If you haven't heard already I was given an amazing opportunity to set up shop rent free for one month on 88 N Main in downtown Memphis, TN. Main is a pedestrian street with trolley tracks (trolleys are not running currently due to repairs) where you can walk around and visit restaurants, shops, office buildings, etc. Thanks to the Downtown Memphis Commission I got to experience what it is like to have my own boutique in real life.
So the goal of the Downtown Memphis Commission by doing this Open on Main project is to encourage entrepreneurs to buy or lease in the vacant buildings around downtown. There are 4 spaces that they are currently allowing businesses to set up in, 7, 9, 86, and 88 N. Main. They had an application and interview process in which they picked all different types of businesses to set up for 2 weeks, a month, or 2 months through November.
The space they gave me is not very big, but perfect for me for right now. Take a look at the pictures below. Hopefully you can get a good idea about my space and how it is laid out.
*Reflection of my handsome husband playing photographer. He is so helpful and supportive through all of my business ventures :)
- It's tough working alone especially because this spot didn't have a functioning bathroom. I had to lock up every time I needed to use the restroom and make friends with my neighbors who get to keep track of every time I had to pee. I drink a lot of coffee and water so that’s a lot. TMI I know.
- I met some interesting people. I’ll let you use your imagination on that one. Being downtown there are all kinds of people. I did get interviewed by The Commercial Appeal, videoed and photographed. I’m shy so that was tough but luckily they didn’t give me any notice, so I didn’t have much time to worry or stress over it. Bonus, I was wearing Mucho merch for the interview. Link to article here. I also got to meet Aldo owner of Aldos Pizza, Slider Inn, and Bardog. I’m a big fan of all of his establishments!! His sliders and pizzas are sooo good, not to mention the Jameson slushie :) Anyways, he asked me to be a vendor at his annual 5k and festival benefiting St. Jude. I closed for the day at my shop and set up at the Monroe Ave Fest on Sunday, Aug 20th.
- Hotspots really don’t work so great and not having internet during downtime in the shop makes for not very productive days which led to late nights at home catching up.
- Speaking of downtime. The area didn’t really have the best foot traffic so the busiest time of day was during the lunch rush and then it was like a ghost town for the remainder of the day.
- Leaving inventory in a strange building overnight causes anxiety. “Did I lock up?? Should I go back and check. I’m sure I did.” I had to ask my sister, Gina, to double check since she lives downtown. She loves me enough not to give me too much of a hard time and did it. After that I made a routine of videoing myself jiggling the door to prove I locked up so when I get home I wouldn't worry. Yes, paranoid.
- Contemplating opening a brick and mortar in Memphis versus continuing to just be online. I always have very good feedback about my shop and what I am doing. So doing this makes me wonder even more on whether or not I should open up a shop. I have so many different ideas about how my shop would look and what I would do, but will I last? I know I’m mainly an online shopper. Will a brick and mortar boutique last in this fast growing internet world? That’s a tough one. I’m going back and forth about it. Sure, I will always be online even if I open a store IRL. What do you prefer? Online shopping or shopping in person?