This week's guest is Barbara Mooney, owner of Daisy’s Mercantile, a boutique filled with necessities, frivolities, and embellishments for everyday life, located in Alameda, California. Barbara has always used her creative gifts in her business endeavors, first as a caterer and event planner, then a baker, and now a shopkeeper. When she was bit by the entrepreneur bug, it allowed her love of numbers and behind-the-scenes action to work hand in hand with her talents to create what Daisy’s has become today, and she never looked back. Michelle & Barbara delve into Barbara’s jump from retail to catering, her merchandising & display style, separating work/home, and her future plans on transitioning from a brick & mortar into 100% online with online classes. Barbara is truly a creative force and this episode really showcases her many talents.
ep-13-Daisy's Mercantile / Barbara Mooney
Michelle: Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier and this is the Retail Whore Podcast, The Stories and Lessons from the life and retail. Guys. Welcome back to the retail whore podcast. It is officially fall and I could not be happier as I sit here and look out my window and it is foggy and sort of sprinkling. And when you think about the fact that it has been over 100 degrees, when I leave the Valley for probably the last two months, I am beyond happy to see this weather right now and I'm also going to try and suck it up as much as I can because we will very quickly be in the midst of holiday setups here starting October 18th. We are responsible for my brand mc design collaboration for doing the decor for 14 of the Bristol Farms locations, and they do not just sprinkle around holiday decor. It is straight up holiday magic lit garland throughout the whole entire store lit garland on every end cap lit wreaths at every cash register. It really is beautiful to see this year. We're doing it a little bit earlier, I think, because last year so many people were at home and wanted to feel the Christmas spirit. So a lot of people this year, as far as retailers decided, might as well just keep going with it.
Michelle: The return obviously was very big for most of the retailer retailers because everybody wanted to be home and feel all the holiday bliss. So we are starting early this year, so I am trying to enjoy as much as I can of whatever fall I can have here in my backyard. So with that, today's guest is Barbara Mooney of Daisy's Mercantile. She has had the wildly successful store for the last 15 or 16 years. She has had articles done on her store from everything from Victoria Magazine to home accents today to stationery trends and to Gift and Deck magazine. She's known for her merchandising and display, and I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to interview her. She and I go back and forth on Instagram, messaging each other, talking about displays often. And it it is super, super exciting to me to be able to bring her to you guys today. For those of you who know her in the industry, you know, she has a phenomenal eye. So I am more than pleased to bring you Barbara Mooney from Daisy's Mercantile.
Michelle: Hi, Barbara. How are you? Nice to meet you.
Barbara: You too.
Michelle: Thank you for spending time with me. I really appreciate it, because I know you're very busy.
Barbara: Yeah, it's busy. I love it when people say, Oh, what are you doing this summer? There is no summer in retail there.
Michelle: Is it? It's really sad.
Michelle: Now, are you traveling already? This is.
Barbara: Yeah, I did Atlanta and I did L.A..
Michelle: How was Atlanta?
Barbara: Atlanta was great because there wasn't that many people. Yeah, so you could get through, but there was lots of ordering. Like the vendors I talked to were very happy.
Michelle: Yeah, it looked like there was energy, which is great.
Barbara: It was great. It was sad to see how many closed moved, but really good in other ways.
Michelle: Don't you come out here pretty soon?
Barbara: I we just got back from LA, we drove down OC Wednesday and then Friday we picked up our stones at the over 11 rock paradise.
Michelle: How big is that new warehouse? I heard it's insane.
Barbara: It is. But it's so organized. Like.
Michelle: Literally for it seems like months.
Barbara: Yeah. And she's like, we still got a lot to do, but you can just go through, pull your by the pounds, pull your intention card holders. Like it's just boom, boom, boom. It was so much faster.
Michelle: I heard it's the size of a Costco. Is that right?
Barbara: Yeah. I mean, that would not shock me.
Michelle: That is insane. I mean, you've seen her last place, right?
Michelle: Oh, yeah, yeah. The guy's head. Who? Because the guys, same guys work on that work in the store. And they said, you know, they're unpacking everything. And they said it's literally like it's almost like we've run out of room because she had it pack so tightly that now that it's like it's like, I guess a silly, silly worm, you open it up and just explodes. You said there's so much.
Barbara: And we got so much good stuff coming down the pike from them. Just. I was so inspired.
Michelle: Did you order the intention candles?
Barbara: And we did some at the show. I did some with Carla there. I just I no.
Michelle: Thank you. So I'm going to start with your first question, which I do with everybody. What was your first job and how old were you?
Barbara: My first job was when I was ten. Oh, my God. Yes. My mom worked for a small business owner who had about 75 employees. And he was one of these guys where, you know what, if your kid wants to earn money and everybody was always working overtime, bring them in on a Saturday, I'll give him something to do. And I literally counted pallets to make sure that people were returning their pallets. By the time I was 15, I had worked in every department, so I didn't have a license, but I knew what payroll setup was and what a confident, you know, the confidentiality rules of that. And I knew how to set up a purchase order system and what FIFO inventory was. I mean it was and I got paid to do it.
Michelle: Total education.
Barbara: That it was.
Michelle: That is literally like everybody. So the youngest person so far has been 13 and they've all been you know your typical I worked at a donut store I assumed they were not learning inventory control systems.
Barbara: It was just great because they would plop me in anywhere and I would just suck it in quietly and take it off. And ironically, that man had a second business and his business partner and that I'm married to his son now.
Michelle: Oh, I love it.
Barbara: Full circle. Totally full circle.
Michelle: Were you going to school still at the same time? Like.
Barbara: I would just work on Saturdays and then like two days after school here and there.
Michelle: Wow, that's amazing. That's definitely beat everybody.
Barbara: It is. It was you know, I didn't even realize until later how much I knew about stuff that nobody I just thought people knew that stuff. Yes. Normal 12 year old. Yeah, exactly. It was just I was so lucky because they were. Yeah, they were just great.
Michelle: Obviously, all that you carry, I mean, you understand it now and I think it's priceless now using I mean, obviously systems have changed, but, you know, having that education and being able to apply it now to business however many years later is just crazy.
Barbara: Yeah. You know, it reminds you that it doesn't matter. The business, they're all the same at the core.
Michelle: So I love that you worked at Contempo Casuals, being a wet seal girl that I am.
Barbara: Like, Yes.
Michelle: And then you went to work at Bloomingdales.
Barbara: So I would work at Bloomingdales at Christmastime because my whole family is from back east. So we would fly back for Christmas and they would take day workers, you know, the week before Christmas. You can imagine a Bloomingdales even in like late seventies, early eighties was nuts. So the week before I would get a day worker pass and work and gift wrap, clothing boxes lining, whatever. Madeline told me to do. I was petrified of Madeline. She had wrapped gifts for 40 years, and she would hit me. Shut up. You cut that too long. Boom. It was literally like a Catholic nun. Just. And then the week after, I worked in returns, and I just had to, like, hang and re steam and do all the stuff.
