Notes from the Apothecary 

 

123 Midway Street Units "B & D", Spring, TX 77373

Click here for former article re Apothecary

Click twice for larger photos

 

 

Many concepts of the "store design on a shoe string" can be applied to your own living area-so let's talk about it.  I have been able to exercise almost everything I have learned in my life time to this one shop. The challenge to do this on almost a "no budget" was the most exciting endeavor of my life.  The "preliminary" Grand Opening of the first Bath & Body Apothecary went better than expected - there were no store name signs up yet, but the "Dream" a "sub-title" font series [I grabbed at some airport gift card store and whacked other passengers trying to fit them in an over head compartment bin with the "Believe" text seen on the interior.] 

Needless to say many people thought the name of the store was "Dream."  Not on purpose, some gift bags said "Dream" also and that was funny. I picked a name,  Bath & Body Apothecary, as clear as possible to what is being sold at the store.  Click here to Buy Apothecary Products

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The real Grand Opening will be around Labor Day Weekend for reasons mentioned in the previous article.   As far as the store name, we plan to go to Michael's Craft center and get 16 inch fonts-paint them bright red and set them up across the top-saying Bath and Body Apothecary.  For inquiring minds who want to know - the Dream font is 6 inches tall.  This project will be under $100 and look very stunning.  All projects I discuss here were under $100 and came out stunning.

A lot of people ask about the bright red umbrella's.  They spin in even slight wind and that was an unexpected bonus.  I was after a very whimsical "Mary Poppins" feel-on the exterior and grabbed two umbrellas at a local store for $4 each.  I then threw silk flowers I grabbed from a local store to fill the umbrella's, all in one complimentary but contrasting color so it would draw attention.  "The outside is still being designed to be very consumer "interactive" where they are moved to "think" about things before they even get to the door."  You can buy a pink umbrella, for example for a child's bedroom-fill it with flowers and maker it "take off" for under $10.   Hang it upside down and throw dried Babies Breath in it.  Baby's Breath is cheap and voluminous floral filler for what you pay-and dries upside down well.  I would even spray paint the Baby's Breath white after it is dried and then use it as a filler.

"Faux Gardening"

One of first items most people notice is the flowers they lean over to smell.  Inside the shop we watch them and take bets.  Some claim they can smell the flower while their partner protests they cannot smell a thing.  See, scent is VERY subjective.  VERY!  Yes, they look very real but they are silk. Next week we will start scenting them. When I got here-the area was vacuous of any flowers and only offered tons of bushes, and some weeds.   I did not have my usual mega budget for landscaping-so I did this for under $100 also.  With a ton of floral wire in hand, my support staff and I secured silk flowers to the shrubs, bushes and a few trees.  I had actually done trick in FL when I was too sick to water anything in 2006. A movie set designer taught me this "illusion" and then I noticed Disney employs the technique.  The key is to buy silks that look real to begin with, try to match the type of flower as close as you can to the type of leaf so it looks believable, as well as hide the mechanics of the wire, when necessary-with green floral tape.  "I have never seen that type of flower on those bushes" is often heard outside and so funny to hear it said-some people are perplexed and must reconcile what they are seeing to what they are sure they know-in their head.

A ficus became a purple hibiscus, a tall rag weed looking set of trees became a Japanese Cherry Blossom and a Yellow Crepe Myrtle.  How I did not get sumac is beyond me.  One bush sure looked like it was sumac for sure-but I was already well into it when the shiny looking leaves seemed alarmingly familiar.    Anyway the view from my office is now AWESOME! 

Regarding the painting of the building, I only did bright trim to a white building.  Later I did add some real hanging baskets to give a sense of realness.  Petunias are always a best best, as well as Periwinkles and Red Ivy Geranium to maintain the "London" feel. The mail box was $17, a black one I spray painted high gloss red and that really is a subtle focal point.  I drew a "B" in glue and dropped glitter on it-to add royalty to my mail box.  The next addition, when we can figure out where to hang it-is a Radio Flyer Bike filled with silk flowers hung as if it is flying to the moon.  We will literally "hang" a moon behind it-and maybe some glow-in-the-dark stars.  This just promotes the notion of whimsical and relaxation.  I did get a wagon and also filled that with silk flowers I got on sale.  I cannot wait for Christmas which probably starts in June here... 

