May 16, 2007

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

You know the saying: "There are no original ideas"? Well, that is so true. And I only steal from the best. My good and dear friend, Debbie Dusenberry of Curious Sofa, recently posted what she called a "themeless posting" in which she covers several unrelated topics that she has been wanting to cover, but just lumped them all together. Well, I am stealing that idea, as I have a couple of short topics that I am going to lump together as well.

Wanna see a home so fab that it will make you drool??

Sooo, speaking of my good friend, Debbie, owner of the wonderful Curious Sofa in Kansas City. She has been featured in Country Living and numerous other magazines and newspapers. She recently made the local paper and the article gives you a little insight to this creative friend of mine. I was honored to be intereviewed by the writer of the article - I got to put in my two cents worth about my much admiration for my dear friend. Please take a look: Story about Debbie Dusenberry. You will love reading about her fab home!

If junk had a social class, then meet self-proclaimed Junk Queens!

And before I leave the subject of Debbie....she and I recently had a nice visit. Some of you may know that she and I really are real friends - not just in the cyber sense. I met this wonderful woman only a couple of months after I opened my store. She writes about that first encounter in her blog and includes some photos of us junking together. I took photos - but I accidently deleted them! I was so upset because it was going to be a great post. So, please take a quick view of our junking photos and read how we met and how we remain very good friends. Elizabeth and Debbie junking.

Have you ever wanted one of those really cool, old gas stoves???

Yup. I am selling my very beloved 1939 circa O'Keeffe and Merritt gas stove! I hate to sell it but I won't be needing it for now and I hate to have it sit, unused in storage. It is white enamel, 4 gas burners, center griddle and storage bin as well as broiler. It works great but the oven gets really hot, and for years I just got use to putting the flame low and watch what I am baking - I made many Thanksgiving turkeys in that oven!

If you are a lover of these old stoves, you know they go in the range of $2500 up to $5000. I am letting my go for $1500 AND it has all its components such as the removable salt and pepper shakers, the knobs, and a working stove top light. I won't ship nor do I have time to research shipping with my moving and closing the store right now. If interested, and you have a way to come pick it up, please post a comment to me with your email and contact info (I won't publish your comments with your private information). Thanks for viewing it!

May I crow just a bit for a new business owner?

As many of you may know by now (if you read my blog) that I am a big supporter of those who go after their dreams, take a chance and step out on the edge. I am so proud to learn of those women (and yes, some men) that finally open their doors to their little shop.

Believe me when I tell you, I know the stress, the happiness, the worries and the pride the new shop owner feels when she opens her door for the first time, rings up the first sale, answers her first phone call, places her first ad in the paper, and then, turns off her store lights for the first time, and before she walks away to go home after a long and very exciting day, she will turn and look at her store, with the windows all lit, and her name on the door. That is a feeling that is just reserved for only those brave enough to step out of their comfort zone.

Also, if you read my blog, you will know that I am a VERY big believer in helping others because I believe with all my heart, that there is more than enough to go around - meaning - I don't see other boutique owners, or on-line stores as competetion because there are enough customers for everyone. I couldn't service everyone even if I wanted to! I have a new posting on my shop talk series on this very topic: competition. Please take a moment to read my latest shop talk posting.

So....I got a lovely email from Becky Maples, of North Carolina, who just opened her first little store, Rusty Rooster Gift and Curiosity Shop. She has only two postings and has a lovely way of writing about her first days as a new shop owner. Please stop by and read her blog (read Becky's blog) - especially for those of you in the dream stage and planning stages of owning your own store - you will be getting a fresh look at a very brand new braveheart!

I don't know Becky and have never been to her store, but I am bursting with pride at her courage, her talent and pride in living her dream. Feel free to drop her a note of encouragement - we store owners never, ever, ever tire of words of encouragement. Lord knows, sometimes, those words are what keep our dreams alive.

One Last Note...

