Episode 264 // Opening a Retail Store

August 3, 2021

Emily opened a store! While Almanac Supply Co. has been running successfully online since 2018, it was finally time to open a physical retail space to get these beautiful crystals and home goods in the hands of customers. In this episode of Being Boss, Corey joins in as co-host to help Emily share the fun, wild story of how Almanac Supply Co. suddenly met a dire need for its own in-person shop, and how exactly she and the team made it happen— in under one month. Emily and Corey discuss the magic in bridging online and offline business with the epic example that is Almanac Supply Co.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Business, I believe, happens best when it bridges the gap betwee online and offline."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • Emily’s process of opening a brick and mortar retail store in just a few weeks
  • How Almanac Supply Co. came to be, what they sell, and why
  • Emily’s “Aha” moment of bridging online and offline business
  • The exciting story of Almanac evolving quickly from an appointment-only showroom to a retail location, thanks to too many customers
  • Emily’s perspective on worry and stress when opening a business
  • How Almanac had its successful opening day (organically!)
  • Decorations and signage of the new shop, including an old, upcycled door

Resources

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson: [00:00:00] Okay bosses, I have some news. I opened a retail store. This may come as a bit of a shock for you, but I have to tell you, it was a bigger shock for me. Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson and in case you're brand new here, Being Boss isn't the only company that I run. I like to say that I don't only talk business, but I also do business beyond what we do here at being boss. In 2018, I started Almanac Supply Co. A retail brand that makes and curates products like candles and crystals to help folks connect with nature and embrace seasonal living.

[00:00:49] I share more about the starting of this company quickly here in this episode, along with resources where you can hear more about my journey in that particular business, but today is about progressing the story to share insight into the dream of many bosses, opening a retail store. To help me share my story

[00:01:08] I brought in my web and sound guy, Corey, to play guest co-host of this episode, pulling out of me, the whirlwind of a story that is me and my business and life partner, David making the leap into a retail space for Almanac, including how we made the decision, how we chose our new location and how we opened our new store in just nine days.

[00:01:28] So sit back, strap in and let's get going.

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[00:02:08] Listen, learn and grow with The Shakeup and more business podcasts with the HubSpot podcast network at hubspot.com/podcastnetwork.

[00:02:21] Hello, Corey. Welcome to Being Boss. 

Corey Winter: [00:02:24] I'm back baby. It's been a minute I'm here. I'm still alive. 

Emily Thompson: [00:02:31] Been here this whole time. 

Corey Winter: [00:02:33] Watching from the shadows. 

Emily Thompson: [00:02:37] I'm excited about this chat with you today.  It's been a whirlwind of a couple of days and you have been chosen by those who choose. So you mostly me. Actually, there were some team collaboration.

[00:02:54] And in choosing you to come pull this info out of me.

Corey Winter: [00:02:59] I was going to say the one time I didn't volunteer to do something. I got chosen. So that's fine.

Emily Thompson: [00:03:04] Well, there you go. There you go. Right. We are here to have a conversation about what has happened at Almanac, literally over the past, like week. Really, it's been like maybe four to six weeks.

[00:03:18] But lots of things have changed and I think this is going to be such a fun opportunity to share with bosses of all kinds in all kinds of industries.  What it has looked like for me the past couple of weeks, as I have opened a retail store. 

Corey Winter: [00:03:36] Brick and mortar, like it's an actual bill. 

Emily Thompson: [00:03:40] Yeah. Yeah, there's a door and windows.

[00:03:43] It has a bathroom in, 

Corey Winter: [00:03:44] it there's even a door. So legit. Like that's like next level, 

Emily Thompson: [00:03:50] we call that the portal, if we would, if we would like, yes, it is. It is real. It is a real physical space in the world of online business. We don't talk about physical spaces all that often, but we're going to talk about today.

[00:04:03] So let's dive in. Corey, where are we starting? 

Corey Winter: [00:04:06] So I'm interviewing you today about all things Almanac. A lot of it's going to be focused on the retail store, but also common, like tickets step back a little bit for all of our new listeners and maybe just all listeners that want to hear the story again, that may not be aware of the fact that you own another business outside of Being Boss, kind of talking about how that business came to be summarizing it a little bit and how it's led to this point.

[00:04:33] So, you used to own a website design business and that kind of like morphed into Being Boss, but how did Almanac Supply Co come to be? 

Emily Thompson: [00:04:43] Big magic moment OBS. Okay. 

Corey Winter: [00:04:48] Okay. Okay. So what does, what does Almanac Supply Company sell? I know that's even morphed over time a little bit, but 

Emily Thompson: [00:04:54] Indeed, indeed ish. SoAlmanac Supply Co. came about a couple of years ago.

[00:05:00] Well, it was sort of like building in my mind over the past decade ish, as I was doing all of those websites for all of our fabulous clients back at Indie Shopography back in the day, I was always so jelly of all of the people who were launching these really great retail brands. I was a web designer. I was helping them launch them.

[00:05:20] And as I would launch them, I always like had this little, like, little inkling that that's really what I wanted to do. And if, if you all were recall Emily origin stories,  my first business was a brick and mortar. When I was young, I was in college. I was 18. I bought a tanning salon which had tanning beds, but also had a bit of retail and some of my college jobs were in retail and I really, really loved it.

[00:05:44] So as I was doing all of these web design projects, I always have these little inklings that are really wanting to get into retail one day.  Ended up morphing Indie into Being Boss, shut down my web design studio in 20. I think we started really winding it down, I think in 2016, 2017,  in 20, in December of 20, actually in December of 2016, about the time I had my big magic moment around Almanac and what it was and what it was going to be,  I shared the story that I was in New York city.

[00:06:19] I was asleep. I woke up with a word Almanac in my head and this whole sort of vision of how seasonality played into business and life in a, in a deeper way that I had not really connected to in the past. And I saw it as a retail brand. So I sat on the idea for about a year in the winter of 2017,  which is before the being boss book came out to put it in the being boss timeline, in the winter of 2017, I decided to start the thing.

