2.03.2013

Moving out!

 
What a wild month January was!  The sell off went so well I had to lock the door at the close of business Saturday, Jan. 26th!  There was hardly anything left, and I needed the time to pack up my bag of tricks and move it all home!  I kept thinking I could pick away at it between customers, but I found that any time I had between customers, I used to re-charge, re-assess and re-arrange a bit to fill in the empty spots!  You kept me hopping, that's for sure! Here's what it looked like the night before the movers were to come. Look at the book pages still at the top of the posts...and the light fixtures on the floor!
 
 My mother and sister were such good helpers on Monday. They helped me take inventory and pack up the leftover merchandise that was being donated to the Women's Crisis Shelter and the Lawrence County Cancer Society. 
My husband came up in the evenings to help dump garbage, take down window treatments, break down shelving units, etc.  So much to do!
 
This was the closest I was going to get to putting my feet up! Gave me a chance to have a few last moments with my cash wrap.  My, but you served me well.  This piece went in to storage for a bit.  Next time I use it will be for coffee and/or cocktails...we'll see! And I have big plans for my garbage can.  I think that would make a great base for a large round glass top dining room table.  Red is sooooo in right now! 
 
This is my pretty, pretty sister taking all the staples out of the posts from all the book pages that covered them! She was there when they went up!  Such a good sport...and such a huge help! I think I owe her one!
 

 
 

Loved watching them move some of my favorite pieces!  They thought I was crazy for taking pictures...oh, well!!!

A slight bobble and re-grip made my heart skip a beat.
 

My sister and I took the sign down first thing in the morning.  She held it while I loosened the bolts. So excited to take it down myself!

I love the pieces/props of pepperberry's I can see in the truck!  A bicycle tire, old fabric bolt, the cinder blocks, bassinet...all ready to roll.
 

Returning it to it's original state. That's a lot of wood!
 

Lights out and doors locked. The first night in several months that I leave while it's still light outside. But before I head for home, one last stop....
 

...to Rebecca's to hand my keys off to Becky, the new landlord of the property that housed my favorite little shop!  May the next tennant enjoy many years of success and happiness!
 
Oh, by the way, guess what the very last box I carried out was....champagne!  After the movers left my house, I went back up to clean and do one last walk through and I found a few bottles in the frig that I had forgotten about!  So. very. fitting.! 
 
I hope you're enjoying your weekend!  I am visiting my daughter in Nashville and helping her put some finishing touches on her and her husband's new condo. They moved a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't wait to see their new place!  I had booked a flight for the day after the move and I'm so glad I did. She's been great at letting me catch up on some sleep and even take a bit of *me time*. I went to bed at 10 last night and slept til almost 8:30!  She was just as surprised as I was! 
 
Ok, gotta run! Thanks for checking in!

12.22.2012

A Clearance Sale, of the large variety...



{photo courtesy of Susan W. Patton Photography}
                         
For just over 6 years I've wondered what this day would look and feel like. *This day* being the day I put a check mark in the done column next to *owning my own successful retail shop* and move on to the next item on my bucket list.

Just over six years ago, I opened pepperberry's in the tiny town of New Wilmington, PA. I'd always been passionate about retail, and dreamed of owning my own shop. A shop like no other, that reflected my taste, my ideas, and my standards. I set out to build a brand, and target a market that I felt was being overlooked. The experience I had gained from owning my interior design business, along with my competitive nature and the entrepreneurial spirit that looms large in me provided the backbone I needed for this challenge.

My vision was an eclectic mix of mid to high-end home accessories and gifts with a European, farmhouse, industrial vibe. My attention to detail, use of clever, creative merchandising and being on the cutting edge of social media marketing would play key roles.  I would be a hands on shopkeeper and happily embrace all that being a specialty retail boutique offers. True to form, I jumped in with both feet, and you were right behind me!  You supported me by spreading the word to other like minded shoppers and year after year my customer base grew and sales increased. Expansions became a necessity, and national recognition by industry trade magazines was attained. Believe me when I say, I have had the time of my life!

 I have never taken my success in this industry for granted, thanking God every day that I have had the luxury of doing something I am so passionate about for as long as I have wanted to. That's the key right there. I am a huge fan of controlling my own destiny. I have worked very, very hard to make wise decisions and choices so that I could keep playing this *game* of retail for as long as I wanted. Even during the recent economic downturn, I was able to find creative ways to grow and was not afraid to take a risk. Every two years I managed to expand and reinvent pepperberry's in visibly substantial, and very successful ways. In 2009, pepperberry's gained national attention from a premiere industry trade publication Home Accents Today, as one of the "50 Retail Stars", and just a few weeks ago, Gifts and Decorative Accessories named pepperberry's as one of the "25 Gifted Retailers of 2012". It is such an honor to be included in both of these elite groups. These achievements surpassed all the hopes and dreams I ever had for my little shop and I view them as feathers in my retail cap.   

