I do not own a brick-and-mortar store. And I won’t anytime soon. At this time in my life I prefer to spend the time I have available for my business on creating hats rather than minding a store with all that comes with that.
But once or twice a year, I decorate a shop window, set up my register, sharpen my pencil to write custom orders, polish the shop mirror and stock up on inventory.
That’s when I participate in an artisan show at the Morristown Armory. It’s a bazaar of handmade items, jewelry, pottery, mouth blown glass, textiles, furniture…. Walking through the aisles almost leads to sensory overload. It feels like I’m in a little town, and I get to know my neighbors.
And in this town, I open up shop.
Unlike some artists who are more of a hermit, I genuinely enjoy interacting with my customers. Now that I’ve done this for a few years, regulars come by for a chat and to try on and buy a new hat. New customers discover me and many many people pick up my card to pass it on to their “friend who just LOVES hats!”
When there’s a down-time (and there invariable is), I pull an unfinished hat out of my bag and start sewing or trimming. And, invariably, that causes someone to step into my shop and watch what I’m doing or ask me a question.
By the time the show is over, I’ve had my fix of shop-ownership and I happily go back to the calm and quiet of my studio, where I can spend my time on just the hats.