[00:06:52] So,  I did, we officially launched in January of 2018 selling candles and crystals. Candles and crystals are still very much so the core of our product offerings. But my vision was always that it would be,  a bit larger of a brand. And I say a bit in that I've always very consciously kept our,  collection of curated products to a minimum.

[00:07:18] I want to stay very small, very boutique-y.  But candles and crystals are the core with some auxiliary products that support the theme of seasonal living and,  and connecting with nature. So we launched in January, 2018 and have been doing it ever since. 

Corey Winter: [00:07:37] And for all those people that want a more detailed story about how Almanac came to be, Being Boss has a sister show called Making a Business.

[00:07:47] The first two seasons of which are available publicly for free, anywhere listening to podcasts.  And you can find those links in our show notes, as well as on our website beingboss.club/making-a-business.

[00:08:00] Then in season three and season four are available exclusively in the Being Boss Clubhouse, and season one, especially dives really detailed into how it making or how Almanac became a thing. And so you've been doing it for a couple of years now.  But it's been mostly online only, but you, you know, you've also done like one-off events, like at flea markets and stuff, but you've mostly been online.

[00:08:32] So what made you take the leap into brick and mortar. 

Emily Thompson: [00:08:35] I mean, it was always the vision, right.  But so I actually even want to add something to sort of previous question whenever I started Almanac as well, there was definitely like a being boss purpose behind it.  But we were being boss was growing and doing great things.

[00:08:54] I was shutting down my web design studio so that I could work full-time at being boss. I found myself talking about the business of running a podcast, which felt very meta and not very helpful to our community. And so I saw that as a really great opportunity to get into product business for myself, because I wanted to, but also so that I could bring that,  that experience and expertise into what we do here at being boss as well.

[00:09:20] And another part of that, one of the things that I've always, I guess, cultivated within myself as an entrepreneur and as an entrepreneur with a voice in the world of entrepreneurship, is this, is this understanding that business that I believe business happens best when it bridges the gap between online and offline.

[00:09:44] Even whenever we had our web design studio back in the day, and I'm saying our, because Corey worked for me at the web design studio back in the day, right when we had that, almost all of our clients were local clients. We had a physical studio, like in space, physical in, on earth, but like in physical space, we didn't have a studio in space that would have been very cool.

[00:10:08] Well, long commute. It would have been a long commute.  But we had a physical studio. Most of our clients were local. We worked with a lot of people who had brick and mortar stores. So even though I very much so built an expertise in online business, I also really loved traditional IRL business.

[00:10:28] And I've especially loved this sort of journey of really figuring out what business looks like when it bridges online and offline really well. Because as online business has grown, that bridge has not been, has not been built as solidly as it will in the future. And I think 2020 has definitely given so many brick and mortar businesses reasons to build their own little bridges and to online in a way that they had not previously felt was necessary.

[00:11:00] But that was always my vision for Almanac. So that's a very long way of saying we very intentionally started Almanac to be online first, with a vision for taking it into retail in the future, as a way of lower barrier of injury, getting started in retail and then building a strong online business, which usually has higher profitability that would feed into and help us bring it into the brick and mortar retail space.

[00:11:35] So as always part of the vision, it got delayed a little bit as things do, but,  but I want to create a physical experience of a brand, that's not just a website or an Instagram account. 

Corey Winter: [00:11:50] So let's actually back up just a little bit,  because you actually, you, you talked about the bridge bridging from online to physical.

[00:11:58] You actually, your bridge kind of had little bridges spinning off of it. If you guys kind of, you kind of had like a little middle space these past couple of years where you had, you had a physical space where you stored all of your crystals and you actually had shot by appointments. So you've kind of been building up to this actual retail brick and mortar store for awhile.

[00:12:17] So how'd you how'd you finally decide, okay. Shop by appointments, no longer working, let's get a full store. How'd you decide to do that? 

Emily Thompson: [00:12:29] And decide we're forced into it. Forced. So I want to talk about this, like this bridging thing too, because the first month in business, we had no second month, our second month in business, February 2018, we had our first pop-up shop.

[00:12:45] So even though I'm saying we were very much so online first, we've actually been hanging out on that bridge literally the entire time. So we were doing pop-up shops. We are regulars at the Chattanooga market. We have done holiday markets and we do like local neighborhood markets and those sorts of things.

[00:13:02] So we very much so have been doing things like IRL in real life as if what we do online is not real life.  But we've, we've always sort of been working that bridge basically. What was the question again? What did you ask? 

Corey Winter: [00:13:21] So how did that small bridge become over capacity? Like how'd that small bridge could be expanded into a full store.

Emily Thompson: [00:13:31] Great question. Great questions. Thank you.  So we let's see, how did this happen just before the pandemic hit? No. How did this really happen? In October of 2019, we started,  a Saturday shop here in the building where our maker studio, where we're making our candles, we're processing, crystals, all of those things.

[00:13:59] And also where they're being boss offices in this building, there is a sort of downstairs, almost brick and mortar ish like space. That's used mostly as an office. And we were able to work with our landlord to use that space on Saturdays, to do a long-term pop-up for the holiday season, starting on October, 2019 and went through the holiday season, worked really great.

[00:14:22] We've loved it a ton. And that was really our first like legit sort of retail setup. So we did that and we knew that we wanted to do more of it. And February of 2020, we did a, our first like pop-up shop in our maker space. Is it a pop-up shop if it's in your own space? Sure. I think, yeah, I think that's a thing.

[00:14:45] So we did a pop-up shop in our maker space for Valentine's day and loved it. And that was the first time we had set up the space that we had for Almanac to be shoppable and then the [00:15:00] pandemic hit. And we just like did all the things we had to do to cope and deal and, you know, maneuver and make all the upgrades we did in a time when that's all we could do all the things.

