Monday, July 9, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday…..

Looking back at all that we did last week I'm exhausted just thinking about it! But it was fun and we made some good memories, ate tons of great food and just enjoyed  being with our daughter and her husband! My favorite thing that we did as a whole was just spend time together! Holly and I set out on Friday for a girl's day together while Brad had to go in to work for awhile and my husband met with a customer of ours for a quick lunch. Our day started with a brisk walk in Audubon Park to try and work off some of those pounds I could feel coming on from any one of our many delicious meals! Audubon Park is truly stunning and the homes that border it are definitely some of my most favorite that we have seen so far.

 Because it is so pretty and there is so much to look at while walking, we quickly finished a 4 mile walk and I barely knew it! Except for the tell tale signs of being completely drenched from the heat that defines New Orleans like nothing I've ever felt!

We left there and headed for lunch…of course we did! We had just walked 4 miles! And then headed to some of the cute shops we'd been dying to go in once we were "alone"! It's so much easier for me to shop with Holly because we are so much alike…we know what we like when we see it and we don't linger! That's how I like to shop!
While browsing through the many shops, I knew that I had finally found my favorite! I will also throw in the fact that my Aunt has a booth in this shop and it was hands down the best antique shop I saw this time! I can't wait to tell her that! And her booth was definitely my favorite booth! It's set up in such a way that if you didn't know it, you wouldn't realize that there are many dealers as opposed to one owner.

But as we looked around and got ideas and saw things that we both loved Holly began to say things like, "How do all of these shops stay in business? What is it that sets any of them apart?"

Boom! It hit me! Blog post! Inspiration! Out of the mouths of babes! ( she is 24 but will always be my baby girl!) But it really hit home with me when she asked those questions as we are trying hard to make Mulberry Heights Antiques the best shop that it can be! What is it that sets anything apart for that matter? What is that special quality that keeps people coming in, that makes your shop more interesting than all of the other ones around you?

Is it the artwork? Or the pretty pillows?

Or having a huge variety of items that keep people coming in?

Is the furniture something that catches your eye like this beautiful English desk that I'm still regretting not purchasing?

Is it "unique" merchandise? Is it quality merchandise?

Of course the answer is a resounding "Yes" to both of those questions.

 I want our customers to remember something special about our shop just like I remembered the special things and qualities I saw in New Orleans…yes, the paintings we carry and the furniture we carry are wonderful just as these shops did as well.

But what I really want to be the best at really has nothing to do with our merchandise and everything to do with how we treat our customers and that we CARE if we are the best or not!

The sweet girl working in another of my favorite shops was certainly one of the nicest, cutest, friendliest people we had met and we hit it off from the beginning! I think the fact that she and her mother owned and worked the shop together really appealed to me!

These shops offered great quality antiques and paintings….

There is a quaintness that you feel while walking up and down Magazine Street and it's charming…

 Some were even a little "quirky" but in a good way!
Some even had some wonderful gifts like this candle that we both bought! It smells divine and I may look into carrying it myself! Sweet Holly sent me this picture last night of it burning.

How does anything in New Orleans set itself apart when it is so full of the best of the best?
What have you found that sets your shop or business apart? Where do you like to shop? Are the people friendly? Do they make you feel special? Tell me they don't hover over you! Nothing makes me leave a shop quicker than someone hovering over me! If you had to buy a house or a piece of furniture or a gift….what makes you think twice about it and keep going back to it?

I know what Sucre has to offer and I for one would be there every day if it were in my home town!
It's the best ice cream I've ever tasted!

While searching for a picture of the area my shop is in I actually came across this on our Chamber's Facebook page! I guess maybe we do set ourselves apart for various reasons! That day we sure had a lot of people helping us out with our annual Market Day in July which is fast approaching!
It's a huge event and now I'm getting anxious since I'm looking at last years event!

But, it's one of the reasons that people come to Mountain Brook Village to shop….

 In our own little way, I guess we've set ourselves apart by putting on a special event that is sure to draw in the masses! 

All in all, I think I'm doing almost as much as I can to set us apart and be as good if not better than even the wonderful places I visited last week. The proof is in the pudding so they say…my mind will be in overdrive today as I go in to work and seek out ways to make my shop the best it can be.
Have a wonderful Monday to start your week off on the right foot!


  1. Beautiful shops Carolyn. I know that y'all had so much fun.
    I also love the art galleries in NO. So unique and different.
    Happy Monday.

  2. That little shop looks amazing. Not really the point of your post, but I have a thing for functional shutters and those on the outside of the antique store are so perfect. Looks like good finds on the inside too.

  3. Hi Carolyn,

    Sounds like a great trip. My favorite shops have a mix of antiques and new, and carry both furniture and accessories. I like places where I know I will always see something fresh, whether or not I am actually shopping, that will provide inspiration. Hope one day to visit your shop!

    All best,

  4. Fun fun fun!! I like how you do discovering new stores! I think customer is king and its important to treat them well, not being overbearing though because that makes me nuts! I like places that change it up and are accomodating, in todays world its sink or swim and truly more than ever survival of the fittest for retailers of all kinds from what I hear. GREAT highlights!!

  5. Hello, Carolyn -
    First, thanks so much for your very kind comments. You really made my day!! If we ever meet, I'm gonna give you the biggest hug ;-) Thank you, again!
    As a shop owner, I always want people to know they are at our shop (and not somewhere else). I want that signature look that is recognizable. Years ago, I decided we would not appeal to everyone.......because we really couldn't. Yes it limits us, but it also sets us apart.

  6. Hi Carolyn,
    Looks like you had a wonderful trip and got lots of inspiration for your own shop. I definitely have favorite different cities. And, there is a "feeling" when you walk into each of them. There's always a "hello"...and then space to browse. I love finding things that aren't in every shop.

    I don't know if you saw my interview with Ted Kennedy Watson....but I think he has it right when he says his stores try to appeal to all of your senses. Music playing, candle burning, things arranged in a way that draws you in.

    I know that your shop is that way too.....just keep believing if yourselves!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  7. Hello Carolyn,
    I enjoyed this tour! What a gorgeous finds! I love the art works of the dresses! I hadn't seen this before! Wonderful! It is always so inspiring to visit other shops, this ables you to stay alert!! Good for the creativity and inspiration for your own shop!
    Thank you so much for your comment on my latest blogpost Carolyn! I so appreciate this!

  8. I LOVE the artwork of those dresses. Those are just way too cool. Looks like you are having some fun for yourself! xo

  9. Lovely post, Carolyn. Looks like you had fun in New Orleans and experienced some of the charm there. I spotted that black square clock in one of your images....if I was there, that would've been mine! I would love to go shopping with you sometime! You have an eye for wonderful things!

  10. I am INSANELY pea green with envy. Sorry, but it's true. I can't even be happy for you I'm so jealous. Kidding (sort of)
    Stacy :)

    1. Don't be too envious! I think I gained at least 5 pounds while enjoying all of New Orleans!