Barbara: Seems. But that was my always my Christmas extra money. And I thought it was so fancy.
Michelle: I skipped over contempo. I apologize, but that's okay. How old were you when you were at Contempo? So you.
Barbara: I got that job right when I was 16.
Barbara: Work permit and work permit. It was super close. Like, it wasn't far to go to school and stuff. I could get there in time and that mall was open till late. At the time it was 9:00, so I could work some afternoon hours and on the weekends and instantly, I mean, I took to it right away. And I think my knowledge of just like how you want to constantly turn inventory within like two weeks, they're like, okay, you're in charge. Just like run the counter when you're here.
Michelle: Yeah. I'm surprised you didn't redo their inventory systems.
Barbara: It was you knew how to do it. It was it was amazing, though, that I you know, I mean, immediately I'm like, if this one hasn't turned. So we're moving this here and we're doing this and and yeah, I mean, I still style my jewelry the same way they did because I worked.
Michelle: Did you so were you, like, hired as sales and then you just started kind of applying yourself to other other jobs, just kind of taking it on your own.
Barbara: I was literally hired as a cashier and they just assumed that I was going to be the extra set of hands. The mall was really popular, and so I was just going to be that second person behind the counter. And I just started, you know, they would somebody would get busy helping somebody. I'm like you, you should get these earrings. So with this, you know, I bought these earrings over here and this is going to look great with that shirt. And so then they're just like, Oh, no, you were meant to do this.
Michelle: How long were you there with them for?
Barbara: Two years. Two years.
Michelle: And was Bloomingdales right after that or was that.
Barbara: No, Bloomingdale's was every I just did Bloomingdales at Christmas time from the time I was 15 till I was through college.
Michelle: And so so I'm a Christmas weirdo. Like I'm born four days after Christmas. And my mom did the whole decorating. And I still clearly obviously do that for a living. And it's my favorite time of year. I mean, working in that, not the return part of it, but working that week before Christmas is to have that that energy and that like or is it a stress out energy like you're going to get hit because you cut the ribbon too long.
Barbara: But it was good. I mean, you know, it can be terrible. But underlying it, you're still even when the customer is, you know, a little out of hand and she's hitting me and there's this Christmas energy. Yeah. And, you know, like any true corporate, you know, they had a copy of the famous letter, Virginia's letter to Santa up just to remind us what the Christmas spirit was. So I was fully entrenched.
Michelle: In which city was this? And again.
Barbara: Well, that was in New York.
Michelle: So did you get did you? So the New York parade happened, everyone. It happens Thanksgiving Day.
Barbara: Yeah, but that happy Thanksgiving.
Michelle: That must I mean because I still on my bucket list and I Lisa I've said to her like I still my bucket list is to do New York like sometime after the windows are done. And unfortunately with my job, that is not mine too. But I can't imagine working that. Like, how amazing that must have been.
Barbara: It was. It was a lot, I think, you know, another job that gave you something you had no idea, having not worked in a retail boutique like that with home accessories and this and that, I understood that Christmas was going to be a different game. Even though I didn't have a lot of the other experience, I knew what that was going to be because I knew what the vibe was.
Michelle: That's like sort of my dream, not the return part, I think that would be.
Barbara: Hell yeah. I was the person who just had the I didn't have to deal with the customer. I literally was behind them, like sorting and stuff like that. And it wasn't that bad. It truly wasn't that bad. And at that point, I had my money and I'm still telling people when I left, I work at Bloomingdales.
Michelle: You're from your bio now. I'm super curious is how did you make the jump from retail to catering? Because that's not the most natural.
Barbara: Not at all. I learned I learned to cook from my grandma. She was an amazing cook. And my mother can't cook anything. So it was kind of a survival thing. And then my father in law had a big fancy boat. He called it a little boat. It had two full bedrooms, a full kitchen, a full refrigerator, everything. And he would lend it to like auctions like nonprofits were having an auction and he'd say, Oh, a day on the bay and da da. And he drives a boat and chat with the rich people that bought it. And one time he didn't have anybody who was catering it. And I said, Oh, I'll do it. And a guy came down and said, Who's making this food? We love it. You know, I want a card from the caterer. I'm like, No, I'm just the daughter in law. He's like, You should be a caterer. So he called me and I took a gig. And then like two weeks later, I had a ton of gigs and that was that. Do you even.
Michelle: Know how to cook for that many people? I mean, that's like just just the.
Michelle: Volume isn't like cooking your beef stroganoff at home for you and your grandma.
Barbara: No, but I had done a lot of and I had done a lot of parties. And, you know, when we had all the family over and all that was like 30, 40 people. So I had an idea and I was lucky that I got into a rental kitchen really fast and figured it out. It was great. I mean, I loved it. In all honesty. It's just your job. I mean, literally you go, you set it up, you make it look pretty. People take it all the way, and then you come back and get it. Do it all again.
Michelle: I love reading about how you wrap the sandwiches.
Barbara: Oh, they are. I love this. People would call when I had JS. People would call all the time and go, Is this the sandwich place? Like, Yes, we want those sandwiches.
Michelle: I love that. I mean, I still like there's it almost sounds like because you sound like you had gifts and letterpress and it almost sounds like a country market. That's what it is. But it sounds like it's where you go get this sandwich and it's wrapped in the white paper. And there's something about unwrapping that. And that's still why I love butchers like the real butchers that do wrap it up in the springtime. And there's something about that that's very romantic.
Barbara: Exactly what we did. It was, you know, we wrapped the sandwiches that way and salads. We had a whole little system we did for the whole thing. And it honestly didn't cost me any more than if I had bought a fancy sticker. Steal it up. As long as I bought my ribbon in big bulk and I could, I knew exactly how to pace it and things like that. And when you walked in the store had a good 12 feet, that was just a blank wall where you really couldn't have put anything because it was so close to the door. So card racks on that wall. And so why people are standing there waiting in line to order their latte and get their pastry or whatever. There they are by all the cards. And I had cards that unless you went to a real specialty place, you were never going to find.
Michelle: I love those cards. Those are still.
Barbara: Some. Oh, there's still so many of those that I just I still have stacks of them that I just won't ever let go.
Michelle: Do you this is jumping ahead, but do you still you sell cards in your business now?
Barbara: Oh, yeah.
Michelle: So I don't know about you, but trying to buy cards, I start to go total ID like I because it's like they start pulling out the the bundles and the fan and I'm like, oh my God, like and now it's my holiday and it's like, do you is that is it easy? I'm sure it's like second nature to you now.
