Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Looking For Answers

There has been a 
tremendous response 
to my blog posts about finding your 
 and doing what brings you fulfilment in life!
Thanks for following along and sharing your desire to succeed in your retail endeavors.

Our lives can be
in so many respects:
faith, family, health, contentment, friendship, career . . . 

My focus is in regard to 
That field where you are happy to spend time every day, smelling the flowers.

 I'm talking about a real business career. 
 The kind that will support you if all other sources of income are taken away and you're relying solely on your business to pay your mortgage and all your other bills,
in addition to supporting itself.
The kind of income you can build a life on.

A lifetime ago, I began my business with practically no resources and no experience.
OK, delete "practically".

What I did have was boundless energy, cockeyed optimism, determination and passion for my dream.
Because I had no one to turn to for advice, I stumbled into every pitfall
 and encountered every setback a small business could endure.
Bruised but determined, I took each mudslide in stride and forged on.
It's almost impossible to build a successful business today it that manner.
With the Internet bringing your competition right to your customers' fingertips,
the playing field is not the same.

Even forty years ago, the better way to succeed would have been

 follow a responsible business plan
  consult an experienced entrepreneur 
on the finer points of
 marketing, buying, display, customer satisfaction, closing the sale, employees
and so on.
Today, that's imperative!

Lack of knowledge in
these areas is why most small retailers close their shops within two years.
Two years and all their resources, (often borrowed money), are forfeited.

Then, there are those wonderful little retail shops that thrive and prosper and make you think,
"WOW - I wish  . . . "

If you're one of those people
designed to be in business
you may be wondering how to get where you want to be.

I am here to help you do that.

I've seen women with little experience,
 working on a shoestring budget
 get what they're looking for in business - with the right coaching.

Are you the owner of a small business that's all you ever dreamed it would be?

Would you be happier with more profit and fewer headaches?
Are you looking at the competition and thinking you're missing what it takes to stay ahead?
Wondering why some businesses take off and soar to the top?
Are you counting the number of "lookers" versus the number of "purchasers"?
Are you wishing your average sale was larger?
Can you discern at what point your shopper has emotionally become a purchaser?

Do you overcome objections and close the sale?

You can look for answers to these and all your questions here.

If you're reading this blog and thinking,
then you can move to the next level in growing your business
with some time and trial tested consultation and coaching from a forty year professional.

Follow The REAL JOY as we begin to answer real questions readers are asking!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Welcome To The Blog! Get Your "SPECIAL GIFT"

Welcome to Antiques By Joy!
There has been a veritable bouquet of new friends and readers at Antiques By Joy lately,
and I'm taking this opportunity to say how delighted I am to have you join me here!

This is where I explore and share all sorts of
 meanderings, memories and musings . . .
and invite you to tarry awhile,
and break away from work and stress and life's little cares.

It's healthy to take a few minutes each day to just breathe deeply, stretch your body and soul,
 and escape to a place where you can be
 thankful and share a smile.

I find that some weeks I post more than other weeks . . . 
I take time away for buying trips and often have a hectic schedule at the antiques shops . . . 
but I always return to the quiet pleasure of sharing my thoughts and experiences with you.

If you look through the previous posts, I've been tracking my beginnings as an antiques dealer
from the time I first longed to be in the business . . . through the throes of set up and many of my
  faux pas of business development.
I started that series because I hear nearly every day,
"How did you get started in this wonderful business?"
"I wish I had a shop like this."

I have older posts about learning to "pick" with my grandmother,
her incredible talent and enthusiasm for life.
There are how to's and what if's and buying trip exploits
scattered throughout the pages for you.
You'll hear about me, my philosophy, my faith and my background,
and some pretty crazy things I've tried.
(Some were great fun and some were total flops.)
This is the real Joy, freckles, bruises and all!

I've always believed the old adage that laughter is the best medicine . . . 
and you may feel free to laugh at me and my wonderful trials and errors!

So, grab a cup of tea, and take a few minutes to look through the blog posts for some
 fun and funny
and some relaxing (and hopefully) enriching reading.

Can you imagine . . . Joy is busy
along with partners Melanie and Kellie
organizing our autumn displays!
In retail it's imperative that we stay a couple of months ahead of the season,
so that you can shop, ponder and plan your own seasonal decorating.
This requires us to purchase spring garden items while it's icy and snowy, and Christmas ornaments while it's still steamy July!!!!