Another outside fix will be to pressure wash the wood path ways and cement walk ways.  Again, under $100, this will really brighten up the landscape and offer a feeling of "clean" and "new."  I do plan to add more real flowers, and I will do it in large Galvanized metal buckets when I do.  That is economical while charming and serves a mobility purpose-in case of hurricanes, quick re-layout on the cheap and for other viable reasons.   I guess a few topiary's on each side of the porch and benches are next. I plan to get two benches off Craig's List and spray paint them UK Red with gold trim-if I can ever get two benches that look a alike.  The last thing I should note was red cypress mulch was the first thing to cover barren areas.  Cypress mulch also serves to deter bugs-and yes.  It was $33 to buy ten bags. 

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Sound Track!  You bet we have a sound track for the Apothecary! Inside and outside.   The outside includes the bells of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and Canterbury as well as Scottish Bag Pipe material.  Inside is U-2, Green Day and the like.  That will be posted soon!

Activities

My first customer was a 12 year old whose Mom owns a flourishing Oriental trading company in Old Town Spring.  I allowed her in to privately shop while we were not open yet and I was actively turning other people away.  "Well, why was the kid allowed in?" I was taunted by adults...[my point exactly.]   I was in no rush to meet the public straight on.  Her impressions were very interesting. I find most teens are the best insight in marketing.  Anyway I wanted the store "Christened" by the heart of a child and so it was.   We have seen many teenage buyers since then, and a few "wishing they could afford" usually get handed the item.  Tip: Compliment my design and it is yours whether you can afford it or not.  Insult me and they are seriously expensive![This is by no means an acceptable standard marketing or accounting practice-but sure works for me.]

After we did open, I found the adults are typically awesome, actually, and I have no clue what I was worried about because I had been a recluse for many years.   Still, I totally am in love with kids-until about the age of 16.  I will listen to them all day long, and everyone should.    Because I have ran into a few bright, but disadvantaged ones, I will have a "lab party" two times a month.  I will lay out all materials to make soap, salts and stuff-and we will make whatever they want.  They can wear white lab coast and everything.  I bet they come up with some of our best bath and body designs!    Prior to this, I was not going to offer classes.  I have tons of books and DVDs I wrote or filmed.  Because of the spark in their eye and thirst for attention and the ability to be competent at something-I am doing "lab time" with whoever shows up with a white shirt.   Heck we may even paint their names on their shirts to be professional about it all.  I will write more about "lab night" it also gives me the chance to re-live my lack of childhood, which is what my whole purpose in Old Town Spring has been about.

I may also show the kids how to take photos of their product and slap them on eBay and sell them.  "But, oh, why hurt little children?" Well, because they do hit 16 at some point. :) So "preventative punishment." Seriously, eBay is great for an over all lesson, and pretty cool to see someone buy your product..  We will post on Etsy also, because Etsy would support this project. 

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FINISH THE PAINTING!

We are doing great. Three people out of four buy something and I think that is unheard of here. I am not sure-but my staff who formerly worked in this town said so.  But to get there was a tad harder than I thought.  I finally had to put that slogan on my forehead.  What does it mean?  Control distractions and keep your focus on your goal is the root meaning.  "If I did not have a basic blue print BEFORE I got here, of every detail I wanted to do-it would have plopped a failed."  The cold pond in which I jumped would have chilled me out of any vision I did have for the community and my own personal goals. When thrown in a pond of people, you WILL forget why you came, what your dreams were, maybe even your favorite color and first dogs name.  A few piranhas were in my way -who worried my shop would drop income at their shop.  Just a few-out of over 100 who welcomed me, but I am too sensitive and easy to get "going" and derailed.   Distraction costs you-and their hidden goal is to gob your time up and make you doubt your own self... [Sounds sew much like husbands huh?]  So they can achieve their goal, that you fail to succeed at whatever the subject.