Barbara: We invented a system because my staff finally got enough of it because I really send cards for no reason. Then they would say, you have as many miscellaneous cards as you do birthday, and that's not how the rest of the world works. So I actually had a staff person who made me a little chart and it literally said like birthday cards, order 100 files, miscellaneous, you may only order 50 steps. And it had a little place for me to put little tick marks. So as I would sort them, then I could just go through and I would have the rep just say to me how many birthday, how many that, and I'd put it on there. And when I was getting close to my limit, I knew I had to like be more careful in certain categories. And that helped so much because otherwise our inventory for cards would be really out of whack.
Michelle: Yeah, I'm happy that I don't. Four for the pharmacy that I buy for I started buying letterpress cards and I was realizing a I don't have enough patience to keep up with just the reward. So I just like have a design. Design does and like you deal with it and it's like they sell. I mean, for the pharmacy, they sell all day, every day. So it's like and they're not buying them for the quality and the, the amazing, beautiful special letterpress. It's like they're buying 20 at a time, which is great. They're waiting for the thing. It's if it gets too high a price point, it's like, forget it, they don't sell. So I'm happy to have designed to do that.
Barbara: Oh yeah. I mean, there are certain times where things like that really work. You know, I so much of our store is drawn around me having stories and I love telling everybody about. I remember the days when Anna and Nathan Bond to a rifle paper company, when Nathan would pack them in the middle of the night and I'd get a3am email saying Your order is on its way. Wow.
Michelle: How long? So how long have you been buying Rifle?
Barbara: 12 years, 11, 12 years.
Michelle: That's a great line.
Barbara: Yeah. I mean, I remember when they hired their first person.
Michelle: And now Stevens had it. This is I just set up there there.
Michelle: Scottsdale. And it was I wish we had more of the samples, but it's just such a beautiful line.
Barbara: It's a good line. They they do a great job and have really honed in on exactly the right thing, that they're the next correct steps for them.
Michelle: How so? You you at this point had your catering like market, like when you opened a second location. How long in between the.
Barbara: I only had the catering business and then I opened up at some point in time when my oldest one was like four. I realized that if I catered all, it was fine when he was in preschool three days a week because my husband would be home on the weekends and they would go do little stuff and I would still have a couple of days where I could totally be devoted to that. He'd go to preschool a few days and then I could work. But when he was going to start kindergarten, this wasn't going to work and we had just moved to Alameda. So then I opened up JHS and only took catering if I really wanted it. There was no second store. Even then, the second store, about three and a half years later was when I opened Daisy's Oak.
Michelle: And you had said that you had to close the catering business.
Michelle: Is that.
Michelle: How I read your.
Barbara: Your. I mean, I closed it because I just didn't want to work all the time. Yeah. But if something super fun came up, like, I got a year long contract to do. To do catering on the Potomac, which was a presidential boat. Wow. It's here in Oakland. And, you know, it's super fun and not very many people get that contract and everybody that does stuff on their does it seems very, you know. Thirties, forties. It's very World War Two. And so I took that because I just thought, how much fun would it be? You know, lots of wineries and stuff do events down here from Napa. They come and do events on the boat. So it was like a guaranteed good 4th of July because the boat would get a great spot. Wow. With the fireworks. And it was very fun. So I did that when we got to take the champagne that wasn't used home. So that was good bonus. Yeah.
Michelle: The the how did so. You close the other. You now have daisies.
Barbara: Right. Well, no, I kept Jay's, so I closed the catering. I kept the cafe in the bakery.
Michelle: Gotcha. So you still have both locations?
Barbara: I had both locations. So I opened up J's in 90, the end of 98, early 99. And that was baked goods and all in lunch and all, all made in house. And that's when we sold the letter press. And we had all these I had this cute little set of stairs. The space chase was in was an old ticket booth from the town trolley that would go back and forth. Wow. And so it was just this I mean, the vintage ness of this building was just unbelievable bones. And so I had this cute little set of stairs that went up to this little mezzanine shelf that went to nothing. So I just filled them with fun little things and cake plates and this and that. And between you and I and I tried to keep a lot of gifts around there that were in the like $20 range. So you could come in, pick your cute little card from a letterpress company or snow and or something like that. We did single cupcakes in a little box, and you could get a $20 present for like a coworker on your way to work and and get your coffee. And you were out of there and that part just became super popular. So then about 2000 for the florist at the end of the building, retired, and the landlord goes, You sure you don't want it? You really got at this. And then Ron's on a business trip, my husband. And of course, I went, Sure I do. Oh, my.
Michelle: Gosh. Jump, leap.
Barbara: Yeah, that was that.
Michelle: Is that historical? Because your little town sounds like it's still the original structures like it.
Barbara: There's a lot of original structures.
Michelle: Where is it exactly? Because I know you and I had talked in you had asked if I come up in that area and I'm not quite sure where up north.
Barbara: So Alameda is right in between Oakland and San Francisco and the tip of it goes under the Bay Bridge. There's about 75,000 people here and it's got an old the a huge naval base was here during World War Two. And if you've ever heard of the Alameda Antique Fair, which is much like it's crazy, that's where that is.
Michelle: Oh, my gosh. It makes me want to go up because I go up now to San Jose or to.
Michelle: Morgan Hill.
Michelle: Like every I want to see what I'm going up every quarter now. And last time Dave and I went up to Healdsburg.
Michelle: I would love next time because we're going to go keep going up and stop because our friends have moved from Hawaii and they live here now and I'm going to make sure I go by because just the town alone just sounds so charming.
Barbara: It's super charming. There's the street that we are on now. Literally, I would say 50% of the businesses the owner lives in town and probably it goes up to 80%. If you include Oakland, like it's local, there's no real national presence other than maybe a Subway sandwich. I love that. Yeah, it's pretty cool. The bookstore across from us is Book Sync and they have like ten locations, but it's literally a business that was started by a guy who passed it down to one of his employees. And that and and now it's on its fourth set of employees that have kind of taken the helm.
Michelle: There's something I mean, that's that's still to me why I small people don't understand the importance of small business Saturday even though it's just one day. But people don't understand, like the importance of shopping small period. And there's something to be said about going to store like that that that has been handed down generation of generation and they've kept up the business and the aesthetic. I mean, that is so rare.
Barbara: It's actually one of the things that we're doing through our downtown now is we're adding QR codes to all the doors and it gives a little history of the building. That's like mine was originally a dairy, and the way I really found out about it was one of my cute little customers who's got to be in her late seventies, came in and I knew she had something behind her back and she said, Do you want to see a whole bunch of the daddies of Alameda? Sure. And she pulled out this picture and it's got all these milk men.
Barbara: So yeah, so it was that and we had to take out the one piece. But you can still see where the dumbwaiter was to take the big ice blocks and everything down to the basement. And the original proprietor actually lived in our house.
Michelle: I, I love the curate. I think that's brilliant. I mean, I.