[00:15:12] And then whenever things started opening up a little bit more, we decided to take all of our stuff, all of our product and actually move it down the hall into the being boss office. Cause I have a very large office and it's just me. And we actually set up what is, what I would call, what I was calling our showroom for crystals and candles and some other products that are on our site.

[00:15:38] So that people could come and shop because we had people emailing us saying, you know, like I'd love to come pick out a birthday present,  or, you know, whatever it may be. So we were having people interested in coming by. And so we set up all the systems so that people could easily use an online scheduling thing to schedule shop by appointment.

[00:15:58] It was very safe. Everyone was masked up, windows open, one at a time. And we had a couple of those trickling in over, you know, the last year, every, every week 1, 2, 3 people would schedule an appointment would come and shop and we really discovered. Though we've done great with online business. You just got a ton, crystal, you know, you just need to smell that candle.

[00:16:25] Right. And it really was creating this whole other experience for our customers so that, you know, as, especially as we were going through 2020, I was like, I'm never doing retail. Are you kidding me? Like, all of my retail friends were floundering. We're having the hardest time. And I was like, I never want that stress on myself, but like also don't die.

[00:16:45] Don't die probably at least a little bit.  And yes I do because I was seeing what was happening, like literally right here in my office. And sometimes I would be like taking meetings or working on my things in my little, this little room of my office, it'd be, would be shopping out there for crystals and candles.

[00:17:02] And I was hearing them talk about it and they would come in and they would stay 30, 45 minutes. It was this whole beautiful experience that I could not deny. It was working in its own weird little way. And then it came up in a meeting one day at Almanac that we needed to put ourselves on Google business.

[00:17:21] And guys that was, I talk often that there are no silver bullets in business, but Google business is kind of a silver bullet. If you have a retail store in physical space. And so we got on Google business and we started getting people constantly showing up and over the past two or three months, it became so much that one, they weren't scheduling appointments because no one reads, no one was reading that you need to schedule an appointment.

[00:17:50] They were all just coming in. And this is a secure building as a secure office building. So sometimes people would not be able to get in the building. Sometimes we were sneaking in the building and like walking around the hallways, looking for the crystals. And it was, it was becoming slightly problematic though, what a great problem to have.

[00:18:09] And so in late May, early June of this year, it got so much where every single day, multiple groups of people were coming in here to shop for crystals, which meant one, I didn't have an office anymore. You can't record a podcast and people are knocking on your door, asking where the crystals are.  I didn't have an office anymore.

[00:18:31] And people were having a hard time accessing us because secure building can't find us, couldn't find parking, all the things. And it was sincerely disrupting everything that we do at both being boss and Almanac. And so we, David and I started having a conversation of,  Of what are we going to do? I need to like, take my office back to the house and just like make the being boss office, the new Almanac shop.

[00:18:58] Do we need to find myself another office space? Do we need to like, really think about doing retail for real? What does this look like? Because we were all just sort of inundated with all of these shoppers, which again, amazing problem to have. And they were Googling us. People were coming in from out of town.

[00:19:16] People were coming in literally just to find the crystal store. And so we decided that we had to do something or we had to take ourselves off of Google business. 

Corey Winter: [00:19:26] And you don't want to do that because it was working. Yeah. 

Emily Thompson: [00:19:28] Yes. That's just shutting down business basically. So, uh, mid June we found ourselves in this place of like, we have to make a decision immediately.

[00:19:37] Like we're being forced into making a decision that we weren't really wanting to make for another six months or so. And so we ended up finding the perfect retail place that was probably cheaper a month at a new office would have been for myself.  And it fell into our lap and is total perfection.

Corey Winter: [00:19:59] Okay. Well you actually just, that was a good segue because that's going to be my next question. So you've reached this, this good problem space. You need to find a location. You need to find an actual store for all of those bosses out there that are thinking about opening a store. How did you actually find a location?

Emily Thompson: [00:20:17] I'm a real estate nerd. I'm a commercial real estate nerd.  And it's one of the things that I keep an eye on constantly because I've. I've always known that there would be a physical expansion either of being boss or Almanac. I can also just like generally a commercial real estate nerd. I also, like, I like to see what's being developed in my city.

That's also a part of it. And also just like, I love living where I live and I want to know what's coming and real estate listings are a really great place to see, like what's moving out, what's moving in. It's it's a whole thing. So every couple of months I will just like rake the commercial real estate listings.

[00:20:55] So for years I've been developing this idea of where in town I'm most want to be. And there's a couple of general locations, general areas of town that I've had my eye on, especially. So basically I've been doing half a decade of research, more or less, and just generally being open to the idea. But it was a couple of weeks ago that we were driving around, which is weird.

[00:21:20] I don't drive around anymore. Like where am I going to go? I don't even know where I was going or what I was doing. But I drove through one of these areas of town and a very small storefront had a for lease sign out in front of it. And I saw the first time, I think it sent something to David and I was like, this space is available and we didn't do anything about it for a minute.

[00:21:41] And then, and then all the things with Google, right. With bringing people into the shop started and we decided to actually do something about it. 

Corey Winter: [00:21:52] So what was attractive about this specific location? Like what were you looking for? Like to did foot traffic play into it to traffic [00:22:00] patterns, play into it.

[00:22:01] Did neighbors stores play into it? Proximity to other things play into it. 

Emily Thompson: [00:22:07] Everything, everything. So the two or three areas of town that I most wanted to be in, or places that were really high tourist traffic, whenever you have something like crystals, something that, you know, you're going to buy once you're gonna, if you're like a crystal collector, you're going to come visit five or six times.

[00:22:29] But you're not going to, if you're a local, you're not going to come see me once a week. Right.  Thank you. Thank you, Corey. 

Corey Winter: [00:22:40] Just once a week, that's the limits. 

Emily Thompson: [00:22:42] Monday, crystal buying, whatever it may be. So crystals are not something where, you know, local is part of it, but I wanted to be in a place basically where tourists were going to be coming and especially extra points.

