Why I Started Shop Girl:
In February of 2013 I received the dreaded yet anticipated call from my boss; she was inviting me back to the company I had loved since my childhood, and had dedicated my entire being to for the preceding five years. It was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make, but for reasons explored in a previous blog, I politely declined. If retrospect is anything, it’s honest, and in much quiet time with my darling newborn to reflect on the course my career had taken I eventually discovered the core of my, what seemed at the time, insurmountable problems within my job.
With time on my hands, and a need to reach out I decided I would write a series of training manuals that would assist other smaller to medium sized store chains in developing a universal training standard that could tailor to their unique shops. This led me to want to write a training guide that could be purchased off the rack, thus making it available to anyone. Something that a District Manager or Store Level Manager could pick up if they felt there was no real training structure to follow provided by their company, or a sales associate if they needed some serious sales boot camp. In Winter of 2013, when the book for sales associates was near complete my husband was kind enough to reach out to a friend of his whose parents were both in publishing and who just happened to serve on the board of the NRF. We asked him for the best advice on pushing out my manual. He suggested of course a blog, to prove to publishers that I was worthy, and so the work on the books ended, and the self-promoting articles began.
It took me sometime to find my voice, and I was quick to discover that the following of lost management and hopeful sales associates was only a fantasy. That indeed any retail related blogs would be bitter towards their customer and hateful towards their job paths. They would choose a public forum (Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram, and Twitter) as their therapy, not considering the viral attitudes of customer hate, and sales associate bashing they were releasing. This left my blog of retail positivity in a void. Though my readership was obviously small, the readers I did have, commended me and awarded me for my one-of-a-kind retail perspective. But over time the heartwarming and strange customer experience well was running dry just as my beautiful second daughter was born. Suddenly the time to write ceased, and for nearly a year my blog was stranded, unloved, and alone.
It happened one any-day Wednesday when I found myself on a very rare afternoon without my three tots. I decided instead of waiting the grueling 30 minutes in the only one of two local Starbucks drive thru’s, I would instead wander in. I watched the baristas with envy, such purpose, basking in the pinnacle of every customer service employee’s dream, and then took a moment to glance up at a sign that hung above the back area:
And I was inspired to return home and share this ray of enlightenment in my One-Liner-Wednesday contribution for Lindaghill. Their mission, funny enough, worked, and I began to wonder what other purposes companies were utilizing to drive their success. This started, what I attempt to keep a weekly contribution and as the collection grew I was suddenly receiving search engine traffic like never before. This boost of one to two unsolicited views from mysterious strangers seeking the mission behind their khaki’s began to reawaken my drive to write.
Over the summer my husband and I were both laid off from the company we had worked for since my departure from my own career. This was more for my husband’s health than our company’s needs, but was still not easy to swallow. My husband and I chose to embrace the opportunity to grow closer as a family, travel with the tots, and rekindle a bond that had been lost in the chaos of his own extremely stressful but important career. Anyone who has read my guest post on A Momma’s View may have a glimpse into the wanderlust shared by my husband and I. While wandering the malls of Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville, I was transported back to my own family vacations, where malls used to ignite my passion and imagination. Malls weren’t about the sales or the crowds but instead the experience. I decided I wanted to relay that meaning to my followers, and so I launched the weekly mall reviews.
I also spent the summer and on through most of September as an opportunity to revisit an actual book. From the blog I learned my readers were more interested in my personal stories and less into training tactics. I didn’t necessarily scrap my manuals but I did gently move them aside as I began to write the memoir of my retail career. I’m at 50,000 words at this point and still have a few chapters to go. I’m taking this seriously, setting a deadline of submitting it to an editor by February, and hoping to begin the publishing process just in time to release my book for Christmas next year. ( A little gift to myself).
In the meantime, old followers have most likely noticed some changes on my blog menu and in my posting schedule.
Promised Weekly Posts:
- Mission Statements every Wednesday
- Mall Reviews every Thursday
- Food Court Cravings Photo Contest every Friday (I’m not giving up on this)
- Something Old (A post from Shop Girl past) every Sunday
Depending on my Week Posts:
- Retail Gossip every-ish Monday
- Blog Talk every-ish Tuesday
- Blog Share every-ish Saturday
What have you thought of the new lay out? The new menu? Anyone having any trouble navigating the departments?
And to my new followers that have piled in all at once, what was your first impression of my blog? What did you want from it compared to what you have received?
Until Next Time Fanboys and Girls–>