21 June 2012

It’s Better To Be Busy – Isn’t It?

Not that choosing to be busy or not is an option for us at the moment.  We had Unpack Day on Tuesday, with the very fabulous Fran coming by early and working like a navvy all day to help us get boxes and boxes and boxes unpacked.  Boy it takes a lot of boxes to fill a shop with stock.  As usual, I ran out of my pre-prepared description and price tags, and then had to go home and work for a few hours into the evening to get some more prepared.

But we had a bit of fun discovering purchases made last March that I had forgotten about until now.  Some items I still haven’t remembered buying, but here they are and they didn’t magic themselves into our boxes so I must have been buying things and moving on pretty promptly that day.  I told a woman in the shop this week that I need to buy so much volume while on a buying trip that I shop til I fall down dead.  What, literally? she said.  Okay, not literally.  Unless she was fiendish clever and under her expert interrogation I accidentally revealed that I have the power of regeneration and so must be a Cylon.  Yes, that’s entirely possible.  I might have been exaggerating about how exhausted I am after lots of shopping, but that is so unlikely that it’s more possible that I’m a Cylon. 

I have Cylons on the brain at the moment because, having been reminded of the television show Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 series, not the daggy original) through a reference to Cylon Toast in The Big Bang Theory, I am now working my way through the entire Battlestar Galactica series.  This is causing a great deal of sighing from the usually very patient Doug, who’s not a fan, but I’m hugely enjoying it and I only have about 24 hours of viewing to go until it’s finished.  And yes, I know I watch too much television if I can understand and then act on a reference to Cylon Toast, but who cares? 

During Unpack Day various people popped in to have a quick squiz at our new things, and I ended up selling more when we were closed on Unpack Day than I did when we were open on Sunday.  Go figure.  Maybe the Shop-in-Total-Chaos-and-Mess-Everywhere look is a style I should cultivate more often.  Now my mission is to unpack, tag and get something (hopefully multiple somethings) into the shop every single day for the next few months.  Plus I have the added task of photographing new things for the website, so I shall have to become a little more organised than I’m used to or want to be, but it shouldn’t be too onerous.

So after Unpack Day on Tuesday we had The Big Reveal on Wednesday, and it went well.  Even though it was reasonably quiet in town, we still made better sales than usual on a Wednesday, so I can’t ask more than that.  The very first thing to sell was a lovely large ceramic jug, basin and chamber pot set that I was planning to photograph for the website because it was stunning, but too late for that now.  Also sold a fair bit of glass, enamelware, pictures and jewellery.  The stone ware attracted positive attention, so fingers crossed that it goes well. 

I’ve put gobsmackingly good prices on everything, if I say so myself, that can’t be beaten.  The exchange rate for the Australian dollar against the pound and euro was the best it had ever been during our buying trip in March, so I was able to buy very well and that is now reflected in my own prices.  I have some lovely wooden bread boards, for example, and in Sydney I have seen similar for $110.  Mine are $48.  I can’t do better than less than half price.  And that’s just one example – all of my glass is beautiful and exceptionally well priced, which might explain why I get through so much glass.  As for enamelware, I haven’t seen another shop in this country with such a good selection and at such affordable prices.  And my vintage copper frying pans and saucepans (over 100 years old) are cheaper than the light, tinny, new pieces sold in Department stores.

Anyway, so ends the bragging, but I guess my point is that I can’t do better than offer really good things at really good prices.  And yet a woman yesterday came and looked at my Victorian-era rolling pins, and as she was walking out the door she said over her shoulder I can get cheaper at K-Mart.  Another woman was in the shop at the time and we just looked at each other and burst out laughing.  What can you say?  I expect K-Mart does indeed sell cheaper rolling pins than the solid, beautiful Victorian-era ones that I sell.  But mine you will buy once in your life and they will then outlive you.  Nuff said.
And then another woman came in and looked at some really lovely deep sky blue enamel plates I have displayed on a 200 year old Welsh dresser, and she said Do you realise that you’ve given pride of place to things worth $8?  Well firstly I wasn’t in a trance when I displayed these plates and was actually well aware of what I was putting on the dresser, and secondly I don’t care how much things are worth when displaying them, only how lovely they look.  Things don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful, as evidence by the fact that I have $8 on them.  But what an odd thing for some stranger to say, don’t you think?

Here’s some good news – Doug is on his way back from Brisbane as I type, bringing with him the last of the shipment that has now been released by Quarantine.   We’ve got our work cut out for us for the next little while, but I’m very happy with our buying from this trip so it will be a pleasure to unpack and examine it all.  We have already selected a few things to keep for ourselves, mostly enamel kitchenware and some pictures, but there will be plenty to go around.

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