Change for the better.


This is my first blog in a long while, and by goshness, I'm going to stick with it. Weekly.

Bi-monthly, worst case.

I wanted to chat today about some changes you may have noticed going on with this little business. If you follow along with social media and check out the goods regularly, not only are you TRULY the bees knees, but you've probably also noticed two things:

1. The photos have become a lot more white.

2. I'm mentioning the website, like, all the time.

Let me explain the first one, err, first.

Ashley, why is everything so white? It hurts my eyes. Did you decide you hate color? Do you dislike joy?

To that I say, yes.

Just kidding.

No, of course I don't hate color! I adore it. But, I love white and light and bright and clean and neutral, even more.

When I first opened the store almost two years ago, there was more color. I mean, not a ton, but more. It came in the form of more accessories, more small wares, bath products, more floral, more decor and more, well, "something for everyone".

Isn't that a good thing when running a business? To have something for everyone?

To that I say, no.

Not kidding.

For those that don't know the store, we are a small business located in a small town. Traffic is extremely limited compared to that of a large city, and the money made from sales has to be put back into the business very wisely.

Here is where the problem was, and ultimately where the changes arose from.

It takes more money and more energy to appeal to more people. And even then, not everyone will always be happy. (See Google review from this summer stating my store was colorless and drab. Ugh) I was trying to stock the store with the things I liked, but that would also appeal to the masses, and after reading that review I realized that I was never going to please everyone.

Duh. You're not Target, dum dum.

So, I decided in late summer 2019 as we encroached upon the beauty and changed into Autumn, that I was going to spend my small town store dollars to evolve my store into a place that I truly loved. I decided that if my true style makes me as happy as it does, there was going to be others that shared my tastes as well, and honestly buying things for the store that I wasn't totally in love wasn't only NOT fun, but it just didn't seem like a smart business move. If I loved everything in there, the love would show, and so would the pride taken to create it. It's my store. I've worked really hard on it, and I wanted to attract those who shared in my aesthetic and style. People may wander in and realize the lack of bright colors isn't for them, but I would hope that they could, at the very least, appreciate the store for what it was.

I love white. I love simple, minimalistic style. I love light, worn woods, and that perfect blend of new, fresh wares coexisting harmoniously with vintage goods. I love products that serve real purpose and look lovely doing it. At the same time, I'm totally fine with a product I may rarely use, but when I do, it makes me smile, and in the between times it serves as eye candy on a shelf.

I love the freshness, and brightness, and lightness of white. It's hard to be sad or down when you are surrounded by soft white linens, or a vase of white flowers, or a kitchen of white chippy enamel and ivory glazed ceramics.

White is an ideal backdrop for a home. It's a canvas, really. Go ahead and add in your color pops. If the background is white, they will radiate from the canvas even more.

I love all shades of white, and seeing how it performs on all sorts of textures, and in all kinds of light, and in all forms new and old.

I love white, and that is why I have made it 90% of the color pallet of Salt Creek Mercantile.

I hope you have enjoyed the changes. It was never a huge shift, but if you scroll back far enough on our Instagram page, you'll see what I mean. Busier photos, more color, and more objects fit into one photo have been swapped for a simpler, cleaner view.

I, for one, feel even more at home in these squares now.

Now onto the second point.

In this time of change, I also realized that the store's website was never going to build itself and stock its own products. This is retail, and again, this little shop is in a little town, so I knew that the website had to become a reality in order to help this little shop thrive. So, despite no knowledge in the ways of developing a website, I got to working on that too.

I had about zero dollars to hire a real web developer to design and build the whole website, but again, I was suffering from that zero knowledge issue, so out of curiosity, I got quotes from several companies to see what it would set me back, and holy cow.

It would have set me all the way back. Like, out of view. Gone from the Earth. Disappeared.

Greetings from the Milky Way! Nope. Not far enough.

So, with the help of a couple kind and willing acquaintances who so graciously helped me get the ball rolling and answered all my questions as I learned, no matter the hour, I was able to start piecing together the website myself, a little bit at a time. What at first felt like a chore that I kept pushing to the side for the next day, and then the next day, and then the next day, began to wholeheartedly excite me. Now I love it. Web work? Sign me up!

Why can't I feel this way about cardio?

As I saw the website grow and become full of these beautiful things, things that I had spent hours upon hours researching and obsessing over and meticulously curating, I became increasingly proud. Like, truly, utterly, proud. It was hard work, but it was coming to life, and I couldn't wait to share it with the world. I still get excited when a new subscriber joins the newsletter list. I always wonder, Did they scroll through the pages yet? What did they think? Will they order? I hope they order. I hope they love it as much as I do and tell their friends. I wonder if their friends will subscribe too!

So, yes, I love web work now, and that only means great things for you too. When a new shipment of products arrives at the Mercantile, I rush to it like a child down the stairs on Christmas morning. I tear open the box and get to staging and photographing the beautiful and very carefully chosen products inside. I edit the photos as I take them so I don't get ahead of myself, or behind, depends on the day, and once my little ones are in bed for the evening, out comes my laptop to add the products to the website.

I'm usually donning my robe and slippers at that point, and as I relax into my new found happy place, I open the Apple and wait for the screen to greet me with its promising glow. As I watch all my photos from the day download one by one and line up in a little row, just waiting to be displayed to the world, I settle into my chair, take an anxious breath, and before stretching my fingers in preparation for the next couple hours of typing, I sneak a quick anticipatory sip of my much earned glass of wine.

White, of course.