 I knew from the beginning that this was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, yet I did not have a time frame or end date in mind. My goal every year was the same, to stay in the black, be open minded, and let the business lead me in whatever direction it may. As I said before, it was every two years that I'd been able to change it up, and well, it's been two years since the last directional shift. What may come as a surprise to you, is that the direction I'm being pulled in, right now, seems to be back home. Home to my nest, to cook, to clean, to reconnect as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and aunt with those who have supported and encouraged me the most, in ways that enabled me to indulge in my passion and be the retailer I wanted/needed to be. It was, at times, exhausting and all-consuming and they willingly took a back seat to it and pitched in to pick up the slack at home and up here.  My husband, my kids, parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, not only know my heart, they know my soul. I owe so much of my success to them and I thank them with all my heart.

 My decision to close has nothing to do with any of the usual reasons that businesses close {I can assure you, I still have new customers coming in the door, and I will not be looking forward to income tax season again!}, and has everything to do with being ready for something new. I've repurposed and reinvented many, many things in the last six years and now it's time to reinvent myself. Those of you who know me well, know that I thrive on change. It spurs my creativity and energizes me. Having said that though, I'll probably sleep for the first 6 months or so, maybe take a vacation, definitely get my house in order and  put it on the market, and hopefully buy and redecorate a new home.  And then, who knows? I can tell you, I have a couple other new business ventures up my sleeve that I would love to explore, so we'll see!  Really cool ideas!

I'm a tracker. I've tracked everything you can imagine in an effort to be prepared, change courses if and when necessary and minimize surprises. Not a fan of surprises! However, through all the calculated buying, forecasting, marketing etc., there has been one *surprise* that caught me off guard. One I really hadn't even considered. The biggest surprise of all has been the wonderful and meaningful relationships that have grown out of getting to know all of you, my loyal customers, and new found friends. Yes, you {customers} generally speaking, are always the most important element of the success of a retail business with every purchase you make, but beyond just shopping here, you let me into your lives. You gave me, through pepperberry's, the opportunity to help you celebrate and commemorate your milestones, as well as those of your friends and loved ones. We've shared many laughs and felt each others pain. You've always been very generous in your giving and your loyalty to pepperberry's has not gone unnoticed. Thank you.  I will miss you, and treasure the memories forever. You made it fun for me to do what I did, and I will forever be grateful for that opportunity.

 I want to express my heartfelt thanks to my shopgirls, Betsy, Janet and Diane who put up with me, and worked as diligently as if it was their own shop. I am, admittedly, not the easiest person to work for. I'm a control freak and my please and thank you's are not always spoken aloud. They quickly understood the significance of doing things the *pepperberry's way* was not just to make me happy, but more importantly to protect and preserve the integrity of my brand. They were loyal and dependable and represented pepperberry's well. 

 My deepest gratitude also goes to my behind the scenes creative team, namely Rebecca Snyder, my graphics guru, my photographer Susan W. Patton, and Terri Lohman, my very good friend first, and VB sales rep. second.  You are remarkably creative hardworking women who read my mind, know my needs and capture my essence in the name of branding and twirling ideas. You've made my life easier in so many ways and you inspire me beyond belief. You've enriched my brand and my life and it has been a privilege to work with you.

Although I feel the time is right to reinvent myself, believe me, it has not been void of emotion.  I don't believe in second guessing and I knew I needed to make the decision before the heady rush of the holiday season would cloud things.  As a retailer, you work so hard all year so that November and December are successful. It's no secret that 4th quarter is the most important quarter...so important, that most retailers including me, start planning for it in January. I have said before that I never take it for granted, and it's magical when the results are tangible. This year has been no different. I love the magic, the pace and the intensity of crunch time.  I have shed more than a few tears, especially as the time draws nearer. My emotions are running high and are all over the place.  There's a sense of pride and accomplishment that I did it and did it well, which usually leads into disbelief and astonishment and then immediately on to the humbling recognition and acknowledgement that this was all part of God's plan for my life, to whom I give thanks for the gifts with which He has blessed me. There's a heaviness in my heart for the void that will inevitably be felt, yet a twinkle in my eye for the possibilities of what lies ahead for me!