And just one last reminder to those who have asked me to continue my shop talk series. I do have a new blog on this topic. To check if I have a new posting - just click on "view my complete profile" and you will see my blogs listed. The latest topic is about competition and getting your share (or piece) of the pie. Please read, if you wish, (shop talk posting) and forward it to those you feel would benefit from it. If you have a particular topic you would like me to address, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to cover that topic if I feel qualified.

Thank you so very much for your kindness, support, and encouragement. I hope to meet you all someday - and I do mean that.

from my house to your house,


May 14, 2007

A Faint Echo Can Speak Volumes of Contentment


I just wanted to update you on my moving up...moving on sale. It has been nice to visit and talk with my lovely customers this past week or so. At the end of the day, my voice is hoarse from calming down surprised customers who just discovered that I am leaving my location " oh noooo! You can't leeaaavvvee!!"

Once they understand that this is a good move for the business, I get smoothered with hugs, kisses, well wishes and promises to stay in touch. It is I, that is so touched. Touched by the emails, the phone calls, the visitors, and the out pour of love and wonderful memories.

I had several customers who like to talk about when I "first came to town." They like to talk about the time that I didn't even have awnings yet, or even employees! They like to talk about all the open houses I threw, the store window displays and of course, the "infamous" sign issue I have had with the city for over two years now.

They also like like to remember the numerous times that I would "pop into" the store with my paint clothes on and they didn't even know who I was...then after a while, they got use to seeing me only in my painted apron, head scarf, stained fingernails and no make-up. Later, I would be "popping into" the store all dressed up, with make-up, and then my customers wouldn't recognize me then!

While I am excited for the change, it is bittersweet - as with any change.

Excitement and worries. Energized, yet tired. Inspired and overwhelmed. Hopeful and doubtful. Looking foward, yet looking back. Tears of happiness and tears of sadness. Looking forward to the last day I am open to the public, yet dreading it as well. Excitement of the unknown and fear of the unknown. But do you want to know what I am feeling right at this very moment??


I am very, very content with my decision, my goals, my direction and my life. And I am going to enjoy this feeling, because for me, it is rare to enjoy the true moment. I am usually so goal-oriented, or so self-critical, or so demanding of myself, I find myself at times, planning my "moments" instead of just living the moment at hand. And you know what? It ain't half bad - meaning - being okay with just today and let tomorrow just wait for me.

Wait for me.

How often do you ever allow yourself or give yourself permission to be important enough to have someone or something just wait for you? How often do you find yourself putting yourself last? Taking care of everyone and everything first? How often do you find yourself rushing, doing, planning, working, organizing all in the name of not having others to wait on you or for you? Why is this? Are we not just as important as those we do for, plan for, and work for? Why don't we have more faith that we truly are important enough that tomorrow really will wait for us - because without us - tomorrow would be so much of course it will wait for us!!

So, today, I moved out some large items from the store and I am just now starting to hear a faint echo within the walls as my store empties. No doubt, as the days pass, the echo will increase in volume and I have faith that as the volume increases, my fears and doubts will faint away - making room for more goals, more dreams, more work to be done.

But for today...I am just going to be content with a faint echo...because quite frankly...I like what I am hearing.

May the quiet echos of your life bring contentment to your heart.

from my house to your house,

May 1, 2007

Elizabeth House Moving Up...Moving On...!!

Please note: I have a new blog on my Shop Talk Series. Please click on "view my profile" to access this new blog!

Have you ever wanted to do something, and you knew it was right, it was good, and even necessary...but you still felt trepidation in taking the first step? Well, I am taking a huge leap of faith and I hope you will leap with me.

Please leap with me.

I am expanding Elizabeth House! But in a manner that may not make sense, so I am going to try to explain my plans - plans I am very excited about (hence the huge grin in the photo of me with "my girls" as I like to call them).

I get emails almost everyday from people all over the country wishing they could come visit my store. I get several emails a week from people wishing I would write a book. I have stores who have contacted me, wanting to sell my Elizabeth House line of products. I have new clients that ask for my custom design work.

