Or, Why I Won't Be Re-opening this Summer.
Sorry for yet another pandemic update post, but with shelter in place orders being lifted in Oklahoma this week and non-essential businesses starting to re-open as soon as Friday, I thought I should probably post an official update here so my folks know where I'm at with all of this.
I've mentioned this in passing a few times over the past month, but I've officially decided that I won't be re-opening my brick and mortar shop to the public at least until school starts again in the fall.
Perhaps it seems like I'm overreacting, or maybe we're on the same page, but either way, please know that it's definitely not because I don't miss you or don't want to see you in person!
It's simply not worth the risk for me.
Here are a few reasons why:
👯♀️ 1. My shop is too small for proper social distancing. 👯♀️
If I remember correctly from agonizing over the floor plan last summer as I was buying furniture and fixtures, it's just 11 feet wide. With shelves, that's about 9-10 feet of free space. So that would make the front "shop" portion about a 9" x 11" square-ish rectangle at best. I'm not great at math but I'm pretty sure that's not enough room for 2 people to stand 6 feet apart from one another.
I suppose technically I could open by appointment only, one customer at a time, but a) I do not have time for that (it's so much faster to ship you a box!) And, b) I super do not have time to sanitize every tester bottle after each customer. Sadly, I should also mention that refills are off the table until things are really back to normal.
Remember that just because restrictions are easing doesn't mean that this virus is going away any time soon, and I would never want my tiny shop to be the reason a bunch of my favorite people got sick. It's just not worth it!
😷 2. What fun is a perfume shop while you're masked up anyway? 😷
I mean, right?? If I were to open I would require everyone to wear a mask, and I'm sorry, but that just takes all of the fun out of it for me. The whole point of coming in to my shop is to smell everything, pick it up, try it on, etc., and do you really want to be picking up and touching/smelling/trying on things after everyone else right now? No. You don't. It's also freaking hard to communicate with half of your face covered, which is the other main reason for coming in to the shop...
🙅🏻♀️ 3. I don't want to get sick! 🙅🏻♀️
If I remain isolated I reduce my own risk of infection. If I get sick I can't work and I can't supply you with the twinkle and I can't take care of my son and I can't have money to live and also there's the whole thing about potentially dying. Not super into that idea either.
Since no one (doctors, scientists, Bill Gates, politicians, etc.,) seems to have any idea what's happening or what to do about it, I've got to go with my gut here, and my gut says "No thanks, I'm good!"
🌴 4. Honestly? I need a summer break. 🌴
Not from work! I love the work and I'll still be open online!
Not from you! Again, I love you...
I need a break from the retail schedule, and this feels like my chance to finally take it. I've been hustling non-stop for the past 4 and a half years. Nights, weekends, early mornings unpacking every tiny little glass bottle at the farmer's market and then packing it all up again in the afternoon and then unpacking and putting it all away when I got home later that night... I've been on my feet all day every day, and on my laptop replying to your emails all night every night.
While most of the world just spent the last 6 weeks at home with their families, I've been hauling my kid to my shop every day and working harder than ever, so I'm not ready to get back to "normal" just yet.
I've always loved sharing my products with my community in person and it's always going to be something I want to continue to do, but there's a time and a place for everything, and this particularly strange set of circumstances feels like a good time for me to take a step back and work at my own pace for a change. I don't want to take time off - I'll definitely still be working - I just want the opportunity to work on my own schedule without worrying about being available to accommodate retail shoppers at the moment. Even the thought of scheduling curbside pickups feels like too much for me right now. (Like I said, I still heart you, and I hope this makes sense and isn't offending anyone!)
I want to slow down for a couple of months and feel what it's like to have some work/life balance for a change. I want to sleep in on Saturdays if I want or leave the shop for lunch if I want or take off early to walk in the park with my kiddo or whatever I/we want. I work very, very hard and I think I've earned the right to take a summer "off" from the retail hustle at this point, especially given the circumstances.
👩🏻💻 5. Also, surprise! Turns out my business is 100% NOT dependent on being open to the public. 👩🏻💻
In fact, my sales have almost doubled since I closed my doors.
Yeah. Y'all are basically giving me zero incentive to re-open. LOL!
But seriously, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all for shopping online. Thank you for being flexible and hopping over to the website instead of holding out on me and waiting for everything to "get back to normal." I promise I'll keep trying to make it fun and keep thinking of better ways to share my products with you even though I can't have you in the shop!
One thing I think is important to note - the businesses who are re-opening right now are doing it because it's what they have to do to survive. I'm lucky because my business was already web based, but lots of businesses rely on face to face interaction and that's ok too. I don't shade anyone for deciding to re-open now as long as they feel they can do so safely, and I think it's important to continue to support local businesses who need your help as best you can. For me, I'm good to keep the party going online and I hope you can understand why. If not, then I guess you can go find some other Twinkle Apothecary to shop at... oh, wait... looks like you're stuck with my website. 🤣
I'll reassess everything in August when my son goes back to school (I hope?!) and we (also hopefully) get a better sense of how this thing plays out. I'll definitely add back local pickup in the fall, and we'll see how we feel about coming in to touch all of the bottles at that point... 😬
Until then, don't you worry, I'm going to be keeping the free samples and online promotions flowing. I've also got lots of new products in the works that I'm very excited to share!
I'll be posting on social media, but remember that email is still my preferred method of communication. Facebook and instagram are somewhat useful marketing tools, (kinda,) but they're not actually very helpful at managing customer service issues from a business owner's perspective. If you have questions or need help with something please email me so I can easily find your message, look up your account by your actual name, (not your @handle,) and respond while I'm working at my desk!
I think that's all for now, but stay tuned to the blog for more updates as needed.
Thanks again for being here with me you guys!
- Stefanie -