BYOB: How to Make Friends with a Shop Owner

by Ari Takata-Vasquez

Dream of being a shop owner yourself one day? Chances are, if you do, you'll want to connect with other business owners. The small shop owner is a special breed and communicates a little differently (probably because we’re quirky), so here’s a few pointers to making friends with a shopkeep. Shoutout to all the business owners out there!

1. Strike up a conversation.

I’ve put so much of my heart into the business and I enjoy talking to and getting to know my customers. Having people go from customer to friend makes me unbelievably happy (shoutout to Marion and Jasmine!).  If you come into the shop, slow down, tell me about your day. THIS IS THE BEAUTY OF SMALL BUSINESS! We want to know your beautiful face and know about what you do in our community and we WANT more than anything to make a real connection. Introduce yourself (there's a chance I'll forget your name), we'll remember your face!

2. Keep the compliments flowing.

Being self-employed is a big mental game. While I’ll be the first person to say “oh no, you’re too kind”, hearing someone compliment my business really makes a difference. This weekend I was feeling sort of down about the business and a friend from back home sent me the nicest text saying she loved all the clothes on my online shop (she lives in Washington) and that she’s so proud of me and wanted to tell all her friends about the shop. This simple text seriously turned around my whole attitude. I don’t even think she realizes how much this really meant to me but it made all the difference. Keep the compliments rolling our way because as Nenna of Feelmore said at our business owner Q&A “as a business owner, you need to make getting beat-up look good.”

3. Come to our events!

While I have a schedule when I need to be at the shop (about 42 hours), I probably work more like a 60 hour week. I'm here a lot so needless to say, a lot of my socializing happens at the shop. I put a lot of time and effort into putting together events and I'm so grateful when my customers come through. It's a chance to get to know you on a social level and see what sort of common interest we have. Are you awkward like me? No worries, we have lots of beer and wine at our events, and that never hurts.