Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fellow Etsy Sellers, Entertainment While You're Minding the Shop

I know we get so swamped running our cottage business over the holiday season that we hardly know which end is which!  Many of my fellow Etsy sellers and other online entrepreneurs totally understand what I mean, when you work for yourself, you don't clock in, but more importantly, you don't clock out.  We're all happy to be busy, but sometimes we need a little extra to help get us through the busy season.

We're enjoying these, we thought you might too!

Your couch is draped in bubble wrap and tissue paper, you have products all over your house, and you have a big stack of boxes in the corner somewhere in your house most of the time.  Does this sound familiar?  

Orders going out for our Etsy shop after Thanksgiving weekend,
at least the cats can rest!
This week Dan came up with some wonderful entertainment to play on an endless loop this week while we work, two British shows that are all about being in the retail business; Masterpiece Theater's Mr. Selfridge on Amazon Prime and The BBC's The Paradise on Netflix!  Set anything in a Victorian or Edwardian era and it suddenly seems more glamorous, even retail.  As I sit in my elegant fuzzy pajama pants and stretched out sweater ensemble working on listings, Photoshopping new templates for items, packing ornaments, art, and compact mirrors into little cardboard boxes, I can watch and pretend.
A scene from Master Piece Theater's Mr. Selfridge, if I ever get to London, I'm totally visiting Selfridge & Co. it looks amazing!
Both of these shows actually do get you excited though, they make you think about our passion for creating beauty and sharing it with others and giving our customers a magical and inspiring shopping experience.  We Etsy sellers and online entrepreneurs are after all, shop owners, sales associates, shipping department, window dressers, head cooks and bottle washers.  We can relate to every station of the characters in these shows, because we're doing all of those jobs.  The characters are challenged to come up with clever marketing ideas, strategies to meet the trends of the times, attempting to create an ambiance that makes the customer feel special and giving excellent service even in the face of difficult situations.  They make it seem fun, glamorous, and elevating.  These shows are like Downton Abbey meets Macy's, what's not to love!

The first of these two series' to air was The Paradise in 2012, it's the story of a young woman who goes to work in a department store in the first English department store owned by John Moray called The Paradise.  This is a fiction based on the book by Emile Zola called Au Bonheur des Dames which takes place in France, but in this adaptation, the story takes place in North East England.  Back in those days wealthy ladies didn't shop like we do today, their dress makers would come to their homes.
Shopping at Mr. Moray's Victorian department store The Paradise
The idea of shopping with the public and having merchandise out where people could see and handle it was just unheard of.  The concept of a department store would have been a trailblazing idea, kind of like the idea of shopping in your pajamas from home at 2 am was also once a new concept.  The story involves the heroine Denise, who is a creative and talented young woman who works her way up through the ranks of The Paradise with her brilliant marketing ideas and catches the eye of Moray in the process. This series was cancelled after it's second season being pitted in the ratings against season 1 of Mr. Selfridge in 3013.

Mr. Selfridge is a Materpiece Theater production based upon the actual founder of London's first department store Selfridge & Co..  This series follows the career of Harry Selfridge (played by Jeremy Piven) an American entrepreneur who after turning Marshall Fields into a modern department store in Chicago, decides that London needs something similar.
Shopping at Mr. Selfridge's establishment

This is the story of how he moved his family to London and against the odds, even when people ridiculed him and thought he was nuts transformed the way people shopped by giving them an experience they've never had before.  The ups and downs of the staff bring us through the opening of Selfridge & Co. all the way up to WWI, and there are enough scandals and strife in between to keep you wondering what will happen next. Series 3 of Mr. Selfridge airing in the UK in March.

I have an idea, my fellow Etsy sellers (and other online small business  entrepreneurs) Why don't you add your shops link to the comments on this blog, then we can all check out each other's shops!

And while you're minding the shop this holiday season, if you haven't seen these series' yet, I highly recommend them as a great inspiration and lots of fun while you package orders, crafting new items, and answering customer questions. If you end up with a difficult situation you can ask yourself, "What would Mr. Selfridge do?"
Don't forget, add a link for your shop in the comments below. I can't wait to see your online department store!

Mickie Mueller

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