We exist,
 "out of context" 
so hopefully you don't have to!

Thank you for taking time to read along my friend,
and please know that I am honored by you being here!

If you begin
the blog,
you'll see every once in awhile that I will offer a
for you readers alone!
Simply click "FOLLOW" on my home page.
As a
to you
you may use this code
at Dwell Antiques & Home

and receive 10@ off any one JOY tagged item!
(This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Ahhh . . . innocence!
Opening my first antiques shop in south Florida was a dream come true.
 I loved to hunt . . .  and gather pieces of history, and bring them together to tell a story.
 I wanted to immerse myself in the beautiful timeworn patina of the past.
I wanted to present these delightful treasures to others who would love them as much as I did!  
I wanted to open a charming place where people could come and relish a bit of their time, away from the hustle and bustle of the ordinary.
My little dream came true.

There is something to be said for barging blindly into the business world with absolutely no idea of what you're doing . . . 
(When I say I made it through by the
 Grace of God,
picture a kitten deciding to cross the interstate at rush hour.)

Folks who are savvy, educated, experienced 
and certainly better capitalized than I was
 have failed to succeed.  
Stats will tell you 67% - 75% of small businesses fail within 3 years of opening.

I believe it was meant to be.

Enthusiasm and passion and loving what you do can seemingly create an energy of their own.

I signed a lease and decorated my shop and ordered business cards and designed window displays and placed ads in the local shopper newspapers and opened my doors.

My little shop was in a busy strip center at a major intersection of Fort Lauderdale.
It was unique at the time - there were no other shops
 specializing in 'primitives' anywhere in the area.

It was across the street from the brand new Broward Mall
which was the largest grossing mall in the country within 2 years of opening.
I was discovered by the "going to lunch and shopping for the afternoon ladies".
They told their friends.

my little shop was a phenomenon.
My accountant asked questions.
"How have you done this?" he asked?

I shrugged . . ." I guess I don't know" I answered.

"If you can figure it out and tell me, we will bottle it and make a fortune!" he said.

And through all these forty years
 I have studied and noted . . .  recorded and graphed . . .  strategized and experimented.

Forty years of small, retail business have taught me that there are key elements that are necessary
in building a successful venture.

Those elements, (call them rules), are universal and work for retailers anywhere.
They are simple to understand and critical to implement.

There is more to come . . .
Antiques By Joy

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name

I began my business back when I was barely old enough to sign a legal document.
I walked right in and signed a complicated 30 page, five year lease that might as well have been in Greek for all I understood.  
It didn't matter that the rent was more each month than the total I had in the bank.

It didn't matter that this huge, empty storefront was so big that all the inventory I owned or could afford to buy wouldn't fill half the space.

I wanted an antique shop, and I was on my way.

I was excited . . . I was ambitious,
I was eager . . . 
 I made just about every mistake a girl could make.

When I was a child I had a voracious reading habit and read everything I could get my hands on. 
 I was thrilled by independent women and women who took charge of their own destiny.
I was going to be one of those women.

I also had a great talent for memorizing what I read, 
and a penchant for memorizing epic poems and things like 
The Declaration of Independence,
 and so many lines of famous literature.

When I decided to open this antique shop,
 I wanted the emphasis to be
  linens and quilts.
It made perfect sense to me when a line from Robert Louis Stevenson's poem came to mind and stuck in my brain.

'When I was sick and lay abed
I had two pillows at my head 

And all about me dale and plain'
The pleasant land of Counterpane.

Now, in our family, we knew what a counterpane was.  
(Doesn't everyone?)
The word is Old English.
It was the bedspread that topped your bed.  It covered all the blankets and sheets and was purely decorative and was often the "fancywork" showpiece made by a bride to bring to her wedding bed.

I decided to call my shop The Counterpane, and to always have the most beautiful quilts, coverlets and bedspreads among my antique treasures.
It was a lovely, romantic notion.

Remember that I was the oldest daughter, of the oldest daughter, of the oldest daughter, of the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter.
Five generations living in the same town, sharing history and stories and vocabulary.  
My great great Grandmother Evans could tell stories of her great great grandmother.
We had words and expressions and memories from more than 150 years of women,
 passed down and cherished.

I was the only living person, (beside my family members), in South Florida who had any idea what the word meant.
I sort of shot myself in the foot before I even opened the shop doors.