Barbara: Think we're going to do one for one. Yeah. And there's a little cute little Alameda Museum right around the corner. So they're helping us kind of curate the whole thing.
Michelle: Now, I really want to go. How did you get the name Daisies? Because that's obviously not your name.
Barbara: So Jas is from the book that. So the catering company was Gatsby Party company, and there's DJs, coffee, teas and treats and Daisy's necessities frivolities and embellishments for everyday life. All very much "Gatsby-esque". And my whole family's from Long Island and different parts of Manhattan. And my grandfather used to own a floral supply delivery business all over the Tri-State area. And so when he retired, he still said to the people who bought it, I'm going to keep my route like I love my route. I'm still going to drive my route. So two days a week he would go on this little route and his route included all these huge estates out in all the way into Montauk and everything else. So lots of times I would go with him or my best friend and I would put our bikes in the back and he would drop us off and say, Meet me at such and such a house in a few hours, and he'd go do the route. So, I mean, I spent so much time going by these houses and seeing what's behind those hedges, and you can't help but envision the parties and just the brand lifestyle and the taste. I mean, you know, no one's going to say Daisy Buchanan was a nice person, but there's no denying the woman understand, understood, taste like nobody's business and. There's lots of people who may not think I'm a nice person, so it kind of goes along with it. You're not the only one.
Michelle: Did you ever have a chance to go into any of those estates with your grandfather?
Barbara: Yeah, there was a few. I definitely got to go into some where just it was truly unbelievable, you know, how you probably, like, walk into rooms and I mean, he's dropping off $500-$1,000 worth of flowers in the late seventies, early eighties. And that was their weekly flower delivery. Wow. Just to keep going. Oh, my.
Michelle: God. That's amazing. So you and I have kind of gone back and forth on Instagram, and I know that you sell a lot of the same lines. Some of them that I work for, some of them don't. Tell us about some of the lines that you're are your favorites and kind of what's driving your business for the gift industry?
Barbara: Well, the list the candles are magical gift from above. Yes. Because they just sell.
Michelle: You sell every single flavor.
Barbara: No, I no, I don't sell every single flavor. I definitely curate what I want out of it, but I sell almost everything from every section. Yeah. When you're top seller for a top seller for police, fire is probably cos of Pacifica or. Oh right now the coconut papaya that they did in the Vermeil collection. Yeah. That one has been selling like crazy for us. The fact they brought back Alpha Blue Blossom, I felt like a personal gift because that used to be in the line and they took it out. That's what I heard.
Michelle: That's just telling me that.
Barbara: I love that one. So I was thrilled and it's done really well. Bring it back with good move.
Michelle: So you buy obviously very deep into Blue Spa.
Michelle: And you're because we'll get to your merchandising style. But it's I always find it interesting because I you know, for a time I would split up blue spa and I'd color it out and put it and I just realized I'm not I'm doing a disservice by doing that. So now it's just literally like everywhere. I mean, I just did local fair yesterday in Orange County and it's like I just put everything all together now. It's it's just it's to separate it out. Just I mean, it's like I can do that with other lines, but do you have yours all like in just Lisbon? Do you cross merchandise it with other merchandise or is.
Barbara: It just like hardcore merchandise? Everything. I pretty much split it up by like I do the Vermeil collection together and then I do japonica mostly the other, the ones that just there's nothing when I'm setting up that's harder on me than one dominant color. I just can't do it. So things like Goji, which of course is one of the top sellers. So I have a whole rifle display and that has like goji and also bamboo and things which like, I don't know what else to do. So I stick with floral pillows, but I definitely make sure I don't have less than $0.04 together. Okay. And more powerful. It is definitely more impactful. And I definitely think there's because of is so big they different pieces of a line attract different people. Like a vermeij customer might like a couple in that, but they're going to prefer those in general over something in Japonica.
Michelle: Yeah, it's very bread and butter. I mean, it's literally like it's I call it a bread and butter line now because people come and it's like that's the only one they'll do and they won't even try another flavor. It's like, this is this is my jam.
Barbara: This is the thing they did this time. It was super hard was they took a couple of them and they changed what they saw. Persimmon. They changed the scent.
Michelle: Oh, did they do that?
Barbara: Yeah, it's different.
Michelle: I tried, but I wish they would just do all the damn packaging the same. It's like some are the glass. The glass lids. And that is a merchandiser. It makes me insane because it's not across the board.
Barbara: Well, and things like in Japonica, the new little glass one with the metal lid, the lid doesn't go back on. So the minute somebody pops it, something's going to drop it, try stuff and stuck together. Yes, exactly. But come here. There. I still love the line. They know how to deliver product. They know exactly what's in all their boxes and they've got their act together.
Michelle: What other are some of your favorite lines?
Barbara: I think we do a ton of Rifle. We actually our stationery store stationery section is literally like a mini Rifle store. And then we just buy around that for the other pieces of it and that and clothing. We do a ton of Liverpool, which has been amazing. I don't think.
Michelle: I've heard of that line.
Barbara: Oh, you should check it out. It is great. The price points great. And they are really focusing on independent retailers. Is it and is it.
Michelle: Is it LA based or.
Barbara: L.a. based. All right, then the pants are basically 100 bucks and they are the craziest good fit. And for my customer, they're just perfect.
Michelle: Who is your demographic?
Barbara: She's she used to live in San Francisco and now she had a kid. So they move to the burbs because you can still get to San Francisco on the ferry from here in less than 20 minutes. And there's free parking. So if you work over there. So. Family, some younger, some older as far as how long they've been here. But this is definitely where you come to raise your kids. But you still have a big city job in life.
Michelle: And departments that you have. Do you.
Michelle: Baby kids, men.
Barbara: Baby clothing, jewelry, personal care, living room, kitchen and what we call the greenhouse, which has the crystals, the plants.
Michelle: I love that you do the crystals.
Barbara: We just they have been so fun and my daughter's obsessed with them. So it's really worked out perfect. And yeah, so we're actually even just developed our own little cards to go with every one that's a little bit bigger. So that because we have a huge following when it comes to the high school and college kids. So we did these three and a half by three and a half cards that were literally just getting printed right now that have the crystal and then a whole little vibe about why you'd want that one on the back so they can collect them. Yeah. And then we're going old school and we're doing a coffee punch card because we sell them by the ounce and instead of doing some old the time the molds. Yeah. So the tumbled in we have in this like little by the ounce bar and they can put it all in the bag and then we'll give them cards for all the different ones, but then they get a punch card and after they buy 15 ounces, we give them the last ounce. Oh, my God, it's brilliant. Instead of techie wise, they collect this little card and it's so they think it's hysterical because, you know, the high school and college kids don't have a clue what that is.
Michelle: That's brilliant. I love that.
Barbara: And it's so cute because even my daughter, for sure, she think people and then she started thinking about she's like, yeah, that's going to work.