[00:22:58] If I can get both of those pieces of traffic, tourists, and easily accessible for locals as well. So that was a big piece of it. When it comes to foot traffic, I'm actually maybe a little weird in that. I don't want a ton of foot traffic. I actually want, like, if like a lot of foot traffic is like grade A, I want a grade B or C, right?

[00:23:24] Because it is crystals. I don't want everybody in their mother wandering up in a crystal store, knocking stuff over, handing everything like I wanted, I didn't want just like prime foot traffic. I wanted like, second level of that. And so that was really key for me as well. And then,  I wanted a relatively small space.

[00:23:47] I've looked at several larger spaces and though I could see as definitely expanding into those for this like immediate turnaround of a retail store, I didn't want to have to put a ton of effort into build-outs or buying lots of product, or like figuring out the management of, you know, a 2000 square foot store or any of those.

[00:24:09] I wanted it to be really small. So those three things were probably my biggest, like somewhere that is both like accessible to like, there's going to be a lot of tourists there, but also locals are going to be around. Two, not the most traffic heavy, but accessible by foot traffic easily enough and three, I didn't want anything too big.

Corey Winter: [00:24:35] Okay, so you got, I wouldn't say picky, but a little picky with what you were looking for, which means I'm using this as a segue. You're not actually picky.

[00:24:48] It's okay to be picky with your, with your real estate.  Which means you with a city like Chicago or Chicago, Chattanooga. I'm not sure. I, you know, got in Chicago. That would be cool. I knew the other C city I'm imagining that the real estate is relatively competitive. So how'd you handle was there competition for this space?

[00:25:10] And if so, how'd you handle that nature, that competitive nature for this space? 

Emily Thompson: [00:25:16] So it is competitive.  And it's funny. I didn't realize how competitive it was until later. So what we ended up calling the guy whose number was in the window of this one space.  And he was very nice. We told them what we were doing.

[00:25:32] We went and saw it. He wasn't, he's an older man he's retired. He just owns this building and manages it for a couple of,  for a couple of tenants. Nice old guy like him. His name is, actually isn't, he, he's another David more David's in my life, surrounded by David's everybody. It's a whole thing.  So he's very nice.

[00:25:54] So we told him what we were doing. And like, I also know that when you want something, jump on it, especially in real estate. So we met with him, we got a sample lease that day, told him I was like, I'll call you in 24 hours and let you know, one way or the other call them in 24 hours, told them we'll take it done.

[00:26:10] I ended up finding out later that there were actually at least two other well-established local businesses that were also looking at that space. And David liked us the most. 

Corey Winter: [00:26:23] Do you know how long this space had been available for? Like how fast did it go?

Emily Thompson: [00:26:26] Not very long. It had not the business that had left it had very recently left it.

[00:26:31] I would say. It probably had not been empty for more than two months. Um, and he was doing some things in there. So I don't think he was really trying to lease it out immediately. He was kind of like holding off.  But I do know that at least two other local businesses, both of which have, have come to me and said this, that they had, that we ended up getting this base, that they were also looking 

Corey Winter: [00:26:56] Was it like a threatening way, like you took our space or it's like, you think our space.

Emily Thompson: [00:27:01] It's uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie. One of them was very friendly and was very excited to see that it went into, um, it went to a business that they liked. One of them was odd and I didn't like it, but that's a whole other conversation that we're not going to have publicly. So basically I've spent a long time thinking about where I want it to be and just like literally waiting.

[00:27:25] And it's funny because I've actually seen a couple of spaces over the years come available and I've thought, oh my God, is it time to make the job? Like, is it time to do it? Should David, should we go? And it's never felt quite right. And so I really loved that whenever we were ready to figure it out, this one space in this perfect space, I've shared this space with a couple of people, as I was like, as I got it and was loading it up with crystals and all of these things.

[00:27:53] And everyone's like, this is your space Emily. Like, this is what you've been waiting. This is made for Almanac. And so,  so it just sort of all fell into place really easily, but also very much so once I was ready to make the decision. I made the decision and took the steps to commit to it. We had a lease signed within two or three days of initially seeing it.

[00:28:16] And we're ready to go, which is why, like, it's so crazy to think that literally mid June, we realized that we needed to make a change. And by like the 22nd, 23rd of June, we had a lease signed. It was an immediate decision and like follow up action that resulted in this retail thing becoming a real thing.

Corey Winter: [00:28:40] Okay, good. That was going to be actually my question leading into our commercial break. So it seems like it was a pretty fast turnaround from, Hey, we need a space to actually getting the space. So what was  that transition? Like that, I guess about month long period. Was that stressful? Like, did you encounter any hookups with actually like moving into this space?

[00:29:02] Did you like set a opening date or just kinda like, Hey, when we're ready, let's open. What was that all? Like? What was that month like?

Emily Thompson: [00:29:08] Oh my God, it wasn't even a month. Not like that. How about we decided mid June that we wanted to have a retail space, that it was time to make that move. And we opened on July 9th.

[00:29:23] So there's less than a month. That is three weeks from, let's do this to open because guys I don't play,

[00:29:36] I do not play.  It was  stressful. I will say this move in this business and really any business was the least stressful endeavor I have ever embarked on.

Corey Winter: [00:29:53] Was it because it's excitement like, yay, we're finally doing this or it just kind of like, we got this, we know what we're doing. 

Emily Thompson: [00:29:59] I think it was like, we got this, but also just a total trust of the process.

[00:30:04] So the like, again, everything moves so quickly. Like I didn't have time to look around and think, oh, should I be stressed? I didn't leave. Like, that was a luxury I could not afford because I didn't have the time to even like consider stress really.  But also it was all happening. I don't want to say effortlessly because I don't for a second

[00:30:25] want anyone to think that it was not seriously hard work. I've put in more hours over the past month and a half. And I have in years, I have been on my feet more in the past month and a half than I had in years. It has been incredibly difficult work, but it all happened effortlessly. And even when there were hiccups, because you asked about hiccups.