"Huh?  What kind of a shop is that?"
People must have been truly baffled. 

Months after I opened, a shop owner in the mall asked me why I had chosen such a dumb name that had no meaning for anyone.
(His shop was called The Artful Framer, a play on words from Dickens' Artful Dodger.)
I blushed and told him he should broaden
his reading skills.

The good news is that the shop flourished and grew and prospered and enabled me to achieve many of my other dreams in life.
But, no thanks to the handicap I had placed upon it from the start.

One of the keys to a healthy business start-up is in the name.
A name tells potential customers who you are and what you do and gives them a reason to walk in your door.

A name shouts out from your signage that you exist and are open for business.

A name defines the business . . . telling the world you have goods and services they desire!

My name sounded like maybe you were going to be injured when you came to the counter!
Not an auspicious beginning Joy!

There was one advantage to this ambiguous name . . . 
I'll never forget the day a line of ladies were checking out at the counter . . . 

One said, "My husband is beginning to wonder why your shop is listed for every other check I write in our checkbook."

The lady behind her remarked, "My husband asked the same question . . . I told him this was the deli where I get his lunch meat."

These husbands were going to be shocked when they found out who I was.

All this to say,
 there are easier ways to succeed in business and
there are harder ways to succeed in business!

I can recommend many tips for success based on my early days of trial and error!

Stay tuned as Joy continues to explore business!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Think You've Got What It Takes?

You think you've got what it takes? 
This isn't for the faint of heart.

If you've been following along, you know I'm talking about finding your

R E A L   J O Y
in life,

 getting to do

every day

what you love

For me, that's retail.

The wonderful world of seeking out,
gathering together,

the incredible ideas, products and services
that your
Watching them come back
again and again
and invest in you!

My specialty is in retailing - in a brick and mortar storefront
building an incredibly loyal customer base
that loves what I can do for them.

If you've been dreaming about being in charge of your life,
of being your own boss
creating your own lifestyle
then follow along.

While retailing is not for everyone,
it just may be that you have what it takes.

Did you recognize yourself in the first two posts in this series?
Did you nod your head and think, "yep - that's me"?
Did you score well in the test on the previous blog?

You may be ready to embark on the most wonderful and exciting journey of your life!

I hear you - "it's intimidating, scary, overwhelming, a really big step" . . . .

There's no denying it - the energy and resources you'll invest will be greater than you've ever imagined.
That's why you shouldn't try it alone, or with less than adequate training and guidance.
Like flying a jet full of passengers,
you will have more success with the advice and coaching of an experienced professional.

When you have someone who's travelled the path successfully guiding you through the process,
it needn't overwhelm or defeat you.

Perhaps you've been in business for a while and are floundering . . . 
wondering why some shops are flourishing while yours is merely existing.
Sales may be lagging, customers lethargic, the competition looking fierce.

You have an opportunity to follow along and examine a multitude of ways you can improve your level of appeal, traffic, sales, business revenue, satisfaction and customer loyalty.
We will explore it all!

There's a
 R E A L    J O Y
in doing what you do so well that your customers recommend your business to their friends and family.

There's a 
R E A L    J O Y
in having testimonials from your customers - every day.

There's a 
R E A L    J O Y
in meeting  lots of "first time" new customers every day.

There's a 
R E A L   J O Y
in knowing your business is growing and thriving
 and you can breathe deeply and feel 
truly blessed.

If you think it might be time for you to take a step toward your 
R E A L    J O Y
follow along. 

Today, we're going to examine your 
Lets talk about what you think you have to sell the world.

Who are you?
What's your concept?
Who cares?
What research have you done in this area?
What makes you think that you should open a shop?
Who else sells this same product/service?
Have they succeeded?
How will you do it better?
Who would become your customer?

Let's hear your answers.
Get out your pencil and answer these questions before you go any further.

This is the way I started out, nearly forty years ago:

Who are you?
I'm Joy, and I love antiques and history and home decorating.  I've studied and practiced what I love, and people say I'm good at it!
I have a penchant for turning the ordinary, boring, run of the mill room into a desirable, WOW space that people are excited to call their own.  

What's your concept?
Everyone who likes home decorating is looking for something that expresses who they are and how they want the world to perceive them.  They're bored with shopping the existing home furnishing and decor stores, because these venues don't offer enough items that are unique, original or exciting.

