My nerves are shot!
Less than 30 days to go before we open the doors of our first brick and mortar home décor’ store in North Wilmington... and I’m a nervous wreck. Instead of sleeping, my mind goes over details and preparations. I make lists and go over them multiple times a day. I go over and over our budget, our inventory, and our marketing plans. And, I strategize, plan and forecast.
After spending more than 25 years in corporate America in executive positions, opening The Vintage Pantry Co. is a departure from the structured, stable life I vuilt for myself. I used to live in my office 10 hours a day either meeting with business leaders, working with colleagues on strategies and proposals, or creating processes that would enhance the lives of employees or improve efficiencies. This left little time for me to nurture the creative ideas that were bubbling inside of me. In those days, I channeled my creativity into decorating my own home, making custom beaded jewelry pieces, and collecting vintage items that I dreamed of upcycling or repurposing.
Last year the stars aligned and I found myself in a once-in-a-lifetime position where I could make a career change without too much financial risk. I jumped at the chance. When my business partners, Leah Shank and Blair Lee, joined me in this venture, I was even more excited about seeing this dream come true. I put aside structure to create something new for me, my partners, and our future customers. I traded a job that I could do easily after 25 years for becoming a newcomer to retailing, a student of small business, and a novice of social consciousness. I took a chance and it makes my stomach do daily flip flops.
What I’m not stressing about is the experience we are building for our customers. In my mind, I already see the stylized displays with fun and unique products. I smell the woodsy scents of our candle partners and Citrus soaps from Earthen Vibes. I feel the warmth of the smiles and imagine the great conversations and collaborations with customers learning what they love and helping them find their style.
I’m not worried about the working relationship with my business partners. These two fantastic women have committed as much to this venture as I have.
Leah Shank has her eye on future trends in style, color, and lifestyle. Leah understands social media and has a great way of staging our products to showcase them in our posts. I admire her warmth and compassion. Leah takes a personal interest in her customers and goes above and beyond to understand their needs and exceed expectations.
Blair Lee is the true designer. It is her eye for detail, artistic talent, and ability to visualize an interior that truly sets our business apart. Blair has a classic personal style that is as appealing as her commitment to the environment and her community. Blair crafts our marketing strategy in addition to leading our merchandising.
Did I mention these two talented women were my daughters? I could not be more proud of them. It has been so satisfying to work side by side my children who are incredible entrepreneurs.
While I am not concerned about The Vintage Pantry Co, I am anxious about making sure we do our part to be good citizens. Our focus on recycling items and repurposing vintage items demonstrates our environmental commitment. We also carry products that are environmentally friendly, made of recycled materials and organic and chemical free. We will continue to look for products that will appeal to our customers that meet our eco-friendly goals.
I do stress about making sure we are furthering our community. Locally, we source products from artisans here in the Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania area. We highlight the talents of these artists and give them a platform to sell their wares and give demonstrations and/or host classes for our customers to share their passions. We purchase items through the Fair Trade agreement from countries like Senegal and Vietnam. These products are stylish, handmade, are high quality and the proceeds help women and children in these countries who benefit from our support.
I’m not afraid; I’m excited. My nervousness comes from that felling of butterflies in your stomach when you finally get a chance to do what you’ve always wanted to do. The freedom scares me, excites me and absorbs all my thoughts. I stress because I want it to be perfect. I worry because its new and different. I stress, worry and feel like I’m going to throw up because this is my dream. Dreams do come true!
I hope you will follow us as we prepare to open in coming weeks. We invite you to visit our store and will keep you posted about our grand opening and tease you with photos of all the incredible vintage finds and everyday essentials you will find through our doors. Please join our mailing list for a special discount on your first purchase and to keep informed of our events and specials.
I look forward to meeting you with nervous anticipation!
The Vintage Pantry Co is a home décor and lifestyle store. Through our doors customers will find unique vintage items and everyday essentials for their homes. We have created a sensory experience where customers can come in, linger, shop, get inspired and find their own personal style.