[00:30:49] Yes. A couple of them,  a big one it's we're post 2020. Like there are,  there are supply chain issues, literally all over the board. So one big one was, you know, in my dream world, I would have like gone furniture shopping and bought all new fixtures and rugs and all of these things, but like can't, but I did decide that one, we were going to reuse a lot of this stuff that have been, that has been here in our showroom.

[00:31:21] So we knew we were going to reuse a couple of pieces, but I also knew that I needed a couple of key pieces of furniture. And so I decided, I like guys, I'm like a hardcore planner, if you haven't noticed in some ways,  I planned out the perfect trip to IKEA to get these, just these pieces that I needed.

[00:31:42] I was going to be able to literally walk in, grab the things and be out in 10 minutes, it was going to be epic. And then, so I planted it all out. I've measured everything. I know exactly how everything's going to fit and where it's going to go. I spent like probably 15 hours of my life planning out this perfect fast trip to get exactly what I needed.

[00:32:01] And I go to check the stuff nothing's in stock at my local IKEA.  So at that point we're like four days away from opening. I thought I was going to have this furniture in place. What in the world am I going to do? This was like my closest moment of stress. So next day, Dave and I go to a local antique store.

[00:32:20] Better solution right there, just right there.Already put together. And so there's just, that was that for me too, was just like a reminder of like, okay, what you wanted, what you thought you wanted is not available, but if you just let it go, what you need, and what's going to be better for you it's just right there.

[00:32:46] And that sort of ease that trust of the process has really defined this experience for me, unlike any other time in my work or life. And I still feel like I'm just riding the wave [00:33:00] and I love it. And because of that, I don't feel stressed. There is a ton of shit that I need to do still, like still now, but I don't feel stressed about it.

[00:33:09] I know it's going to get done. I know it's going to be fabulous. It's going to be hard work. Absolutely. But like, I'm not worrying about it. I feel with this more than ever that on a deep level, that a lot of people don't have conscious control of that worry is a choice.  And somehow I finally made it to a point, at least in this situation, I'm not worrying. It's fine. 

Corey Winter: [00:33:37] Amen.

Emily Thompson: [00:33:43] I love it. 

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Corey Winter: [00:35:38] All right, so we've worked our way from the beginnings of Almanac all the way through. Just finding a retail space and moving in. Let's talk about opening weekend. 

Emily Thompson: [00:35:50] Ah, okay. You didn't ask about, you did ask about timelines, one of the, or how do we chose like opening day? Right. So I knew that I [00:36:00] knew that we could get everything moved in pretty easily.

[00:36:02] I will say I opened a store in nine days. So we signed the lease around the 24th ish of June. We had keys, he went ahead, went ahead and gave us keys. We didn't really do much. David actually even took a trip to the beach right after that. Right. He went to, he went to the beach and I was like, good, go enjoy yourself because you're not going to have a vacation for the foreseeable future.

[00:36:23] We just were opening a retail store, have fun Honey.  I stayed here and did a staycation more or less. I did a little bit of work.  But I did take some time for myself because again, I knew that for the foreseeable future, I'd be busting my ass, getting shit done. So I rested a little bit. And didn't really get started on anything until July 1st.

[00:36:49] The thing with retail and having a physical space like that is every day that you're not open, it's costing. So I wanted to get things together as soon as possible and get open as soon as possible. I also, I opened a store in nine days, but really guys, I just moved to a store. Right. I already had a store.

[00:37:12] This show where, what was happening in the being boss office was a store already. Everything already had price tags. We already had like, like point of sale systems in place. We already knew like all the things that we needed to do because we'd been doing it for months in this space. So we spent a couple of days packing something that did grind my gears quite a lot is thinking about literally packing hundreds of crystals, wrapping every single individual one spending two days to do it, just to turn around.

[00:37:41] And for two days unwrapping every single crystal that you just spent two days wrapping. That was a little obnoxious.  No, I don't think any of them broke. Cause we wrap them very, very well. So we moved everything in, got everything situated. And we had sat down whenever we signed the lease and decided that we wanted to get it open and ASAP.

[00:38:03] We're looking at a couple of dates and decided that obviously the new moon is the best date open this door. So the new moon was July 9th, which was also my birthday, which also just felt a little perfect.  So we wanted to do a really quick turnaround. On the new moon on my birthday, let's get it open.

[00:38:23] So we chose the ninth. For about two weeks prior, as soon as we picked a date, we made some, some little printed flyer, like postcard things that we took to the markets that we go to every single, every single week, so that we could tell all of the local people there that were coming to, you know, buy their tomatoes and candles, that they could come to our opening on July 9th.

[00:38:48] And we otherwise just kind of did it organically and easily and, and opened it.  That weekend was amazing. We had so many people show up and the most fabulous thing about it was only about half of them knew that we were there. The, in that, that was opening weekend. The other half were just from Google or foot traffic.

[00:39:17] So it was really interesting to see people walk in and be like, oh, this is such a cool store. How long have you guys been here? It would be like today, literally today is the first day welcome. And that happens and delight and it continues to happen a whole lot. So it was a really great opening weekend.

[00:39:32] We were open all weekend on Saturday. We David and I did both like David was at the market. I was at the shop. He was literally sending people from the market to the shop to come shop crystals.  And that was really fun. So it's just, it was a really fantastic weekend. All of my friends came to support me.

[00:39:52] I had people, I mean, it was also my birthday, so I had people calling and texting and like, it was, it was very energetically, exciting. Isn't excitement, always energetic. It may have been a little more, 

Corey Winter: [00:40:06] No. Cause I can be like super excited about laying in bed. So I wouldn't really imagine that's energetic.

Emily Thompson: [00:40:12] Yeah. It was very different than the excitement of laying in bed. For sure. You are correct. So it was, it was incredibly exciting. I loved it. It was,  it was a really great time when everything was done and, and I had a couple of friends, they were like, are you really going to be able to do this? And just a couple of days and yeah, I did. 