Who cares?
People I'm talking to have expressed an interest in sourcing unique, exciting home decor like they've seen in my home and in the homes I've helped style for family and friends.  The problem - They're not finding what they want, or can't quite envision what they can do to give their house a vibrant and "one of a kind" look!!!!

What research have you done in this area?
I've visited scores of home decor stores, large and small, chains and 'mom&pop' shops, and conversed with shop owners and salespeople about what their best selling items are and what customers are seeking that they can't find anywhere.  

What makes you think that you should open a shop?
Friends and family, and owners of and guests in the homes I've styled, have asked for my contact info, because they want me to help them restyle their homes.  They want to get that special look.  They say I should have a shop where they can come and purchase the sort of unique items I've procured.  They love what I do and wish they had access to my style.  When I mention what I do, people clamour to learn more and they ask for my advice.  They love the items I'm showing them.

Who else sells this same product/service?
Interior Designers provide a similar service, but on a one on one basis - and they can be a little intimidating and more pricey because of the time they invest.  Antique shops are often filled with great old things, but not with an eye to what their customers are seeking.  No shop exists in my area that does what I want to do, on a personal level.
No one around has a retail shop where interesting antique items have been chosen for their originality, personality and usefulness.
Big stores in the area try . . . but . . . 

Have they succeeded?
They can satisfy a lot of people, but not the niche group that I'm focused on.  The big stores have ignored this strata of customers, because it demands personal searching which is more time consuming and customer oriented than they can be.  They can't stock a big store with the hand picked antiques I'm talking about.
How will you do it better?
I've got a knack for identifying and sourcing one of a kind and antique items that create excitement and desire with people in my area.  I want to get to know my customers and then buy the things that express their personalities.  I want to offer more personalized service.  I want to share the story behind each piece I have for sale. I love to bring history to life, I want to cherish and re-use and bring new life to old objects.
Who would become your customer?
I believe a large number of the customers who shop in the local home decor super stores are less than satisfied, with service, product quality and choice of merchandise.  I believe half of them would prefer the chance to shop in a smaller, more personal environment and to deal with the owner.  I think antiques lovers will become my customers, as well as home decorators.  I believe people of any age or income can appreciate what I want to present.

Apply these questions to your concept and think about your answers.
Do you have a great concept?
Stay tuned for the next installment
finding your
R E A L   J O Y

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Who's Going To Tell You?

 Who's going to tell you when you're growing up that you can explore the desires of your heart 
and  create your own business
do anything you really want to do?

if someone does tell you
are you going to remember it
and take it to heart?

We are more likely to be pressured into choosing a major in college,
and then,
following through on that because,
after all,
all that money was spent on our education
and we 
to be doing something in whatever field we chose to spend money being educated.

we grow up and get married and begin creating our home and family
get a little bogged down 
with the daily stuff that makes up life...

and when we look for a job,
we take the one that fits our schedule
and is easy to drive to 
so many other parameters that make sense at the time.

And so it goes . . . 
the artist is doing data entry
and the dancer is working for a bank . . . 
what I'm talking about here!

we dream a little . . .  and wish we could jump careers
and be what we always wished we could be.

We ponder and we scribble a plan on the back of an envelope
and we talk to our best friend about how we really
we were able to live our dream
but . . . 
"maybe in a few more years . . . "

But we've grown up to be responsible adults with people depending on us and reputations for being reasonable and dependable and careful.
we keep on keeping on
count the years till retirement and pension.

we will take off and lead mountain climbing expeditions
open that Bed and Breakfast
antique shop.

Even then we look at the things that bring us our real joy
and know that there are

  perils and dangers and risks
oh my!

There are statistics about how many people start businesses and see them fail in the first two years.
We don't know where to start.
We aren't certain we can do it.
What if????

And so . . . . we don't.

We weigh the pro's and the con's and let the naysayers tell us we are too inexperienced
or too old
or too something.

