Thursday, March 13, 2008

Compare & Contrast

I am writing this in honor of my friend JL, who is on the brink of opening a brand-spanking new scrapbooking store in Durango.

She and her mom have been putting every waking moment into renovating an otherwise demolished back room of their auto parts store. They have turned grease stains into polished floor, ugly cement walls into shades of Tinkerbell green and Heffalump purple. Fuel pumps and carborators have been replaced with metallic pegboards and handpainted shelves. Soon stickers, glitter, books and paper in every color of the rainbow will burst through the doors on opening day, making a bright spot on College Drive.

Honestly, I think the amazing transformation from a testosterone-charged, spit-shine parts store into kistchy cellebration of female-driven embellishments is quite poetic to say the least. I commend my friend for pursuing her own interests under the harsh gaze of the elder traditionalists in her family; the ones whose daily exchanges consist of grunts between mechanics. I look forward to watching the mechanical grunts morph into girly gushes.

JL has been feelin' the heat, so to speak. The pressure of running a small business in a small town, where all the owners have been linked since the establishment of Durango, and criticism is never absent, is starting to rise its ugly head.

She wrote about being bombarded with questions today: When is your business opening? What kind of stuff are you going to have? ME WANT DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS. I'm sure she is getting comments like "Well, you know, at the Scrapbook Cottage, they had THIS there.." and "You should DEFINITELY have the same stuff, ALL scrapbook stores have THOSE THINGS."

Yuck. Unsolicited advice is always uncomfortable, but it can be used to your advantage. Getting people's opinions on things may throw you off balance, but it also re centers yourself in the world. It reminds you of why you are different and what you have to offer that others might not.

When I was pregnant (which is the time of your life when you will get the MOST unsolicited advice), People felt obliged to HEAP their opinions on me, and I was expected to absorb every word with a demure and grateful demeanor. People told me ludicrous things like I shouldn't OPEN DOORS, drive down dirt roads, hang around pit bulls. I got serious looks of pity and disgust when I worked my pizza delivery job, and eye rolling when I told people I wanted to have a waterbirth. I got looks that said "Oh great, ANOTHER hippy is bringing a granola crunchin, non-immunizing, dirty, barefoot child into the world."

Damn straight I was.

Opening a business is kinda like having a baby. I mean, you make plans to have it (well if you aren't me), you prepare for it, you make sure you know everything you can know about how to take care of it, and then you welcome it into the world. And when people criticize it, and compare it to other babies you are heartbroken and angry when yours doesn't "meet" the standards people have.

I have complete confidence in my friend. She is smart and level-headed. When I suggested that she get her liquor license and have the world's first scrapbooking bar, she simply laughed. Another reason why I would be a shoddy business owner.

So Hang in there JL! I we love you and will be there at your grand opening! Yay for the Scrapbook Nook!

2 comments:

Colorado Girl said...

Thanks girl...you know it definitely is like having a kid, it is both beautiful and incredibly scary...thanks for all the confidence you have in me. It's funny about the transformation though from parts to scrapbooking, you wouldn't believe the guys who have gone back to check it out and tell me how cool it is. A couple even offered help with carpentry work, which was super cool of them. Thanks for always being there AND for your support, it's nice to know that I have it from all you guys. Love you and thanks for dedicating your blog to me today =D

Colorado Girl said...

Thanks girl...you know it definitely is like having a kid, it is both beautiful and incredibly scary...thanks for all the confidence you have in me. It's funny about the transformation though from parts to scrapbooking, you wouldn't believe the guys who have gone back to check it out and tell me how cool it is. A couple even offered help with carpentry work, which was super cool of them. Thanks for always being there AND for your support, it's nice to know that I have it from all you guys. Love you and thanks for dedicating your blog to me today =D