And so, I tip my retail hat to all of you, my customers, shopgirls and creative team, and raise a glass of cheer, as has become a custom for our many events. When I say "we're serving champagne", you say "we'll be there" and so, I find it only fitting, to pop a few corks one last time and celebrate together the liquidation event of this fine little shop called pepperberry's.
DETAILS:

This is an everything must go sale! Every piece of jewelry, every stick of furniture, every handbag, tote and wallet, every sheet of tissue paper!
 Store wide reductions of 30% off {50% off Christmas}, and you, my VIP customers, are getting a well deserved 2 day head start AND a sip of bubbly before it opens to the general public! That means you'll have the best selection of what's sure to be a fast and furious, bare to the bones sell off, and yes, the champagne will be flowing on those 2 days only!
{Please note that I will be closed between Christmas and New Year's to prepare!}

 Fine print details...in large print so that we're all clear:
All sales are final. No holds, returns, refunds, exchanges, or store credits. No gift wrapping, shipping or delivery. Gift cards/store credits must be redeemed by the end of January.

Hours beginning January 2nd:
 Mon - Fri: 10 - 5, Sat: 10 - 4
There will be no February hours.

  And so, off to my nest...at least for a while...there have been pools started within my family as to how long it will take before I get bored and am ready for my next adventure! It's fun to think about!  Will it be an Airstream that doubles as a food truck? A creperie..{did you know there's a crepe school in Bethesda, MD....and there are crepe CARTS!!!!}?  I'm kind of being led, and very attracted to the hospitality industry these days....and a certain greenhouse...shhhhh {hubby's not on board with that idea}!  "Nesting" lends itself well to the hospitality industry, you know!  I love being led! I love the  process of how it unfolds and reveals itself to me! I'm so tuned in to it...that's just how I roll!  I'll let you know where I land...just in case you want to come along! I hope you will.

See you Jan 2nd and 3rd,
laurie.


 

11.17.2012

Happy Happy Holidays!

Frosted mercury glass with a burnout snowflake, so understated and beautiful. I just love this Christmas ornament! The holiday season has arrived and Christmas Day is only weeks away.  How does it sneak up on us every year?!  Time to kick it into gear and get some shopping done!  With so many wonderful gifts to choose from here a pberry's, you may need to round up a few more people to buy for!  Customers have actually said that!
Thought I would do a "look book" type of post to inspire you, and hopefully help you cover some ground before you walk in the door! These items are in no particular order...I love them all...and they are certainly not all that we have, this is just a sampling!
Originally these were called Redneck Wine Glasses, they've since been renamed Hillbilly Wine Glasses. Same great design, same great reaction! Ours come in 2 varieties, Ammo (with a piece of ammunition in the stem and directions to break glass in case of emergency!), and Black and Gold Rocks (with black and gold rocks in the stem for Steeler fans everywhere!).  So fun!


I love these little Vietri mini platters paired up with a dip mix.  What a wonderful way to give a nice piece of this Italian pottery without worrying about matching some one's dishes!  Who can't use one of these at the holidays?!  We also have the dip mixes in Vietri red and white polka dot oval bowls.

I have a tray fetish!  I love the color and texture of these willow trays and find them to be so versatile. Perfect for your stack of holiday cards, or keys and such, or magazines on a table.  Fresh fruit would be great on these, or nuts, or greens and pine cones.  I love trays!

Here are Vietri Santa Plates paired up with a cheeseball mix that, when made, fits perfectly on the little plate.  Such a sweet little gift!  Wonderful hostess gift...take it to the next level and make the cheeseball and deliver it on the plate...no need to worry about getting it back after the party!

 It's not a secret that we all loved the cake rounds we carried in years past, however, I decided to change it up a tad this year when I found these scrumptious FUDGE CAKES!  Yes, it's a cake of fudge, enrobed in chocolate that you slice and chunk to serve!  These have been very well received and are going quickly!

Aroma therapy!  Microwaveable body warmer in 2 scents, Cranberry and Lavender. We all know how these work, right? Pop the insert in the microwave to heat, then put it back in the LAMBSWOOL cover (read: so incredibly soft and cuddly)  and get your cozy on! 

 I love the shape of these, just like mom's hot water bottle...but waaaaayyy nicer! 

Speaking of *cozy*, if you ARE going to give a bottle of wine, you absolutely have to sink it in one of these! Usually we go with a topper, but this year, it's bottoms up!

