to do next year. And I am putting it in writing, with you as my witnesses: be present, sleep, eat well, exercise and, oh ya, hire more help and stock up on inventory.
I am grateful this holiday season for: my mother who has dropped off a number of casseroles to feed my family, my friend who has planed a birthday and engagement celebration for me despite my insistence that I do not have time for parties this year and hate being the center of attention, my sister who drops in regularly to pitch in (she is the only one I trust with hand stamping!) looking for nothing in return, my assistant who gets the orders out and helps me get through the day still smiling, my customers who are still patiently waiting for that one more shipment from Mexico, my partner who has taken over many details of our busy life and who pours me a drink even though I tell him I am on cold medication, my beautiful new home that we just purchased, carpooling moms and the woman at the gas station yesterday who tapped me kindly on the shoulder and said, “Dear - I am not in a hurry. You look like you are in a rush. Please go ahead of me.”
Next year, I am going to follow Michael Caine’s advice: “Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”
As I said, I’m just a regular mom trying to figure it out as I go along.