Corey Winter: [00:40:32] High five.

[00:40:34] Okay, so you're in the space and you actually mentioned something earlier in a Being Boss team meeting that the transition from online only to a physical store kind of felt like starting a whole new business, even though Almanac has been around for years. Can you tell me a little bit more about that and why you felt like that?

Emily Thompson: [00:40:56] For sure. So it's funny. I usually experience this the other [00:41:00] way around where I have helped brick and mortar stores get online. And I see them having to build a whole other business. There is a whole other set of processes that are required to literally accomplish the same end, right? Like you have to do everything differently.

[00:41:19] And so it is a completely other business that you're building.  Whenever you are changing the delivery mechanism, basically from people walk in and buy the thing, versus people go to your website and buy the, you have to ship it out. I'm experiencing it the other way around. And granted I had the little bridge of like the showroom here to like help me create some of those processes and even our markets, because a lot of those processes are, are transitioning over to the shop.

[00:41:51] However, there is this huge amount of other systems that we're currently building and funnily enough, they're not even necessarily around.  I almost said e-commerce, but that's online. They're not commerce.

[00:42:10] It's not even around the commerce of it. It's around the management of inventory. 

Corey Winter: [00:42:14] Okay. Let me actually pause you right there. So I know when you first started Almanac, you actually went with the e-commerce platform Shopify with like even years ago, like you said, you were planning for the eventual need to have a retail store.

[00:42:31] And he knew  that Shopify had a point of sale system already built in. So like you were like, even back when you were only going to be online only you knew that Shopify would help you transition into online or in person selling. So as that kind of helped smooth things over. And what was the missing piece transitioning into retail?

Emily Thompson: [00:42:53] Absolutely. Yes. And this is like, this is back when I sold websites. Whenever I would hear like a, a baby boss come in and be like, I just want like the most basic side on the most basic platform, like cool. But like, what is your vision for your business? And I definitely kept that in mind, in the very beginning and chose Shopify, as you said for the purpose that at the time, it was literally the only system that fully integrated online sales and then IRL point of sell, even though I wasn't doing well, I used it for the Poplar shop literally in month two.

[00:43:28] However, that was very important for that. Decision-making even if I couldn't fully utilize it, because I know how awful it is to change systems, right. To make a big upgrade. It was an investment that I made then to keep from having to deal with the pain and headache of changing it at any point in the future.

[00:43:49] So I did that very grateful that I did continuing to use Shopify. They do not sponsor us. Those Shopify feel free to hit me up. I'm still looking to court you for sure, because it has been a really, really great system. The thing that we are the whole that we are currently seeing in our systems that we are working to sort of build is around inventory management, between what is now three different locations.

[00:44:26] And by three different locations. I mean, we have a shop where there is most of our inventory and where we plan to fulfill online retail orders. We have our warehouse, which previously has been called our maker studio, but we're just going to call it the warehouse. Now it's something that's going through a name change at the moment.

[00:44:49] We have our warehouse, which is where we do make all of our things. It's where candles will move from. Actually it's where we're receiving everything. So we'll receive it into Almanac and then transfer it to the shop.  The warehouse is also where we're, we are fulfilling wholesale orders, so we still have a big arm of wholesale.

[00:45:12] And we will be fulfilling those orders from our warehouse, as well as supplying the store with more candles as needed and other things. And then we also have this third location that is our market set up. And so there's this whole other bulk of inventory that exists. It's funny, it's technically in the warehouse at the moment, but it's sort of allocated in this one little corner and it's the stock that David takes or whoever takes from the warehouse to the market.

[00:45:44] And it's always been a little fluid and especially when the showroom was here, because like, if we need something just right down the hall, it's like four doors down. It was very easy. But now we're in a place where actually recently I was looking through some things and I was saw that we were supposed to have four highlight ones, all things.

[00:46:04] I only saw three, highlight ones. I later realized that there was a highlight one here and all that to say, we have to, like, we have to divert differentiate stock between these three locations and create the systems for transferring stock around as it goes so that we can fulfill our retail orders. So we can fulfill our wholesale orders so that we can do the market and literally ship out from there.

[00:46:31] From two of those three places. So we are currently in a wonderful situation of filling out that in guys. I love it. I literally lost so much time today, lost track of so much time today because I was down in the warehouse and we were figuring out the systems for  accepting new products and transferring them to the store and what it was going to look like when we needed to move candles from one place to the other, I'm eating it up and I love it.

[00:46:58] Absolutely love it. But that's currently the hole that I'm feeling and it feels like building a whole other business. This expansion has required a huge expansion,  in the systems that make us run. 

Corey Winter: [00:47:11] So the takeaway from that is that you enjoy the chaos. Okay.

Emily Thompson: [00:47:17] I enjoy bringing order to the chaos. I hate the chaos.

Corey Winter: [00:47:21] It's just another way of saying you're the chaos. Okay. 

Emily Thompson: [00:47:25] I enjoyed taking the chaos and making it order full.  But it is, it's a ton of fun. I find myself, I love business, guys. I will talk about business all day, but I love doing business and I love my candles and my crystals, but I love building the business.

[00:47:45] That is my candles and crystals.  And this whole situation setting up the shop and I have definitely spent the past several weeks.  Well, I guess it's only two weeks. It feels like it's been 14 years.  But I've spent the past two weeks working a lot at the shop so that I can build the systems that's going to help us there.

[00:48:04] Cause even think like, you know, say we're at the shop and we realize we're low on winter candles. How are we telling the warehouse that we need candles. And then what does that fulfillment process look like? Um, I also had to, or I got to train at my first sales associate the other day, and I never thought about this, but she was like, what's the difference between an amethyst druse and amethyst specimen,

[00:48:26] and that thing that looks like the moon. And I was like, oh shit, okay. Gonna have to like, build some systems around really educating you about crystal shapes, not even like what they are and what their properties are, but what we call a wand versus an obelisk or what is a druse versus a specimen, which is a druse, but more expensive.