Scrappy, scrolly, metal trees make a clean, simple statement.  Such a nice alternative for someone who doesn't put up a Christmas tree any longer. 


I like our wreath offerings this year! This is the birch bark wreath that came in a small and large size. The large is sold out. Just pretty. The tin sign stands about 3' and can be hung on a wall or propped as a backdrop.

Red is so hot right now...not just because it's Christmas, I'm seeing it pop up in decorating more and more.  It started in kitchens, and is now making it's way into the rest of the house in accent pieces!  The iron butterfly chair is to die for, it's as simple as that. I loved it so much, I built our Winter Garden theme around it! 


Here's a closeup of the houndstooth throw on the butterfly chair, and the scrap metal wreath!
Stunning.  Grey is also a hot color right now...so neutral.  The throw also comes in camel, also a neutral color. And how about this wreath.  Oh my goodness, how I love this wreath.  Small but mighty!   


Chunky, creamy white pottery for decoration only (not food safe), but would love to hold a bunch of holly branches for you!  How pretty would THAT be?!  And, as for the square platter...I adore it.  

Another member of this year's wreath family...the woodrose and frost tipped pine cone wreath.  Creamy, dreamy and lovely, in 2 sizes!

SNOW GAUGES!  Ok, I get that we don't live in Colorado, but it's not like we don't get ANY snow...except for last winter!  Does it really matter?  I think every home in this area, with small children should have a snow gauge!  My grandchildren are getting one...SHHHHH!...and yours should too!

He's just so darn good looking with the snowflake candles in him, imagine him with apples, or pomegranates with greens! I love his little stubby feet! And don't miss the tray he's sitting on! (Scroll down, please!)

Industrial grey metal!  My favorite.  This tray comes in 3 sizes. I love a tray like this sitting on an ottoman or coffee table for remotes and magazines.  So cool!
For the cook who has everything! It's been proven that holiday cookies taste better when the snowflake handled measuring cups are used. Just kidding!  These are the same ones that Paula Deen uses though, and I'll bet her cookies are good!  And hey, if you make the baker happy, you just may end up with a cookie or two, so there's that to consider as well!

Here we go with the trays again.  This (and the next one) are old, authentic, European grape gathering baskets! This one is HUGE and would look great sitting on the bed in a guest room...filled with a couple rolled up fluffy towels, bubble bath and a good magazine. Add a lovely candle and matches, water pitcher and glass, or bottle of wine....somehow it turned into a bath themed basket!  Why not?!

Here's the ROUND one!  Oh, how I love the round one!  It's really large as well! These baskets / trays are so sturdy too! A lot of grapes were gathered in this. So much character in this otherwise plain basket.
Just like the snow gauge, I think every house with small children should have snowmen draft dodgers!  Need I say more?!
How brilliant is it that someone thought to take a relatively low calorie pretzel, dunk it in a vat of chocolate, give it a generous coating of sugary goodness... and call it a gift! 
Brilliant...and soooooo yummy! 

Oh what comfort you'll find in a long sleeve nightshirt that comes IN A SACK!  Love great packaging! Two designs, One size fits all!  Doesn't get much easier than that.... 

Not a nightshirt kind of gal?  No prob!  I give you the Magic Top 'N Shorts (see the packages in the sink?)!  Just remove the wrapper and put in water and in 5 minutes, you'll have a cool top and a hot pair of shorts (see the mannequin)!  NOT EVEN KIDDING!  It's magic...and so fun!

 Spending an extended amount of time with your extended family?  In the * spirit* of holidays and families, meet your new best friend!  Clips to your belt loop so it's never out of reach!  What a great girlfriend gift!
For the milder beverage toters...the insulated lidded mug in festive stripes or dots...aka: how to decorate your desk or vehicle for the holidays! Very giftable too!  
 
 I hope this gave you some ideas! Please keep in mind, the Alex and Ani bracelets are so hot right now, and make wonderful gifts, as do the John Wind bracelets, the Sid Dickens memory blocks, and the Vera Bradley bags and travel pieces!

Enjoy your holiday and, as always, thank you so much for shopping at pepperberry's!  You're all so good to me, and I truly appreciate it!
See you when you get here!

10.12.2012

The scary month of October


Yep, scary. That's the word for it...not in the witches, skeletons, haunted house, graveyard, Halloween kind of way though.  More like, the open house is still 3 weeks away and I'm tired of how my showroom looks and the only new merchandise is holiday merchandise and can't go out yet, kind of way!  I always thought that getting new product in here all the time was for all of you, but October reminds me that it's really for me, so that I don't get bored. So I don't get that itch!  I don't do bored well...makes me really itchy!