Well, there is only one of me (not sure if St. Louis could handle two!) and until science perfects it, I can't clone myself either. So, in order to expand my business the way I want to and in order to work on some opportunities that have come my way, I need to change the way I do retail. I am closing my retail location in St, Louis in order to expand Elizabeth House to my fullest vision.

Please trust me that there is a method to my madness! And I am truly happy with this direction that the business is taking.

My business has grown in ways that I never even imagined. In order for me to expand my private line, my baby line, and also keep up with increasing demand of my custom upholstery and bedding designs, changing how I handle the retail side of my business is just a must. This change in my business will allow me to devote more time to my custom design business and my private line of products. I will now have the time it takes to develop and grow my business.

So, how will my devoted customers continue to get the Elizabeth House signature items such as French olive oil soap, lavender soap, bun candles, sachets, lavender, baby items, Elizabeth House private line, and more? My website, will have an updated e-commerce site that will allow not only my local customers, but all my new friends, via cyberspace, to purchase those items as well. I will even feature some vintage and one-of-a-kind items. This new site is due to be up and running by late June. AND.....

...I plan to do a couple of national shows around the country. If you can't come to Elizabeth House, Elizabeth House will come to you! I will virtually rebuild Elizabeth House at these shows and decorate and design it and fill it with all the goodies I find, design, and create. You couldn't keep me from creating a "store" if you wanted to! Putting a store together is what keeps my creativity alive. When I narrow down the shows I will participate in, you will be the first to know. My goal is to do one on the East Coast and one on West Coast. And a local show as well.

I have even more plans in the works, and will let you in on them as the develop. But the main plan for now is to design my business in such a manner that will provide me with quality time to work, write, and research all that is necessary for the business to take its next steps.

Owning and running a store for over four and half years has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. Never did I think that my little boutique would get such exposure. I and my store have been in over 30 magazines, several national. And now to be a contributor to Romantic Homes magazine, is a dream come true. I am very fortunate.

Owning a store is an education that no MBA could match. The daily ins and outs of running a store is a book in itself. Dealing with contractors, vendors, inventory, artists, city government, landlords, upholsters, seamstress, painters, employees, clients, delivery men, bankers, butchers, bakers and even candlestick makers is an education that would equip one to run just about any business out there. I wouldn't trade this extremely valuable experience for anything.

Out of curiosity, I tallied up the number of hours I put into my business the last four and half years and conservatively, I estimated that I worked over 15,000 hours! And that is a conservative number. I don't want to even think about how much I made an hour! Remember when I said to those of you who want to own a store? I said to ask yourself if what you want to do, would you do it for free? Because sometimes you do. Or if not free, then maybe for a mere .22 cents an hour at times. You truly have to love what you do to put up with all that goes into owning a store.

As I stated earlier, there is a method to my madness. My dear friend, prior employee, and owner of, Sharon, has been very generous with her validating comments since becoming a business owner herself. Sharon worked for me for over three years and she watched me and my "madness" daily. She has heard of all my lofty goals, dreams and plans. She has seen me work, design, and create. I've known for a long time that it wasn't a case of "if" I close the St. Louis location, but rather when. It is all part of the plan.

Sharon has only recently confessed to me that while working for me she often wondered to herself, "why is Elizabeth doing that?" or "Why isn't she doing this?" or "She is crazy, that won't work." And even, "She has so many irons in the fire, why does she do that?" She now tells me that she sees all of my "madness" so very clearly now. That it all makes sense to her now. She has told me that not a day goes by that something doesn't come up in her own new business that a light bulb goes off in her head and she thinks, "oh! that is why Elizabeth did it that way!" Like I said, she is generous in telling me how she now understands what I did when I did it, how I did it, and more importantly, why.

As Sharon likes to say: "I always kept my eye on the prize."