[00:48:49] So it's, it's been a trip guys. It has been a trip and I have so much wonderful time that I absolutely love thinking about how this business works in this new expanded capacity and building the systems that make it work so that everyone can do their job. 

Corey Winter: [00:49:08] So you mentioned to me earlier, you actually mentioned this to the entire Being Boss team earlier today that you found yourself not wearing crystals anymore.

[00:49:19] And you think it's because you are in your store, surrounded by crystals all the time. So how does that, do you think that's an actual thing or you just maybe just tired of wearing jewelry in general? Or how does this play into maybe the boundaries that you are maybe subconsciously setting for yourself now that you are constantly in your business?

Emily Thompson: [00:49:39] Corey, that's a good question. Okay. 

Corey Winter: [00:49:44] Take that question wherever you want to. I was just, 

Emily Thompson: [00:49:47] I love it. I really might not have time to put on jewelry. That really might be part of it.  But I don't even think that's it. I really think there is something to be said around, like just the energetics that I am surrounded myself with because even when the crystals were here in the, in the, in my office, they were like in a different room.

[00:50:10] And like, I wasn't looking at them. They were just there. I would like walk past them a couple of times a day, but I wasn't like hanging out with them. In the shop, and the shop is,  I think about 600 square feet that actually might be big for what it is. It's a tiny little space guys. I love it very much.

[00:50:28] But being in there, looking at them, I definitely find myself needing to wear less of them. I don't think I've quite wrapped my head around what all of that means just yet. But it is something that I've noted. Like I'm literally sitting here today with zero jewelry on only because my nose ring is still in, but no earrings, like no rings, no necklaces.

[00:50:50] I usually am like more or less covered and crystals in some capacity.  But that's the thing, I don't know. I will say that like, just the vibes in there are literally unlike any I have ever experienced. I love being in my store so much, guys. It is so good. People come in and they are just like, enamored. 

[00:51:10] Like they walk in with like this, like I'm imagining it's what people would look like if they weren't scared when they walked into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, like just like this look of like wonder and amazement. The store is not completely signed out yet. Like, we don't have all the signage in place just yet that I want to have in place.

[00:51:33] So for a lot of people that are just like, they see like some crystals painted on a window and they were like, well, what's in there and they walk in and it's like, oh my God, it's so great in here. I keep getting so much feedback about how just like just the best vibes. Everyone's just like, this is good vibes, good vibes in here.

[00:51:52] And I'm like, yes, thank you for that. Anyway. So I think that those good vibes,  have maybe kept me from meeting crystals as much as I used to. 

Corey Winter: [00:52:01] Well, after I asked the question, I was kinda like, maybe it is a subconscious boundary thing because I have all these awesome, like custom build gaming computers.

[00:52:13] Cause I,  I've always been, I'm going somewhere with this. I promise. I've always been a pretty hardcore gamer, but now that I'm working, what feels like 24 7, but full time on these computers for work. I don't want to actually use these computers for gaming because when I'm at my desk at my computer, I don't really

[00:52:34] want to be here because it feels like work, even though it would be doing something fun. So maybe that's kind of like why you're not wearing crystals because maybe crystals feel like work now. 

Emily Thompson: [00:52:45] It's funny you say that I'm literally holding a crystal, right? Maybe, but I don't think that's it. I don't think I actually, I was, I was talking about this to a friend of mine.

[00:52:55] I had thought about this again until just now. I also think that like me being in there with all those crystals so much, and there's so many of them that sometimes I need to just like, be me, like whatever, I'm not there. I just like, I want to be uncrystaled me. Maybe that's what? I don't know. I don't, but also very much

[00:53:15] I probably just don't have time to put it on. My brain is literally doing a million other things other than decorating myself. 

Corey Winter: [00:53:22] Well, speaking of decorations,  you almost transitioned into this about actually decorating the space. Let's end this episode on a fun note about you have this awesome space. It's all your own now, how do you decorate it to make it wonderful if not only you, but the customers.

[00:53:39] And so,  let's talk about signage. So you mentioned that you may be like painted something on the windows. 

Emily Thompson: [00:53:46] So, because we opened so quickly, I didn't have a ton of time to do all the traditional signage that you would see in a retail space. I will, it's like we're getting quotes and doing all the things.

[00:53:57] But I had to do like some immediate turnaround. And so one of the things I did is I painted, leaves and crystals on our front windows so that people would see that something was happening there also, you should probably come in. We also have like a chalkboard sign that we have used for other things that we sit out front, whenever we're doing.

[00:54:16] Whenever we are open, I've ordered like an open flag. We've gotten estimates for a new awning, like we're doing all of the things.  But we had to just like really do what we could do really fast. And it was very minimal. So even all the things that we've done this far have been without proper signage on our retail location.

[00:54:37] I'm very excited to see what happens  whenever all of that proper signage is in place. And whenever it comes to decorating it again, I've been dreaming about this, my entire life guys, my entire life. So,  I immediately, once I knew this was going to be a thing, I went to a number of my Pinterest boards that I have been pinning things to for years.

[00:55:03] I, you know, I also like I have a good eye for stuff. I'm not a curator because they have bad taste.  I'm a curator, cause I think I have really great taste. And so it was, it was bringing in a lot of the pieces that we were already utilizing that were already working for us.  And was finding a couple of key pieces.

[00:55:22] I got some really great bookshelves and this really fabulous antique it's called, it's called a server like this old piece of furniture is that we've turned into or like our checkout counter.  We've just done some really cool stuff with some really basic stuff and could do it easily because the space is so small.

[00:55:41] And I, the space also has two walls that are exposed brick. That's easy. That always looks amazing.   it has some really shitty like,  wood linoleum or like wood playing stuff. That's like very worn and bad, but like, You don't look at it because there's so many crystals, it totally does have drop ceilings.

[00:56:05] And I think there's probably a special place in hell, reserved for the person who invented drop ceiling.  But you don't look at it because the crystal, the crystals do a lot of the heavy lifting, not gonna lie.  But also a lot of it was just furniture that I already had and a vision that I've been formulating for years.

