Wednesday, June 30, 2004

So here's my question.

The deer, thwarted by the fencing I recently installed around the vegetable gardens, are now attacking my flower beds. So I went out and got a bottle of deer deterrent. And on its list of ingredients is coyote urine.

So my question is, how exactly do they extract this urine?

Exactly. It's a quandary. Anybody out there happen to work in the coyote urine-extraction business and wish to enlighten us?

Monday, June 28, 2004

fiber geeks
This is what happens when you give a fiber person a pen and paper. This was taken at the Maine Fiber Frolic, which I attended a few weekends ago. Twas a gorgeous day, and I managed to escape without buying a fleece. One woman aptly described it as a convention of cats—all of us oohing and aawing and nudging our noses into the fiber and pawing it with our hands. So true!

On the business front, the new location appears not to be in the cards. After much research and soul-searching, I offered a fair price for the space in question. The landlord (who lives with his mother next door—warning! warning!) never bothered calling me back. Which is just fine.

After several weeks of angst and planning, I unveiled details and registration for this year's Knitter's Review Retreat and—only five days later—the overnight portion is nearly 85% sold out. This year features an additional Thursday extension with workshop, which is limited to 15 people, and which sold out in a matter of hours.

From a success standpoint, it's fantastic. But I do feel bad having to send really nice, enthusiastic people away.

Here in Maine, summer visitors are finally beginning to arrive. For me, this means a fairly steady trickle of family from now until August. I worked on my chocolate pots de creme technique all winter so I could whip them up for guests at a moment's notice. (It's from the Zuni Cafe cookbook and is foolproof.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

I'm still in the psychotic waffling stage about The New Location but will keep you posted as events warrant.

But in the meantime, don't forget that this weekend is the Maine Fiber Frolic at the Windsor Fairgrounds! I'll be there on Saturday helping out at the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth.

It's a marvelous little fair in a gorgeous, gorgeous spot. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, I heartily encourage you to drive up the Maine coast and spend some time at the festival.

Friday, June 4, 2004

OK, so since I've got your attention (updating one's blog every month has a way of drawing the eye...), here's a question for you:

Say you had two businesses. OK three. Four, really. An online magazine. An online retail boutique. A wholesale business. And in the summer, a physical gift shop in a teeny tiny town with a lovely but geographically limited customer base.

(This is purely hypothetical, mind you!)

Say you had an opportunity to locate them all in one large space in a very good commercial location in a larger tourist town. Your physical rent would be increased by almost 300 percent, but you'd have larger square footage for the retail operation, and you could be open longer than you currently are.

It'd be a huge step, and an even greater risk. On a good day, you could consider it the key to your future success. On a bad day, the root of your downfall.

Would you do it?

Any MBAs out there?

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Goodness, it's been too long since my last post. The festival was a great success (as described here, at least the clean parts!), and I returned home briefly before setting off again. This time, to NY for the National Stationery Show. I found all sorts of goodies for Clara's Window, the physical store, and I got some valuable insight into the card business as far as my own cards are concerned.

Overall, good stuff.

U.S. Airways cancelled my flight home at about 9:30pm, so I rented a car at LaGuardia and pulled an all-nighter back to Portland instead. Eventually I made it back home home, where it was time to prep my store for its May 28 opening.


So that's what I've been up to. Never a dull moment, I tell you...

The opening weekend was a great success, and now I'm trying to settle in to my new summer schedule. It's always a little hard to reclaim 34 hours a week to keep my shop open, while maintaining a steady uninterrupted pace on all other fronts. Suffice it to say, the garden may suffer.

What has everyone else been doing? Regale me with your tales!