A wise friend once told me that every fight she ever had with her husband boiled down to one of two basic scenarios: one of them felt that his/her sense of security was threatened, or that his/her sense of significance was threatened. SECURITY and SIGNIFICANCE...wow....she is right. Think about your last fight with a significant other....I bet that you can see security or significance at play. I see it in myself, and I see it in my family. Heck, I even see it in my dogs.
It is the exact same in Crafty Retail! When the economy is great, and there are as many customers lined up at your door as are at the door of your competitor, you can afford to be magnanimous. You know----C'est La Vie, Live and Let Live and all that chirpy stuff. However, when you are worried about making the rent payment, you might not always be up to singing Kum Ba Yah with the lady stealing "your" customers/money/ideas, etc.
The economy is a bitch so the security and sense of significance for crafty retailers is under attack. Although it is not surprising that there seems to be a tad more bitchy going around these days, it is kind of gross. I am always a little bit amazed that smart, savvy business owners fall into the trap.
You might do it the same way that my sweet voiced Texas 'friend' does...she ALWAYS punctuates her Acid Sweet Snarkiness with the phrase---- "poor little thing!" as if it will serve to neutralize her bitchiness:
"Have you seen Suzie? My God, that dress she has on makes her look ridiculous!
...poor little thing!"
YUCK! I admit, it is funny as hell, but it is still yucky.
Don't fall into the Rancorous Retailer trap! I get that we are in a business that is riddled with estrogen. I get that we are stressed out, that our parents need extra help as they transition from old age to infirm, that the babysitter quit, and that you are worried about making your rent payment, but still....don't do it!
I know one shop owner that truly has the patience of Job. She has held her head high and kept her own mouth shut while dealing with a competitor who is mean spirited, at best. This Rancorous Retailer has spread ridiculous rumors about her, which include, but is certainly not limited to, the one where she tells folks that the Crafty Retailer has a disabled child that she leaves at home --all alone--because she is uncomfortable being around the wheelchair bound child. Bear in mind that the "victim" retailer has no kids! WTF?
Weird, huh? I mean, seriously! Where does the lady come up with this stuff? Both women have been in business for years and each has a loyal following. The Crafty Retailer is growing frustrated, her feelings are hurt, and she worries that her business is impacted by the slander.
What is the Crafty Retailer to do?
This is a tough one. I think that I would consider either of the following:
1. Contact the Rancorous Retailer and ask to schedule time to get together to work on a joint marketing venture. Send her an email so that you don't catch her off guard. Completely ignore the past animosity and work on something together. Yes, really! Consider a Shop Hop or a project that requires a visit to each store. This woman is a bitch because she is insecure...remember, it is all about security and significance. This will appeal to both and make her feel weirder about trashing you in the future. You really DO catch more flies with honey than vinegar!
2. Ignore it. Who has time for the drama? Note: ignoring it means REALLY ignoring it. If you are whining about it, you are not ignoring it. Give yourself a 24 hour whine limit per occurrence, otherwise you are playing along.
What about you? How would you handle the Rancorous Retailer? Inquiring minds want to know!
In other news:
Looking for an inexpensive way to expand your market base? Consider starting a Meet Up group. It is not the same as a ladies night out, or a stitch and bitch session because you have the chance to attract people way outside of your normal reach.
I had an opportunity to attend a Beads Meet Up group hosted by Holly Hancock of Beads last week. Fourteen women attended and a local restaurant delivered dinner for anyone who was interested. Holly had a sweet little spiral bracelet project on the agenda and sent everyone a supply list before the event. Some ladies came with all of their supplies, while others (like me!) bought everything they needed (and then some!) that night.
Holly told me that although the group started out slowly, it built up over time and is now an important part of her store "community." It has attained the status of "special event" and sales make it well worth the effort. It was certainly apparent that the MeetUp members agree. Barley, the shop mascot, ran to the door with each new arrival, even barking at some favorites as he saw their cars pull into the parking lot. Store Regular Bonnie Anderson entertained me when she got Barley to do a "high five" to earn his treat.
Holly has organized two separate groups...one for beading and another for dichroic glass. The cost to the organizer is minimal. In fact, two weeks ago I formed my own little Fiber Meet Up group in my area, to be sponsored by new "Retail Lite" venture, Urban Stitch Studio. We already have 10 members and I will be hosting our first meet up event this Saturday. Wish me luck!