Last week marked the one year anniversary of Cottage Blue Home opening up at 11 Second St. West in Cornwall, Ontario, and it’s been a crazy year!
Opening up in the Fall meant that we only had about a month and a half to settle in before it was time to get ready for Christmas (the busiest time of the year), so we really had to hit the ground running… and we’ve been running ever since! We had to learn the ins and outs of our new business on the go, and there sure was a lot to learn (in fact there still is!).
To honour our one year anniversary, we thought we’d share with you the top five things that we’ve learned this year:
5) Communication is key. Whether we are deciding on a new colour scheme or layout for the store, placing our first order for Christmas stock or writing a blog post, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. That way everyone is happy with the progression of the business, and we know that we are putting forth our best work and ideas; if one of us alone can produce a good idea, all of us together will produce a great one! Effective communication with customers is also essential to our business; with custom orders being such a big part of what we do it is so important that we have a good understanding of what our customers need.
4) Invest in a good coffee machine. A strong cup of coffee in the morning (and the afternoon, and maybe one or two in between) can make all the difference in your day! It takes a lot of energy to run a business, and sometimes you need a little boost to keep your energy up. You won’t find any decaf here!
3) Change is good; it keeps things interesting and allows you to see things from a new perspective. Sometimes it’s a big change (like opening up a new business), but even smaller changes make a big impact. Even something as simple as moving around a display can make everything look new again. Never be afraid to try something different!
2) There is very little that is more important than a comfortable pair of shoes! A cute pair of ballet flats simply doesn’t cut it in retail when you’re on your feet all day… Let alone when you’re climbing up and down ladders and hauling sideboards around the store! As something of a shoe fanatic, I was stubborn on this point, but after a year of sore feet I finally had to give in. It’ll be sneakers and *gasp* crocs for me from now on!
1) The #1 thing that we have learned this year is that we have the absolute best customers around. We have been so lucky to have received incredible support from our longtime customers, as well as from so many new faces. Our community of ‘regulars’ has quickly grown to include many amazing people from our new community in Cornwall, as well as surrounding areas like Montreal and Ottawa. This year has been a whirlwind—full of ups and downs— but the constant and continuing enthusiasm and support of our customers motivates us to keep a positive attitude and continue to do what we love. Thank you to everyone who has made our first year in Cornwall such a wonderful and exciting one!