No matter how old you are, if you celebrate Christmas, you woke up this morning and felt it. It’s Christmas Day! Maybe it’s excited children, meals to prepare, gifts to open, all there. For some, maybe its memories, good and not so lovely, trying to reach family or just missing them, at a distance or lost. It’s all the things, bundled up in one day, wonderful and overwhelming at the same time, a race to the big moment and then a quiet melting away, while you do the dishes, tidy up the wrapping, reflect on what did and didn’t show up for you this year. Christmas, we love you and we celebrate, but we also struggle, perhaps looking inward, thinking about what the new year holds.
We at HDM don’t have the answers, but we can offer that we are just like you. We have our own families, with all of the magnificent complications families bring. We have our own issues - health, finances, relationships. All of it. We are real people, feeling all of the real things that Christmas stirs up, both looking forward to and anxious about where 2019 is taking us in our efforts to be happy in our small corner of the world.
It was quite a year for us, as it was for you. The stories we all wrote this year continue, the good and the not so much, propelling us forward into 2019 whether we like it or not! We understand. Those things you are feeling today, we feel them too, the thrills and the daunting bits, they are there for us as they are for you, even today.
But, hello, Christmas! We hear you telling us to bring it back, just for today, to the pause. Listen. In that private mini time-out in the middle of it, maybe while you are reading this very thing, the spirit of today is telling you to thank yourself for your good work, as a parent, as an employee, as a beautiful friend and caring person in the world, doing your best. Try. As you would for a friend, give yourself that gift. Then, at your own speed, go about your day with your thanks in your pocket, and smile to yourself, big or small. Didn’t we keep saying you got this?
That is our wish for you and all of your people this season. Pause. Take that in. And, with that, Happy Christmas, from us to you and onward. 💫
I like gifting. All of its aspects. I like finding something that I know will be enjoyed. I like the surprise. I like the wrapping, with all those edges and corners and adornments. When these elements come together to make a perfect collection of gifts under the tree, it's magical for littles and grown-ups alike.
But, indeed, the shopping. At this time of year, in particular, the act of shopping can be stressful. Patience only goes so far when attempting to navigate the traffic, crowds and line-ups in the city or fussing with online orders that might or might not arrive in time for your festivities. This year, we have prescribed a no stress shopping experience for all and have done our best to hold our own shop to that standard. We have created a Christmas Countdown Look Book with our suggestions for checking off that shopping list. The full photo gallery is available on both our Facebook and Instagram to click from home. If you see something you like, send us a note or give us a call and we will set it aside for you. We know you've got this!
Because real life doesn't stop during the holidays, we will be out and about in the van on Monday to help you with last minute free delivery in the Lucan area. We don't want anyone worrying about running out of pet and livestock feed or supplies over the holidays, so we are putting our reindeer antlers on and making the rounds. It's no secret that competing with big box stores on price is a struggle for small businesses, but we can always do better than the big guys on customer service. We consistently ask ourselves what would we want as a customer, and then we do it! Free last minute deliveries are our way of taking some of the sting out of the holiday rush and we truly hope you keep us moving all day long in our HDM delivery mobile!
Happy shopping, friends! Be merry in your retail travels!
Sometimes in life, there's space and time to tread casually. The choice to open a small business does not live there. Running your own shop can lift you high and it can cut you deep (often, in the same day). It's grippy. It's hold on you doesn't sleep and, many nights, nor do you.
You want to please. You want to succeed. But, these loaded concepts get confused, muddled, distorted, sometimes beyond definition, and almost always at the expense of the other parts of your life. At the end of the day, there are only so many hours you can stretch to get to where you want to be and limited postures you can assume to accomplish your goal of running things "well". The victories can feel like a dandelion in the wind and the failures, mountainous.
I grew up in a small town and have only affection for this way of living, especially today. But, oh the double-edged sword of it all! Our town doesn't keep secrets and, when things go sideways, it's obvious and public. Enter, social media. These tools allow for remarkable reach and growth, but the spotlight on your mistakes as a small business owner is unforgiving. Going off grid is not an option. The need to navigate this soup of reaction made up of "likes" and un-filtered feedback with grace is the way of it and you best learn quickly. One star, five stars. There's not much in between that matters when it's your creation on the line.
Do I still get excited when one of us sells a new product, something we believe in and are trying out or perhaps something we just really want you to love as much as we do? Yes, ma'am, I do, and so does the rest of the staff. I see it and it makes me smile every single time. That enthusiasm is my preferred definition of success when I am looking to measure. Not the profit margin, not the volume. Just that one item carefully selected by us and taken with trust from our shelves into your home. That's big.
Offerings of services vibrate at an even higher current. When our groomers work on your dog, they do so with their hands and heart. They are passing on to you their professional skills, their fundamental love for dogs, and their sense of where that meets in the art of giving expression to what you want for your pet. Every groom, on every given day, is created from these principles. It is why our reputation sits where it does and is to be enjoyed. But, when your heart is on your sleeve, it is also the place where ill-considered criticism, lack of respect from clients, and sharp practise by your competitors leaves an ache.
Nobody goes into small business thinking they have a mediocre idea that they are going to come at off-handedly. We all think we have the best concepts, the best designs, the best products, and the most solid plan of execution to bring ourselves to the next level, whatever that might look like. But, like any wave, there's ebb and there's flow, and real life intervenes. When your business plan takes on air and is populated by real people, with real strengths and weakness, and very real self-interest and agendas, what then? When the last ninety-nine people who left your shop did so with a smile, but the hundredth is unhappy, was it a good day? Taking it macro, when more money, more locations, more clients, more "follows" don't equal "success", where does that leave you? Two and half years in, looking back, I sit with more questions than conclusions. More noise than quiet. More service than sleep. Momma never said this would be easy. Thankfully, we're made of stronger stuff than the curve balls we endure.
As for tomorrow? Take your lessons with humility and a spoonful of organic sugar. Take your people into your circle and give them your best self so that they can be empowered to offer their own. Thank every customer who appreciates your efforts and, with dignity, continue to try to coax a little love out of those who don't. Work hard. Work smart. Work some more. Breathe.
We're still here. More resolve than defeat. #houndlife2019