(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Monday, December 14, 2009

hello its me.

wow, past couple of weeks flew by with ups and downs and overs and outs.

I was preparing for and then hosting the first open house/reception at the boutique. We had an art exhibit with 3 artists and a Christmas sale (ongoing).

I am testing and learning and comparing how things work here vs U.S.

When we have our events at Mignonne, we send email and/or printed invites. We have a customer mailing/contact list to support this.

Here, no lists. no emails or printed invites. I made a flyer ... and posted it. Here in France every little village has at least one big bulletin board where event flyers are posted for the town folk to get the haps on what's going on in the area. You'll see village announcements (dinners, etc) and discotheque announcements and vide-greniers and all in between. People actually use these to find out what's on.

So after I laid out the flyer, figured out where a printing service was, drove there and got the flyers ... I spent a good day driving around with my posters and spray glue .... putting up my announcement. Also paid a neighbor's daughter to hand them out in town over a weekend (smaller version). You also visit all the local shops and ask them to post your flyer.

I got 3 websites to announce our week-end as well.

Wouldn't you know a cold snap would start the day before? Jean-Yves and I spend a Friday together and he installed a cast iron stove in the shop that burns coal or wood. It doesn't heat the shop entirely, but it is a hell of a lot better than with nothing. Although on our close to zero days, one still sees their breath in the store. sigh.

I also worked with the 3 artists ... this has been an experience too. Very hands-off about the whole gig and leaving it entirely up to me to publicize, to create displays ... and such. And then somewhat surprised if nothing sells! sigh again.

I made a big pot of mulled wine and baked some goodies. I ordered bits and bobs from Etsy to have some interesting handmade items as well.

And then Friday and Saturday and Sunday came. I did have more than the ordinary number of customers through. and more sales. so that is good. But nothing to write home about, necessarily. I have to take into account the wicked poor economy and how it is driving folks to guard their centimes.

what else is up? well, like I said ... a lovely day with my monsieur. also hit some vide greniers and had a lunch out Sunday that resulted in a viciously violent bout of food poisoning on Monday. I awoke in the wee-hours, struck by the plague. I finally had to cave in and just lay on the bathroom floor as waves of 'sickness' overtook me. After 5 hours or so, I realized that I was going to stop being "sick". I dragged myself into the shower to hose off. I stripped the bed. Wiped down the bathroom with bleach. Put on clean pj's. and crawled into my clean sheets, limp as a rag doll. stayed there for the duration. t'was horrible, mes amis. HORRI BLE.

Tuesday, I had a day trip to Bordeaux. Bordeaux is gorgeous. Like a little slice of Paris. Probably going back soon.

Today (Monday) I recuperated a tad from my 3-day event. I bought a Christmas tree for outside the shop. Here, all the villages have Christmas trees next to their entryways. Most are decorated with ribbon and such. I bought some flashy gold paper plates and tied them on like huge ornaments. I started work on a custom furniture piece I sold last week that included a new finish in the price. I'm pickling the piece. I wrapped all my little presents for my family and boxed them up and mailed them to the U.S. I mailed Riana her sister's book back (I will do a separate post on this book, you guys HAVE to read it). I drove to Thiviers to the bank and had coffee with mon monsieur.

I also went in to town this morning and had a coffee. It was quite funny, this little bar I go to ... no bigger than a minute. There were 3 cute old Frenchman around a table, loudly chatting and drinking wines, munching green olives. Another older woman with her glass of red, dog at her feet. A HUGE fat tabby curled up at the bar stool. Me with my petit café, nibbling my pain au chocolat out of the boulangerie bag where I just bought it and trying to read and comprehend Sud Ouest, our local newspaper. There was a big article marking the storms here 10 years ago, with lots of pictures. Continuing coverage of the national debate regarding what it means to be French. etcetera.

I'm mad because I bought 2 loto tickets (1st time here) and can't find them. What if I'm rich? zut.

Now that we are close to Christmas, I'll be opening daily although I think I'm just going to do afternoons.


The Pliers said...

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, from the lowliest to the most grandiose, Kim. I admire your justdoitiveness enormously.

What are your plans for the classic Christmas/New Year holidays and week in-between?

It is nice to hear that you liked Bordeaux. I've never been and look forward to going based upon your take on the city.


Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

when time comes, lets talk Bordeaux! maybe we could meet up there...no big plans for the holidays at the moment. le sigh.

amy said...

Kim, I really missed being able to make it to your event. We are here in Belgium for a few more days, hope to see you over the holidays!

jadie said...

what an interesting time you've had! you seem to have established a rhythm of sorts, and to have fitted in already in this piece of the world. here's a wish for a merry christmas and a very happy new year!

Randal Graves said...

Your days sound quite interesting, much local color, literally and figuratively.