Michelle: So what's your top what's your top department then at it because I know for the family which is weird apparels the top department in a pharmacy so I'm always surprised what other people's home as a category is.
Barbara: Home as a category like living in the home and clothes will get there. I've only carried clothes two years now. Okay, so they'll get there. They're definitely giving home a run for its money.
Michelle: And it's great. I, I never thought that I might. The apparel would beat out, I mean, by mass numbers the rest of my gift department.
Barbara: It's wild, but.
Michelle: Women like to shop and women like that. I mean, my stuff is like, super inexpensive, like cash and carry prices, so.
Barbara: Well, we bring some of that in. I mean, there's a few brands I throw in there so that you can get the top if you want to get this and this and that. But yeah, mainly in clothes. We do mysteries. Supply Liverpool. Just fantastic. Yeah. And they're great to work with and yeah. I mean, you just can't beat it. And here's the hysterical part. Our literal first order from Z Supply showed up in January before COVID started.
Michelle: Oh, my God.
Barbara: And when I ordered it, I thought, what the hell was I thinking about so much? Well, I accidentally bought $4,000 worth of jogger pants. Can't get luckier than that. Yeah.
Michelle: Wow, I can say that. I mean, that's amazing. That's all that people bought. Oh, it.
Barbara: Was. It was awesome. It was just so funny because I don't know what I would have done if that hadn't happened because I had way too much.
Michelle: Did you? Because I you know, we I talk a little bit about and I'm trying to go away from it cause I'm just so like, I mean, as a as a nation, it's like obviously happened and now it's like, okay, I feel like we're coming out of it. So now it's like, but during COVID. Were you doing like how did you and and this is the question is how did you pivot? Because like a couple of people went live right away and some how did you pivot to continue keeping those sales going after everybody was shut?
Barbara: And so we did two things. A, I change the window every day and people could just text the store pictures of what they wanted and we would deliver it. And we did. You know, I did a lot of that. I got the toy store down the way. I got her to start doing it. So she put up all her puzzles with numbers on them and people could just text her the number of the puzzles they went and.
Michelle: Wow, that's super smart.
Barbara: So that worked. And we did some lives. What we did that was totally different than everybody was. We had had such a good 19 and 20 was coming down the pipe. Great. So we literally for six weeks did minimal trying to sell because at that point we thought, okay, it's going to be a little while, but then we're going to burst out. It is. It's all going to be fine, right? Yeah, that's what I thought. And there are certain things that we just being open seven days a week we couldn't do. You know, you're never going to paint the ceiling, you're never going to do it. And we hadn't owned the building all that long and kept saying, you know, Oh, well, we're going to do this. We're going to do that. So for a little while, we. Only sold to those who were contacting us. And we're very lucky that we have a very loyal following. So it still kept the register going, but we moved everything out of half the store, painted the store ceiling, the floor, and Ron did things like light sockets that had never worked. They fixed those. Jillian and I did my first ever actually statement behind the register. So we painted eight inch stripes of all my colours of green going up the wall. And I had a guy who's a neon artist who had did it in his garage and he made me the daisies signature. And he literally copied our. Our logo font and put. So I have a white daisies or daisies. You do.
Michelle: Big installations. I mean, you're like you're one of the few people, I mean, like everyone does displays, but you do like full and.
Barbara: I like big boys. I think big makes such an impact.
Michelle: Well, you do the Ferris wheel.
Barbara: I love my family.
Michelle: I love I love when you reached out and you told me how many different ways that you reinvented that Ferris wheel, which I think is brilliant. I mean, it's like those that that investment of those big scale props, I think are so important. And I think a lot of people get caught up in like, oh, I can't afford it and it's too much. And it's like it will pay itself back.
Barbara: I used it one year. I literally turned it into a Christmas wreath and I literally put greens all the way at the edge of that whole thing, right inside where that dramatic edge is. And then I put all French ornaments on it. Wow. That pay. I mean, it paid for the peace in spades.
Michelle: Yeah. People don't understand. And it's like, I hope that people are listening to this now because I'm always the first. But like, props and architecture are super important. And the architecture part I've obviously learned from Lisa, but it's even young, but people don't seem to understand that is the difference of somebody just puts the stuff on a table and somebody that builds it tells the story with the architecture.
Barbara: Yep. My girls, when they first start, never understand. When I say to them, You're not making a new display if you don't start from scratch.
Michelle: I love that. That's a great.
Barbara: It's absolutely we when we go to read and we stop and research even stationery probably every two weeks, that means they have to take it down at night, leave it all stacked up by style on tables, wipe it down. And then I come in the morning and just fill, fill, fill, fill, fill. But you can see a difference every single time you do it. Yep. And starting from scratch is the only way. In fact, even when they dust, I have the know dusting around product rule.
Michelle: Oh, my God. Thank you. Please say that one more time.
Barbara: Oh, I literally. We have a store phone that's an iPhone, and I make them take a picture of the section they're doing. My God, take everything down, dust it, and then put it back. Because all you're doing is putting the dirt on the product.
Michelle: I know. I can't. I mean, I can't. Cleanliness of a store is like a whole other. Like, that is my biggest peeve of going in. And it's, you know, I get when stores are really busy and they have temporary in place. But it's like I said to somebody and this is a client a long time ago and they sold facial products. And I said to them, as I'm moving things around, cleaning as I go, and I showed him my hands and all my fingertips are black. And I said, Now you're selling facial products. I'm picking up a box. Like, Is this not going to freak you out? And not to mention it's $150. And yeah, and I, you know, I got called the nag more often. I mean, my nickname, Jason, Rick Rock Paradise calls me the web. But you don't seem people don't understand the the importance of how clean something is. And when a person picks it up and how it feels in their hand and how it looks, and that is all reflection of the store and dusting.
Barbara: Around it devalues the product. Yeah. I mean, somebody picks it up and it's dirty. It's not worth as much in their mind. No, it's old. And now they have to clean something that's brand new.
Michelle: I, I came across the store and I couldn't believe my eyes that I was standing watching them with those air guns that you clean keyboards out with, and they were spraying around all the supplies.
Barbara: I literally had to walk off the floor.
Michelle: Because I thought, Yeah, I can't believe I'm watching this right now. That's that. And it's so it's thank you for saying that.
Barbara: You just yeah. It's the other thing is it gives them any reset. I mean, you're stopping and you're making sure all the labels are front and that and yeah, I love.
Michelle: Starting with first I think starting with the first because I think honestly like. People think you could take all the product off, but if you leave the architecture the same, it's pretty much the same thing. It's different stuff. And your customer, especially if you have a regular customer like you have or they're in every single week and they walk by the same display. If the architecture hasn't changed, I truly believe people will keep walking right by it like it doesn't look that new, even though it's like all new product. And sure, there's going to be some stuff they notice. But I think unless your architecture changes it literally, it's like it looks like the same display. Yeah. What is your merchandising style?
