Imagine a huge multi-level mall teaming with vendors and shoppers amidst a sea of things to see, sample, touch, smell, and read. Shopping on steroids? Yes, that's market! 

   We wanted to give you a peek into the behind-the-scene process of determining the items that we bring to our shops. The first time I attended market was a completely overwhelming experience and what I would call "sensory overload." I stayed a few short minutes, made my way to a smaller market "show" for kids and got on a flight home.

   It took several years for us to figure out as a team how to make market work for us and our business. Which really boiled down to the fact that we needed to know our identity as a store and then to stick to it. The fundamental question we all ask at sometime during our life journey, "Who am I and where am I going?" was all too applicable! We had to synthesize our style, price points, customer needs and wants and then translate that in to our shopping approach at market. It was definitely a learned skill! 

   Now when we attend market we keep you, our customer in mind. What is it that will melt your heart when you see it in the store? What is it you need to make your home cozier or entertaining more special? Where is that perfect piece of jewelry or clothing that fits your style to a tee? We go with what feels right and what speaks to the identity we have created for the store. 

   At the close of the busy Christmas shopping season we pause for a moment to take inventory, analyze sales and to identify any gaps that need to be filled in our strategy for the year. And then, it's off to market we go! After market we generally have purchased or have ideas for the major holidays and seasons of the year such as Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, 4th of July and of course Christmas. It's a bit odd to be selecting Christmas decorations in January for the coming Christmas 11 months away! Forward thinking is key. I often bring catalogs home with me to continue the ordering process on my own time. I definitely don't like to make rash or immediate decisions if not necessary. 

   We attend several market shows throughout the year in the categories of gifts, clothing and sometimes jewelry. This involves traveling to Dallas, Las Vegas, Atlanta or New York City. Sometimes I work directly with representatives for each company and schedule appointments to meet with them at market. At other times I prefer to be unfettered by appointments to freely peruse what is available while going at my own pace. That being said, it is several full days of shopping from 9 am until 8 pm when the market closes. Shop 'till you drop? Most definitely! 

   And, life lesson? Zero in on your mission, vision and purpose in life and stay true to it. This experience at market emphasized that point in a big way!