I'm here to encourage you.
I'm here to cheer you on.
I'm here to lay out before you the questions you should ask yourself
you're debating whether
 you can follow your heart,
you dare to dream
you can begin to do the things you've always wanted to do,

if you can find your
 real joy

Let's take a preliminary quiz to see if you have the entrepreneurial spirit : 

1. Have you daydreamed about the thing you'd be doing if you didn't "have" 
    to be where you are?

2. Have you taken pencil to pad and actually tried to sketch out the desire of your heart?

3. Have people told you, "you should be doing" that certain something instead of what you                
    ARE doing?

4. Do you find yourself sharing this interest/dream with other people?

5. Do you teach others what you know?

6. Do people ask you to teach them about your interests?

7. Do you get energized just thinking about this desire?

8. Would you rather be doing this activity than anything else you can think of?

9. Are you an expert or set on becoming an expert in this field?

10. Are you hesitating because someone has convinced you you can't succeed?

11. Are there fears about the mechanics of proceeding?

12. Are you a problem solver?

13. Do challenges weary you?

14. Do people like you and enjoy being around you?

15. Do you have a reputation for being honest and trustworthy?

16. Can you work long hours?

17. Do you have a need to prove that you're right, or can you concede a point with grace     
     even when you know the other person is wrong?

18. Are you good with money management?

19. Are you willing to wash the windows, sweep the floor and clean the toilet in addition to  
      doing what you love?

20. Are you organized?

21. Are you a smiler or a frowner?

22. Can you keep your personal opinions to yourself?

23. Do you have a knack for reading people's body language or verbal clues?
       (are they healthy, depressed, sad, happy, anxious, scared, excited?) 

24. Are you a happy, vivacious, outgoing person?

25. Are you a good listener?

I don't think I really need to give the correct answers - but 1-9, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 18-20, 22-25 should be a happy, vivacious YES!  
13 and 17 should be a resounding "NO"!  
10 and 11 are designed for contemplation. 
 I hope 21 is "smiler" - cause that's what people are counting on from you!

If you took this preliminary quiz and feel you have most of the marks of an entrepreneur, then I think you're on your way. 

Continue on our journey
 and learn more about finding your
Real Joy

Friday, July 11, 2014

Where I Began . . . The Real Joy Hunt

I remember a time
when I was working at a job I really didn't love.
I was young, and needed to earn a living and the job was there and I took it.


it wasn't what I really wanted to do.

I had this job, and was good at doing it,
but it didn't satisfy the craving in my heart for the creative yearnings that were nested there.

Because no one had ever taught me that I could follow my heart's desire.

I learned at a very young age to dutifully do the things that were set before me
to do them well
and to be thankful that I had the ability to work and live a good life.
I was healthy and strong and smart and able.

There were things you should do in life, and I had obediently fallen into one of them and was working diligently to be very good at it.

The problem was,
it went against the grain.
It wasn't an outpouring of my natural talents and abilities and loves.
I wasn't following my heart.

It was an insurance company sort of position.
(I was good with crisis management, and numbers and with people - no denying - but this was boring.)

I was newly married, furnishing a new home, and for fun I was picking antiques for my aunt's shop.
My grandmother and I would travel the backroads scouring barns and out buildings, farm sales and auctions, tagsales and thriftshops,
seeking the wonderful items the shop needed.

The thrill of the hunt!
  real joy
was my weekends of exploring and finding treasure.
My grandmother was coaching me to dig through, pick over and unearth hidden treasure.
Ah . . . the thrill of finding a hidden diamond in a barn of old rusty tools, cracked leather harnesses and burlap feedsacks!
She was a pro when it came to the negotiation of prices.
Integrity, consideration, politeness, balance of power.
Grandmother was a diplomat.

I would often find a treasure for my new house!
A huge old wood bowl, a collection of soft, timeworn linen dishtowels, 
a leather bound book from the Civil War era, a chippy ironstone pitcher . . . 

The weekends and vacations spent doing what I loved were enough to assuage my growing boredom with the work week . . . 
for awhile.

There were times I daydreamed about the next jaunt into the Tennessee mountains
 to do what I'd rather be doing.
Just touching a 100 year old oak splint, egg gathering basket could set my mind to imagining the life it had seen.

Was it there when the Civil War was being fought?
Was it fashioned by the hands that had to leave to go to war?
Was it used by a young widow who never saw her spouse come home?
History was my passion - and it was fueled by the simple, beautiful, handmade items of yesteryear.

Made of necessity
used daily
tenderly cared for
long living
story telling
food for the soul

I wished I had more time to spend learning about and being immersed in this kind of living history.
This was the
  real joy
of my life!

I wished . . .

And I kept on working away at my day job
because no one had ever told me I could follow my heart.

This was what real life - "grown up" life - was all about.
You did whatever you had to do to get to the reward of what you'd really love to be doing when there was time.
We all knew that.

Until things changed.

Follow the saga of finding
real joy!


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