Barbara: I'm a maximalist at heart. It's maximum love. If one is good, ten is better.
Michelle: Thank you. I the stack at high. Watch it fly.
Barbara: I mean, there is no place on earth that I would rather be than the Stephen Young book room. Isn't that great?
Barbara: Then I love books and I think anybody who says that they've done an interior without a book doesn't understand. Like. I just. I love them. I put them in everything.
Michelle: This is all about Stephen's wife, who. Who oversees and does 90% of it. I mean, I release and I do I take care of 180 and Rosanna and like that other half of that. But she what I love and respect about her style is the fact that it's not she orders an extras of the samples so it has that that. Look of abundance. And it's not like one or two samples, which makes me crazy. That abundant feeling. And it's like stores that you go in there's you know, we had just reopened, not just reopened, but we've been open for a couple of months. And there's a store downtown Manhattan Beach and she sells beautiful apparel and it's not inexpensive. It's like high, high end, beautiful apparel. And her store is packed, packed to the point where I was like, God, it feels so. It just feels so good in here. And women are in there and they're all talking about things and they're moving, they're touching things and their feeling. And it's like it was this energy that you I couldn't figure it out until I walked away. And it was like it was because it was so full and everyone was excited. And she had five or six sales people on the floor and everyone was working in that energy. But the store was packed like Christmas level packed. And it was it was it was really amazing to see that just coming out. And I love the fact that you believe in that.
Barbara: I absolutely believe in that. I am. It's to me, it just is it it's it's the basis for everything I design. I just I'm a maximalist at heart. I can't you you when.
Michelle: You go and buy do you are you shopping in a concept or buy. I mean how is your.
Barbara: With merchant.
Michelle: Style and you and you're buying.
Barbara: So each season I say this is like the store concept and then I break it down to where that works in the store and where I need to give them a little break from overload so it doesn't kind of Disney fi everything and. So we kind of go from there and I have I've done it all in Google Docs. So every I have a picture of the blank big architecture pieces I can't change. So I'll do like baby has two side racks and one of those great triple pieces from Creative Pop a few years back. And I have pictures of them blank and then I make it for every turn date. Wow. And then I fill it in. And a big plug for Canva Pro will let you put a picture of any product you buy in there, and it'll make it a transparency so I can make this totally fun collage of everything that's going in that display. Well, and it helps a lot.
Michelle: How long does it take? So you're obviously doing the shows and how long does it take you to do that process?
Barbara: It takes a long time.
Michelle: Like a short it's not.
Barbara: But I do it. I'm I'm a big fan of repeat TV. Um. Explain that. I've watched Gilmore Girls five times all the way through. I've watched Grey's Anatomy three times all the way through. And, you know, I picked I have two nights where I watch Pay Attention TV or I can't have the laptop in my lap. And then the other nights I'm moving product and I'm looking on fair and I'm looking at so you know I'm on Stephen Young's order of.
Michelle: Things to.
Barbara: Yeah because I'm buying yeah and.
Michelle: I have a client that Morgan Hill and she by trade is a HR person and she deals with China and Mexico and she's on the phone with China at three in the morning or whatever. And she's sitting in bed because I said to her, When are you doing this? And she's a really strong buyer. Like she's very tight, it's very cohesive. And for somebody that's never done that before, I'm like, How are you doing this? And she's like, I don't know. I just think it's fun. I'm sitting there doing bed at night. I'm like, I'm sorry. I don't even do that. Like like the thought of doing that at night is a nightmare to me.
Barbara: So we have this little game we play about making a concept tight, but not so tight that it then becomes hokey. So like we're doing a whole bunch of the new milk barn with the owls, so we want to make it tight, but we don't want to make it so hokey. But I loved what you did with Milk Barn, so we kind of when we bought in, we bought some milk barn and some elegant baby that all tied around doing a very. You know, for us the theme and and we're definitely stealing the marshmallow thing because.
Michelle: I love that.
Barbara: I have this I have tons of those old logs from creative co-op from years ago and I found a whole box of the other day. I'm like, I'll use those too. But you don't want to get so into it that you're like, Oh my God, it's just a thousand things with raccoons on it, you know? So you want to mix it up. So there's this line that we kind of go, Okay, is this too far? Is this one not too far? And so I'll pick a bunch and then we just decide, Okay, do we have too many of this or too many of that? And we play this game that's going to make you laugh because of your history. We play this game called Anthropologie or Ugly, you know, because Anthro definitely lives out there on the edge. And there's things where like if you were looking at it in a booth in the tents in Atlanta, you'd go, Yeah, yeah. And then if you just separate it from there and go, Oh, yeah, actually. So we do that game a lot that it's a lot of fun, anthropology or ugly. Sometimes we play when it's not even about work. We're just not being nice stores because.
Michelle: You know, I'm always because I wish you would. Okay. I wish you would show more pictures of your merchandising on the store because I see more of it from other people than I do from you.
Barbara: Yes, I'm hideous at that. And if I can just get restocked, I actually.
Michelle: Now you're really well known for your display and merchandising. Yeah. And and on your Instagram, like, where are the pictures?
Barbara: I you know, I'm one of those people. It goes back to that I am terrible at photography. I know that that is like my weakest thing. And I'm not going to put it up unless it looks a certain way. And I'd rather make people come in and look at it just because I respect the product too much. Yeah, that's that's and that's a biggie to me. The good news is that Jesus is now elevated to the point where as soon as I get re staffed enough in store, I am now to the point where I am hiring a full time social media person. Congrats. And I have talked to your lovely friend there about this and she's going to help me a bit and I have quite a vision for that, that because I really want it, I don't want to do it halfway and I want it to reflect what it feels like to be in the store and the store very much. You can come in every couple of months and it's like an issue of a magazine. I am obsessed with magazines, not a little, a lot. And that's how I feel the store lays out and it looks like you can feel a theme throughout the thing, even if it's not repeat of the same stuff. There's a vibe that happens. And then when the store changes seasons. You can still tell it's the same place. But you. It's the vibe. It's daisies is there. But the newness definitely highlights.
Michelle: It must be magical. I absolutely adore.
Barbara: And the thing.
Michelle: Is that I really want to come up. I mean, now.
Barbara: The building is lit impeccably and we own it all the way. So there's actually four units, there's the store. And they did have they did have the back of the store was a separate unit and we broke that through. So that's now it's now known as the greenhouse. And then we live above the shop and then there's a little courtyard in between the two buildings that we had just had tiled. And I put four mum furniture out there and stuff and I got a lemon split tree going up and lots of stuff. Oh, my God. And then the second building is another old brick building, and the bottom one's the one that's becoming the classroom. The focus of the classroom will definitely be on recording videos of how to's and with some in person.
Michelle: How to's, DIY how.