Corey Winter: [00:56:25] So furniture you already had Celia on our Being Boss team really wants me to talk about the door table. 

Emily Thompson: [00:56:32] This door table is good. 

Corey Winter: [00:56:33] What is the story with the door table? 

Emily Thompson: [00:56:35] So a couple of years ago, I get like I'm playing a long game guys. If you're not picking up on this today, I'm telling you clearly playing a long game and I've, I think I'm good at playing a long game, especially as a creative.

[00:56:50] We tend to want things here and now, but I've definitely learned over the years, the importance of it. Biting my time. Um, so a couple of years ago, David and I were walking around the neighborhood and a neighbor, literally a block away from us was throwing out this beautiful door. He was putting on the side of the road.

[00:57:10] It was painted this interesting blue color. Um, so it really caught my eye. But what I really loved was like the woodwork detail in this door. And I was like, are you throwing that out? And he was like, he was like, yeah, you want it? Absolutely. Yes. I want it. It was this heavy door, David and I walked at the block to our house.

[00:57:34] He was like, what are you going to do with this? And I was like, it's going to go on the Almanac shop. And he was like, okay, this 

Corey Winter: [00:57:42] This sounds like this sounds like a conversation Chip and Joanna Gaines would have. 

Emily Thompson: [00:57:47] I love that. So,   we put it in the shed and which annoy David.  Our shed is full of David shit, but this one door that's mine annoyed him, but that's a whole thing.

[00:57:59] He got over it, he got over, but it's literally been sitting in my shed,  getting spiderwebs all over it for probably two or three years. And as soon as we had the lease sign, I told David, I was like, it's time to get out that door. He's like, where are you talking about? He had totally forgotten about it, but I like the first thing I thought about was that damn door.

[00:58:20] And then it was time to do what I wanted to do with it. So we got out the door, we had to, we had to like put some wood on the ends. And like the top, if you were holding it up like a door, it would be the top and bottom, but because I'm using it as a table, it is the edges, like the sides of the table. I had to put strips of what on it,  had to paint, it had to patch a couple of holes,  and had to buy legs for, it, had to buy a glass top for it, like had to turn it into a table, but all in all was less expensive than if we'd bought a table that size.

[00:58:56] And it has a story and it's gorgeous. Like the woodwork guys in this table is impeccable.  And it was the first piece of furniture that we put in the Almanac store. So I had been saving it for years. It was always part of my vision. And now it is there. Is a centerpiece cause there's kind of that server that, and then antique server that I got is probably the centerpiece, but this table is like centerpiece number two. 

Corey Winter: [00:59:20] I think you're going to have to post, if you haven't already a picture of this on the Almanac, Instagram page or else, our listeners are going to be upset.

[00:59:27] Because they can't see it. So make you do that.

Emily Thompson: [00:59:30] I will do that. 

Corey Winter: [00:59:32] Alright, we are out of time. So I have one last question for you and I want to do this for literally years. What's making you feel most boss? 

Emily Thompson: [00:59:39] Oh my God. Corey, I love that question. No, it's making me feel most boss.

[00:59:48] I love it. When my brain gets to solve a problem that is making me feel really boss these days. And I actually described this in the team meeting today, I was telling you guys this, I feel like Almanac, it has turned into a very well-oiled machine, right? Like it was doing it. Like I, up until a month and a half ago spent very little time at Almanac.

[01:00:17] I was definitely just the CEO. I was showing up once a week to make decisions and make sure everyone was on task. And otherwise I was checked out like the day-to-day stuff happened without me, very well-oiled machine with this new retail store. I feel like my little star has exploded. It is this like exploding star.

[01:00:42] And it is my job as the CEO to wrap my arms around it. And to wrangle it back into of the little, well-oiled machine slash star. Cause I'm mixing metaphors here that it was before, but like in this new version of what it is. And I mean today, I literally got lost in time, figuring out inventory strategies, guys.

[01:01:09] I loved it. Time flew because I was having fun.  And for me, I definitely feel like that is where I'm at my best is when there are situations like this, where my business is chaos and I can bring order to it. I can put the systems in place that make it work.  So when I am being the CEO, basically I feel most boss.

Corey Winter: [01:01:34] Amen. We're out of time.  I feel like we could have a whole other episode about interviewing you about Almanac.  Oh, well, that's what making your businesses for.  So listeners, if you want to hear more about this, if you want me to ask more questions, write in, write your Congressman, write us letters.

[01:01:53] Email us, tweet at us, Instagram us, let us know that you want me to be the new host of Being Boss. You just want Emily to sit on sidelines. 

Emily Thompson: [01:02:04] Indeed, indeed. I have a shop girl role to fill. I just want to go sell crystals.  I appreciate you coming and doing this Corey and for sure, if anyone wants to hear more about this, I talk about Almanac on the Making of Business podcasts, exclusive to the Clubhouse members of the Being Boss Community.

[01:02:22] Every single month, they are not surprised to hear these things and they will be hearing much more about it.  But as we continue to doing big things, we may come here and talk about it occasionally as well, because Almanac is doing shit guys, it's fun. 

Corey Winter: [01:02:37] Go buy some crystals, find the website. Find the address on Alamanac supply?

[01:02:43] What is it? almanacsupplyco.com.

Emily Thompson: [01:02:45] Indeed. 

Corey Winter: [01:02:46] All right, we're good. Where can they find more about you? 

Emily Thompson: [01:02:49] Perfect. Actually crystals candles, all the things almanacsupplyco.com. I'm Almanac supply co on Instagram, 112 Woodland avenue. Isn't that adorable? Woodland avenue in Chattanooga, if you want to pop by in sniff our candles IRL.

Corey Winter: [01:03:05] That's it. Okay, 

Emily Thompson: [01:03:07] You can do that. That's so that's okay. Thanks, Corey. This has been fun. 

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