The art of “arriving” in small business is simple, but not easy. It’s rewarding, but exhausting. It’s knowing everyone in the community and yet feeling lonely. A customer came in shortly after my transition into this business and asked me what my challenges were. During our chat he recommended a book that had changed his life and contributed to many successful business endeavors throughout his years. Although it was out of print at the time, he said he would find it and send it to me. A week later, he did. It’s called “The E Myth Revisited”. The customer wrote a very encouraging note inside the cover with his phone number and said to reach out for business advice, that he’d be glad to help. I read the book right away and eagerly started implementing ideas from the author. I wanted to make our business a turn-key operation. A machine. I started looking at the colors I used throughout BB, looking for consistency and innovation and researching our demographic; I tried not to indulge my preferences (had I been doing that?). I studied the systems I had in place and looked at the business as the product. I asked myself, “What do customers feel when they walk out of BB?”
We were already doing a lot of things right. But one thing the book didn’t talk about was being at the mercy of the spending trend and how to compete with online shopping. No matter how well we show our customers love and have the right lighting matched with affordable prices and consistent quality merchandise, we may never be what one would consider a “lucrative” business. If someone asked you, “Do you want to pay a whole lot of money for the opportunity to possibly make some money?”, you would probably laugh out loud. This may sound cliché, but my favorite part about the boutique is personal interactions. It truly is. I get to blow up balloons for young children, teach shoplifting teenagers about integrity and restoration of character, listen to stories about why people have relocated to Colorado, hear about breakups and proposals, offer a platform for change, shake lots of hands and hug even more. Most of the day, I don’t talk about fashion at all but about life and what brought people into Barracuda Bazaar.
Honestly, I never dreamed of owning a women’s boutique. I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. I married and had five amazing children. I didn’t go to business school. Someone recently told me, however, that what I have experienced in small business is more of an education than I ever could have paid for. I have experienced loss, struggle and being taken advantage. I have also become strong through these experiences. I am so fortunate that my eldest daughter IS fashion personified and is in her element when we are at trade shows hand picking every piece to bring back for you, our Barracuda Babes. I have had the most amazing people come on board with the business projects; people I can’t afford to pay, but who believe in what we’re about and share their expertise without strings attached, out of kindness. People step up and always surprise me in the best ways, over and over again.
These last few months, we have been working hard to launch a website that will allow fans of Barracuda Bazaar far and wide to support the relationships that we have fostered over the years. Among our fans is a loyal Babe in Alaska who makes our single best sale, every month! Many other women love BB from afar by making their dollars count and supporting our small business by purchasing over the phone. Beginning this month, we have the opportunity to conveniently share the fun of BB with you, whether you live on the Avenue in Old Colorado City, in Alaska, or in Chicago, IL (that’s for you, Abbie!). We hope you love our new look as much as we do. We hope you feel encouraged by our desire to be more than just a women’s boutique that sells beautiful & affordable clothes. Because life is short and God is good. If you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you stop by for a hug and super cute purse. But, if you’re miles away, be sure to check out our new website, I bet you just might find something you can’t live without.