Barbara: Lots of DIY, lots of cooking. Going back to my original and lots of like we have two mantels that are getting installed, so don't be afraid. Take these same ten items, design it this way, make it look this way and stuff like that where we can do lots of little videos and things like that just showing people.
Michelle: So are they okay. So now you just brought up a whole. I thought so. You're not doing DIY. This is how you make a basket. You're doing DIY. It's like if you buy these products that I sell, this is how to set the mantel. This is how to use the table. This is what's brilliant.
Barbara: And once we get going and get good at it, I'm going to do like challenges where we once a month have somebody bring in three pieces that they're just like, I can't work with these and I'm going to make them work. Wow.
Michelle: That's brilliant. That's really.
Michelle: That is a totally different classroom than I thought.
Barbara: Oh, no, that's what it's for.
Michelle: That's like my dream. That's what I would love to be. But I don't sell any of the product because I keep going back to like teaching people how to merchandise and like that architecture and whatnot. But it's not like a lot of my clients aren't going to be super stoked, like, Hey, I'm going to film today. You don't mind? It's like, I'm still doing that. I just there's a line that I can't.
Michelle: Not selling anything, but that is brilliant.
Barbara: Well, you know, people come in all the time and say, you know, you just put this together and it works. And it does for me. I don't know why. I don't know how to really teach it to somebody in a uniform way, but I can show them what I'm thinking and, you know, the basics that you and I know you've got to put in the big pieces first. It's set in your architecture. There's no difference in doing your mantle than there is and doing the display.
Michelle: So when is when is the kick off for this.
Barbara: So permits we just got our permits to get that all done. And then the second story of this building is where I'm sitting right now, and that is becoming our guest house. It won't be an Airbnb. It will be when my kids come home from college or we have a guest teacher. I have a few friends that teach really interesting stuff that live far away. And it's a 750 square foot unit that'll have be like a most deluxe hotel room I've ever seen. Wow. And that way they can come stay. We're super close. They can go take the ferry to the city. There's a million things to go do, and they can have a little East Bay vacation and teach some classes, and we're all happy.
Michelle: Wow, that's great. Oh, my gosh. So are you thinking 2022 is when this.
Barbara: Is going to be the classroom? We have all the stuff we just need to get the permits to get it installed and I am going to kick that off at Christmastime. Literally, that's where we will ring and wrap.
Michelle: Wow, I can't wait to see this come to life.
Barbara: I'm so excited. This has been a dream. You know how you put the dream off and you put the dream off. This dream has been cooked in for. Probably ten years. Wow.
Michelle: It's time that's really going to be so. You said you live above the store.
Barbara: Mm hmm.
Michelle: How do you have a hard time separating? Well, if you're shopping at night, I guess not. But do you have a hard time separating work life? Home life?
Barbara: You know, I'm actually better at it than when I lived a mile from here. When I lived a mile from here. Because parking can get tough. If anything went wrong. I had to be in a panic of, oh, I really can't leave because of this. So, like leaving the store and letting myself have an hour was impossible. And now I'm like, you know, if you guys get if you guys keep have a steady flow of more than, like, eight. Per 15 minutes. Call me, I'm going to come back down. Or if you get a lot of this or a lot of that, just call me and I'm going to come back down. But other than that, I can take an hour in the middle of the day and switch the laundry and do this and make a cup of tea in my own cup. Um. And. I love living here. It is. We live in the dead center of downtown. There's a seven screen movie theater around the corner. There's restaurants up and down my block. One of the best Burmese restaurants around is right next door to me. And they just opened. We have a little parklet out front that we made so that when guests are waiting and stuff during COVID that they could come and have a place to sit or bored husband sit outside. And I did all flower beds and all. So you're like sitting in a little park and next door the Burmese place built this gorgeous parklet and our city has been very great and they are working through a process to let us keep them permanently.
Michelle: So it's like the Manhattan Beach.
Barbara: And it is so lovely because lots of people go to this Burmese place to celebrate things and the food's delicious. And when I'm sitting in my living room watching my repeats of law and order craze or whatever, I hear glasses clinking and people, it's it's so it's not just New York. It's there's this happy life is going on kind of thing that you just kind of can't decide by. It's a party you don't have to clean up.
Michelle: I love that's part of what I love about New York is staying somewhere and being able to hear that sound of life.
Michelle: Laughing. And now I find that like that same feeling I get listening to, like our neighbors put a couple doors down, put a pool and listening to all the kids screaming. And that's that sound of a lawnmower. Is that that same like.
Michelle: Such a great.
Barbara: Life can get a little stressful and it's always good to have little reminders that it doesn't matter how bad it is. It's pretty cool. Life is.
Michelle: Good. How do you find balance? That wasn't.
Barbara: Much either. But now I am really good about. Saying, okay, like when I go on, when I go to like a show, I normally take a couple of days on one end and go see some stuff I want to see and stuff like that. And. I don't have a huge balance and that's completely fine with me. And part of the reason I think I kept finding reasons not to do the classroom was because I still had kids that were that age and all those things. And the baby's now 19 and she's working in the store because of everything. And. When I need to have my time off, I can take my time off. But I love what I do. I want to be. All the dreams are getting to come true. I live above my shop. I grew. I was very, very sick as a kid.
Michelle: I love you...you have to say your philosophy from...Is it Sesame Street?
Barbara: Yes. So yeah, I was very sick. I lived in the hospital for a year and then I had to live at home in bed for a year and Sesame Street had just started. And that was my family. I mean, you know, that was the people who I talked to every day and I watched every day. And Mr. Hooper was this amazing soul. And if you needed bandaids or you needed an ice cream soda, it didn't matter. He had advice and the thing you needed. And that's my life now. I love that philosophy and I love that I don't want to not have that seven days a week. I love having it seven days a week. I don't always want to work on the sales floor on a Saturday at 2:00. Yeah. And so I find a way not to do that. But seven days a week doesn't bother me because I absolutely love it and I think I'm morphing it into exactly what I wanted. I did have a second daisies for a while and I hated it and I messed up everything completely. And I realized just. Normally my just oh I'm going to go for it works out great. And then you realize when you mess up like, wow, okay, that was something.
Barbara: Yeah. But I got very lucky in the towards the end of that, I got invited to be in the 10,000 small businesses program from Goldman Sachs, which is basically a six month free school on running your small business. And it's free. And I got into a national cohort and they actually I had to be online every week, twice a week to go to class. And then three times they flew me to Boston to Babson College, which is considered like the top entrepreneurial college anywhere. And what I learned there taught me forever. It was like finishing school for all those things I learned when I was little. And one of them was from this professor from USC and he said, Sit down and write your dream job description. And he said, It can only be 80% of your day, but your dream job description should be 80% of your day, he said. And the other 20% should be making sure that the people you hire to do anything not on that list or executing and that way, he said. 80% of your day is exactly what you want to do. Well, and I said, I'm going to make this store make more money than having two stores, which I hated and I'm there.