Any town USA.  Why?  Distraction and some Les MisÚrables.  The VAST amount of other people in business who will tell you "No one makes it here.."  or "People try to set up a shop and it does not work...."  So I would ask "Your shop is open, it appears to be working...who is "no one" and "some people?"  Anyway, you know where I am headed with this...... Anyone who even TRIES a business is GREAT by me.  Whether it worked or not-they tried and they had a dream.  Those who never try anything, can only be our stealth critiques-and that is usually all they ever are.  Successful people do not gossip-EVER.  They do not have time, and it is often counter productive.  I have been around many and it is not a trait of any person whoever succeeds. If you start hearing gossip-you know the generator of it is not a person to aspire to be around.  It is harder when that person IS a relative.  I get e-mails about that all of the time and I do not have that issue. If you do, try to talk to them or just change the subject every time they do - and always point out what they are doing.  They will tire of you pointing it out, or you will tire of them and find a way to distance yourself. 

So I was able to snap out of the "distract them until they fail" game by keeping the note by me" that said Finish the Painting."  Within hours of staying to that goal-I became done with many things I felt previous would take a lot of time, or just could never do as exhausted as I was getting.  Guard your time and your ears.  Take breaks with inspiring people, even if can only be e-mail.  I rotate my buddies so I do not burn one out. Successful people tend to be busy people also.   Finish YOUR Painting!

[The photo to the right is our 'celebration' bath seltzer that smells like birthday cake and fizzes with multi-colors in the bath.  Very fun, it also is packed with shea butter as are all of our bombs and seltzers now.]

Details about the actual products and marketing techniques in the store will be in the next newsletter.   

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Read about Ringo a dog flown in from Katrina.  Official Bio of his owner and short Bio RSS Syndicated Feeds on the environment.  How Twitter is best used.  Deborah Dolen Books on Amazon.   Review of her books on Open Library,  Paperback Swap, Good Reads and ReviewScout.  You can also read Google Profile.    Deborah Dolen on MySpace Facebook, and Flickr.  This is our favorite blogspot.   See Deborah Dolen on YouTube and her last book written London Apothecary and book.  For more environmental articles on water and oil.

 

Visit Deborah on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/deborah.dolen MySpace   http://www.myspace.com/deborah_dolen Twitter http://twitter.com/DeborahDolen or BlogSpot http://deborahdolen.blogspot.com/   Buy Natural Liquid Soap!  It is much safer than commercial brands.  Natural Liquid Soap for People or Natural Liquid Soap for pets.

 

Click to Feed a Pooch!

A web site that feeds an unphathomable amount of pets needs more clicks to maintain their advertisers.   Doris Rumery, a friend of mine in Daytona, FL-sent me an e-mail to click to "feed a pet" because a humane society type company needed more clicks to maintain advertisers.  Right behind her e-mail was ten more-from other top executives-NASA, Boeing, Cessna, Cornell, Berkeley...and so I checked it out.  This e-mail made it to almost any woman over 40 around the world so I had to wonder if it was a farce and just want our e-mail data bases?  No, it is for real and that web site should do excellent.  The site I read to figure authenticity out was here.

Create a folder in your e-mail called "Donations" and e-mail yourself the link below.  Every month or few months try to go in and click.  This is an EASY, FREE and LONG term way to help these folks as I am SURE they may fall into the same predicament by autumn and every quarter until the economy gets back on track. This promo has worked well for them-let's try to save them from having to do it all over again in a few months!  If you have a web site, link them to your site.  It can only help your web rankings and they sure will have traffic now-which helps their Alexa ranking and what they can charge for advertisers.  Let's feed some animals!

The Hyperlink is so long to their site-to click to give, just press this.  When you get in that link-from there you can copy and paste from your web browser into an e-mail for yourself. 

 

 

 

 
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~end~