Don't get me wrong...there's lots to do. The elves and I are busy unpacking the holiday merchandise, checking on backorders, placing last minute orders, pre-wrapping gift giving goodies and other behind the scenes tricks, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm a little tired of the current floor set!  That's another reason I don't put the holiday merchandise out before my open house {the first weekend in November}.  I can't stand to look at it for that long!

The funny thing is, so many people come in here asking for it starting in September, but invariably the first person in the door at open house is a newbie, who walks in the door and is absolutely appalled that we have holiday merchandise out so EARLY, and they are not shy about telling me!  "You retailers always rush the season. It's not even Thanksgiving, blah, blah, blah...!

Call me crazy, but I need to change up my space... often, and when I can't do it here, look out!  My husband is the victim of a relentless barrage of "let's knock out this wall", "let's build a house", and other major, off the wall, lofty daydreaming! Then he's the one who's scared because he knows that I like *big* projects, and I tend to jump in with both feet.  The scarier / riskier the better.  I love a challenge and I'm very competitive. 

Yesterday I needed it to be today.  I had to speak at a luncheon and although it went well, I just had not been looking forward to doing it.  Yesterday morning, I needed to be on the other side of the luncheon, couldn't wait. Now that it's today, I need it to be Oct. 28th, the day I lock myself in here to flip, and twirl, and mix this place up for the holiday season!  As much as I don't like to wish away the days, that's where I find myself! 

9.26.2012

Z is for...

{The LAST in the abc's series!  Click here, then scroll down to read previous posts!}

ZINC!

zinc Pronunciation (zngk)
n. Symbol Zn
A bluish-white, lustrous metallic element that is brittle at room temperature but malleable with heating. It is used to form a wide variety of alloys including brass, bronze, various solders, and nickel silver, in galvanizing iron and other metals, for electric fuses, anodes, and meter cases, and in roofing, gutters, and various household objects. Atomic number 30; atomic weight 65.39; melting point 419.4°C; boiling point 907°C; specific gravity 7.133 (25°C); valence 2. See Table at element.
tr.v. zinced or zincked, zinc·ing or zinck·ing, zincs or zincks
To coat or treat with zinc; galvanize.
 
One of my favorite metals of all time!  I love the look of it, and think it works well with many styles.  If it's galvanized, I probably own it; I have such a penchant for it!

A new arrival, a stackable storage unit!  Great in a bathroom for cotton balls, or on the kitchen counter for candies!  

This is probably my favorite piece in the shop right now!  I wanted these for Maggie's wedding, but they never came in til yesterday!  I can see this on a kitchen table filled with seasonal fruits and nuts and greens!  Be still my heart!

The giant galvanized finial!  I actually think this makes a great tree topper...when it's not in the garden! 


And finally, a galvanized ladder style bookshelf.  Perfect for adding a little height and interest in that unfinished corner of a small room. (Right, Maggie?!) 

And so, this concludes the abc's of pepperberry's blog series! I hope you enjoyed gaining a little insight into all that pepperberry's is from A to Z!  For me, it was an exercise in discipline, and I hope to keep blogging on a regular basis now that I'm in the groove again. Thank you for all your kind words, support and encouragement. Without it, I'd probably still be on the letter C!   

Please let me know if there is anything you would like me to write about or expand upon. It's a little easier when I don't have to come up with the subject on my own! 

Also, I wouldn't mind hearing what your favorite post was! {Even if it was before the abc's series!} Either leave a comment, or drop me an email, or tell me the next time you're in! 

Thanks for reading and see you back here soon!



9.25.2012

Y is for...

{Part 25 in the abc's series!  Click here, then scroll down to read previous posts!}
 

YARN,

yarn, and more YARN!  This year's version of fingerless gloves are really great...they are Peruvian knit and have a POCKET...SCORE!  Now you can grab your gloves, your debit card and go! It's that time of year, not to mention that these will also make great stocking stuffers.
 
Jewel tones, Earth tones and basic black...something for everyone!
 
 See the button near the base of my thumb?  That's the button for the pocket!
 
And HATS too!  Love the tassels on the corners and at the end of the ties!
 
 Squiggly, curly yarn scarves to match as well...just fun!
 
Displayed on a yarn tree...of course!
 

to be continued...