Michelle: That's brilliant. I think people I have more people than I'd like to admit. Wanting to expand, thinking more is better. And my biggest peeve is like this store isn't even developed to the potential. It should be like, stop looking at the other target. Focus on what you have right now. Make this the best and then if you still want to go and expand, then fine. But more is not better. I mean, I learned that with my stores of Fred SIEGEL like I was, you know, I was 27. I was I had an opportunity to take on a second store. I was like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll do it. I'll do it. And the third and I still say to this day, if I hadn't taken on the additional two other locations in that Fred Segal complex, I would have been there to the bitter end when they closed the Santa Monica location. I would have still had my men's store. But, you know, bigger is not better. And I think the fact that you have one location, you develop it to the depth that you do is what has made you so successful. And obviously it's paid off in business.
Barbara: It's paid off in business. I think my classroom is going to be my gateway to the happy retirement. That's amazing. I do because I think I can literally turn this into something where I do it. I never want to not work. I love to work and I'm good at working. I there's a super famous author and I'm not going to name her, but she's a friend of mine and we were in a mommy and me like first brand new mommy starting class when we both had our first kids. And it was at this very granola lady's house. And she's telling us all about, you know, Oh, and it's all this and all that. And we're both sitting there in tears going, We must work and we must be good at our job, and you people can have this. It sucks. And everybody else was like, What is wrong with you? And she I became friends because we were like, Uh oh, this was not a good idea.
Michelle: This is why I don't have children.
Barbara: Actually, the ironic part is my first one is probably the most perfect human on the planet, and I had no idea how easy it was. So but anyway, it was so funny because she and I bonded over the fact we're like, No, no, it's all about the work. We like work.
Michelle: Yeah. I mean, I, I love what I do. And I think that's yeah. I mean, there are moments, though, where I'm not going to lie like, you know, Scottsdale laying on the ground that booth and crying.
Michelle: And that's just that's just exhaustion. But I, I still get up every day and I still am like so stoked to go because I got to go somewhere different every day.
Barbara: Yeah. Well, for what I do. And when something does fall apart. The ability to pick it up and handle it. Yeah. And it's something I know I've given my kids. Like, I feel so good about that, that they know that if everything is falling apart, you pick up the pieces one at a time. And that's a tool that sadly lots of people don't have. Yeah.
Michelle: Well, they fall apart and it just it goes out the window real fast. I am glad because it was like I taught my interview prior to this. My friend Mindy, who wrote a 52 week journal and. I said there's there's moments where it's like, oh, my God, it's. And she said, Well, what's going to happen? She's like, My mom used to say, What's the worst thing can happen? They're going to come take your kids. She goes, I don't think so. She's like, just, it's so you missed a deadline. So whatever display, it's like you pick it up and you go, now it's like now it's like my phrase is always not a liver.
Barbara: It's not a liver.
Michelle: Like it's just retail. It's not it's.
Barbara: Not a I. That's how I treat my customers. If you come in and you're horrible because having this one thing was going to make or break in your life. And I just sit down and explain to you. If that's not having that paella when stock is the biggest thing in your life. We have other things to talk about. I love my stuff. I'm a hoarder of gigantic proportions, and I won't call it hoarding because if it's good, it's not hoarding. And I have so much good stuff. But it's stuff. It's not the people I love. It's not the life I get to live. It's stuff. You know? I mean, that being said, I'm the person who literally has a crate by the door, like the closest thing to the door. And it's like, if anything happens in a fire, you grab that box. Oh, that's smart. And but still, it's stuff, and it's going to go on. And if some piece of it doesn't happen, nobody knows.
Michelle: It's I mean, it's people get attached to stuff. I mean, it's but I think there's a lot of ego tied into it, too. You know, that stuff is who they are. That Louis Vuitton bag and that pillow that they need on there, that is stuff. That is an extension of ego.
Barbara: Well, yeah. And I guess when I say I'm a hoarder, I'm a collector of things that mean something like I'm a big collector of antiques because this piece had a life before it found me. And I'm a big fan of letting go of even the big stuff for free. Wow. You can score some good architecture at daisies on a good day. Wow. I wanted to go in the universe and have its next life. Oh, that's a good. I don't want it to be a haggle. If I use to write, I've made my money and I'll find the right person to have it. And that's where it should go and have its next life. The universe. It's a good it's the universe decide. And so yeah, I absolutely love my stuff, but I want stuff with meaning. And I'm very careful about making sure that the stuff we have to sell is something you can give with meaning. I you know, I want it to. I want people to be proud. If it's a $10 gift or $100 gift, to be excited to give it to that person. That's that's I.
Michelle: Love that because I think a lot of people just fill their store with like literally stuff. And it's like, I mean, I think the time and care to curating these gifts is more important than people realize.
Barbara: And one of the things you're going to love this thing that we've done so many 180 displays, I tell people, because lots of people have small houses because the cost of housing here is insane. And so they have very little places to put extra stuff in at Christmastime. And they also have little kids and this and that. And they say, How do I decide? I said, You don't need a ton of big at Christmas. What you need is the things that when you die, your kids are going to fight over them. And if you think of things like those Advent calendars and it's been up in your house since you were three, you're going to look at your brother and you're like, Nope, that one's mine. It's going to my house. That's what you want. You want the peace to mean something to the next person. And that's what that's why I love things like finding those types of things because they become a year after year edition. Yeah.
Michelle: I mean, it's tradition. I think just in any family, I think that you're kind of selling that tradition and an extension of holiday. Yeah. Spending time with your family. And I think that's. To me that's what not only the season is about, but obviously like good retail is about.
Michelle: So I'm going to ask you the one last question is, what's your advice to anyone wanting to keep their business fresh and moving forward?
Barbara: I'm not going to repeat it. Start from scratch. A lot. Rebuilds are displays a lot and. Spend time going over what means a lot to you and just rehash new iterations of the same philosophy.
Michelle: I love that this has become my new favorite question. There's more. Goodness in this last question, then. I mean, I love it. And that's a perfect way to end this. And I can't thank you enough for spending this time with me. I can't wait for you here, and I can't wait for you to start posting pictures of the store. Me either because I am dying to see your your store. And I'm also dying to see these new classrooms because I think that this is something that's never been done in the industry. And I think it's brilliant.
Barbara: I think it's going to be really fun. Even Angie from Hester and Cook the Table paper, she's going to come out once that's already talked about her. She's going to come out and do a whole class on table top and this and that and oh.
Michelle: God, I cannot wait.
Barbara: To be so fun.
Michelle: Where will be people be able to find the information on these classes.
Barbara: And at Daisy's Mercantile dot com.
Michelle: We're going to list all this information in the notes. And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast and you can find us online at the retailwhorepodcast.com