So you may be wondering, where am I going? What am I going to do? How do you get a hold of me? When is the last day the store will be open? Where will I live? Will I still write this blog? Will I move out of my apartment? Yes, I will be leaving my apartment behind is only paint. I used to direct and perform in the theater while living in Europe. We would build very elaborate sets. It is a theatre tradition that on the last performance night, the cast stays behind and "strikes the set" which means to tear it down. And the very next day, we would begin building a new set for the next production. One could say that Elizabeth House is working on its next production.

At the very end of this posting, I answer a lot of the questions you may have and I will continue to keep you informed of my adventures as they unfold. Many times I have advised my cyber friends (readers) to have the courage to get out of the comfort zone. To step out. Have faith. Do what your heart tells you to do. Well...I am going to do just that. And boy, am I out of my comfort zone! Do I worry? Of course! Do I have all the answers and plans down? Impossible. Do I get stressed out and overwhelmed? Sleepless nights are common lately. But, more importantly, do I believe in myself?

Without a doubt. Not a single doubt.

Most of you know that I run marathons. I would like to use a running analogy to sum up this phase of my life: When I train for a marathon, I work out, lift weights, eat right, and run, run, run. Then, I step up to the starting line and wait for the starter gun to go off. It has been the same with Elizabeth House boutique. The last four and half years was a very intense "training program" with many challenges that expertly prepared me for much bigger things.

When something comes to an end, most people like to say, "that was a good run." That is not the case with Elizabeth House because it isn't coming to an end at all. After years of training, one could say that Elizabeth House is just now trained and ready enough to step up to the starting line, waiting for the starter gun. And once that starter gun fires, there will be no looking back. And what a run it is going to be!

Trust me. I am not going anywhere - but up. Things really will be "okay."

Thank you for letting me share this venture with you and for supporting me in all that I do. How very fortunate I am to have you all in my life. And being at the starting line with me. It is always nice to have someone cheering for you...and now I need to get ready to step up to the starting line. But first, I need to go pee....ask any runner what is the last thing she does before stepping up to the starting line? She reties her shoe laces, then she goes pee. I am so excited about all this - I may just pee in my pants. Or....maybe I will just go stand in line at the portapotty. It is going to be a long, exciting run. :-)

From my house to your house,


Questions and answers:

What is the last day the store will be open? Elizabeth House's last day is May 25th I will be having huge sales up to that date. I may even have a back lot sale on the 26th. I will announce that sale, if I have one. I will post on this blog some of the larger items that will be on sale, should you store owners or store owners-wanna-be's may need something for your store. Please be patient and wait for me to get the photos up and prices ready in a few days. I won't be able to answer all emails quickly the next few days.

Can I still purchase my olive soap and candles? Yes. The website will be up and selling by late June.

What about my design consult gift certificate? All gift certificates will be honored as usual.

How will I get a hold of Elizabeth? You may reach me via website or phone, 314-644-0828.

Where will Elizabeth live and work? I am going to work out of my home and meet my clients in my home or theirs. I will have a workshop on site in which to paint and work. My location will be announced later.

Will Elizabeth still paint kitchens and furniture and faux finish walls? Yes! I intend to do a lot more painting!

Which national shows will Elizabeth be in? I will announce the schedule once finalized.

Will Elizabeth ever open another store? Yes. I hope to open another store sometime down the road.

Will Elizabeth still be in Chicago? Yes for now. There are some changes being made in the building that I am located in which may require me to find another location, but yes, there will be a Chicago location. More details later.

Is Elizabeth moving away from St. Louis? I have no immediate plans to leave the area. I love this city and feel at home here.

Will Elizabeth still travel to Europe? Yes! I hope to have more time now to do so. I will buy inventory to be sold on the website and in the shows.

Will Elizabeth still continue to write this blog and talk about owning a store and give store advice? Yes, I love writing. And if there is an interest in my sharing what I learned as a store owner, I would be happy to continue my Shop Talk series. Just let me know if you would like me to continue that series.

Will Elizabeth continue to show her design work? Yes. With this change, I anticipate even more time to devote to my design work.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...