Back in August, I began selling some of my Buck & Libby products at a fun shop in Columbus, OH called Simply Vague!
Today we are chatting with shop owner Andrea Archibald about what happens when your dream career turns out to be not-so-dreamy, the grand opening of a new store, and the day-to-day tasks of running a business that is changing how we shop...
Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do.
My name is Andrea Archibald. I live in Ostrander, a little place in the middle of nowhere that sits between Marysville and Delaware Ohio.
I own the store Simply Vague, an all Ohio made consignment store in the Mall at TuttleCrossing, and soon to be in Polaris Fashion Place. Simply Vague is a celebration of all that is LOCAL! The store carries products from over 170 Ohio crafters, artists, farmers, food artisans, inventors, musicians, and the l
What made you decide to pursue this career path?
Prior to opening Simply Vague in 2012, I worked as a new home sales consultant. Growing up I always aspired to be just like my mom, she sold homes for the #1 homebuilder in Columbus and was often (if not always) the companies top sales person. I felt that she had this great responsibility, she was selling people the American Dream, a home is the biggest purchase that many of us will ever make, and so many families trusted her to help them make such a huge decision. As early as I can remember I wanted to sell houses.
When I finally settled into what I thought was my dream job, I was in for a rude awakening. I was working on 100% commission, worrying every day about where my next sale was going to come from, putting in long hours, never taking a day off, dealing with unhappy customers, and a boss that I couldn’t please. On the bright side, I met husband Nate while selling homes, we fell in love, became a sales team, and after 3 years, we were DONE. That is when Simply Vague was born.
Nate and I wanted to create a one of a kind local experience. He and I love to attend farmers markets, craft shows, I enjoy shopping on etsy, and have always been a fan of crafting (although my career never allowed much time for my creative passions). In May of 2012 we set out to open a brick and mortar version of etsy, an open year-round farmers market, a craft show that takes place every day!
What is your most popular product/service? Why do you think people like it?
Simply Vague has become well known for being the place to buy unique, one of a kind, often times customizable items, a great place to buy gifts for all occasions. When opening Simply Vague we wanted to create something that was a good contrast to all the stores you typically find in a mall.
When I was young, I always wanted to have the same things that all my friends had. Where I went to school, you weren’t cool if you didn’t wear Abercrombie clothes, so I did. That was in 2005, and times have changed! Simply Vague is a store for those of us that DON’T want to be like everyone else, a place that you are sure to get something that NO ONE else is going to have.
What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part?
There are so many benefits to running my own business. I get to meet the most incredible, talented, inspiring individuals on a daily basis. I get to watch their small businesses take off, and be a part of their do-what-you-love-stories. Most importantly, I am able to work my own schedule, and that means I get to spend lots of time with the love of my life, my 4 month old son Holden.
The most difficult part of owning my own business has been learning to delegate and ask for help. I tend to take on too much and am known to be a bit of a control freak.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career?
My advice to those interested in in pursuing their creative dreams as a career is, don’t listen to anyone that tells you that your dream is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with taking risks, I believe wholeheartedly in no risk, no reward.
If I had listened to everyone who told me that opening Simply Vague was a bad idea, or too risky, I would still be doing the same redundant thing every day, I would be stressed out and unhappy.
If you are passionate enough about something, you can make it a success, and when you do something you love, you don’t work a day in your life!
What are you currently working on?
Right now there are a lot of new exciting things on the horizon for Simply Vague! First and foremost, the grand opening of Simply Vague in Polaris Fashion Place on September 28th we are busy making preparations, from physically setting up the store to sending out press releases, hiring new employees, and finding new product. On September 27th, I will be appearing on Daytime Columbus to promote the opening.
I am also working on planning my upcoming Made LOCAL Marketplace show, which means that I am sorting through applications, scheduling entertainment, and producing marketing materials for the event. I hosted my first show in July and it was a huge success, the second will be a holiday show, it is scheduled for December 14th from 9:00-4:00 at Bridgewater Banquet Center in Powell. I hope to make this second show bigger and better than the first!
Last but not least, I have been blogging for a new magazine called Broadway+Tresher that represents blending urban innovations with rural traditions.
Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?
In 10 years from now, we would like to have at least 5 locations. As long as people love local, we will continue to spread the local love. Our long term goal is to introduce Simply Vague to Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, Toledo, and wherever else would like to have us!
Walk us through a typical day of running your business.
My days are anything but typical. Some days I work at the store, sometimes I stay home with the baby, and sometimes I spend the day shopping for store fixtures, or visiting craft shows.
In order to stay organized I work off of a running to-do list. Because I never know what my day is going to entail I try to set goals for myself and stay task-oriented.
My husband and I take turns working at the store and staying home with our son, we both have different things that we bring to Simply Vague so it is important that we both spend time there. When it’s my turn to work at the store I work on updating the Simply Vague website, Facebook page, instagram, blog, etc. I usually like to feature products that are new to the store or products that are coming soon. I also work on entering all of the sales into our computer system. We have an old school hand written system, each sale needs to be manually entered into the computer. It can definitely be time consuming but I have found it is a good way to keep track of everything and record sales for nearly 200 vendors.
I spend most afternoons returning emails, it can also be a very time consuming task as I get anywhere from 50-100 emails each day. There are always questions to be answered, vendor applications to look over, and marketing ideas to explore.
My typical evening (once the little guy goes to bed which is sometime around 8:00) consists of looking for new products. I often start by researching local trends and then I try to find local artisans that make things that I think are going to be a good fit for the store.
Once work is done, I usually fall asleep while watching a movie in bed with my husband.
If you could switch jobs with someone for a day, what occupation would you try?
I am not sure what you call her occupation, but if I could switch jobs with someone for a day, I would definitely switch jobs with Vanna White! I could totally get dressed up in a ball gown and walk across a stage pressing buttons for a day! I’m sure most would agree that she has the ultimate dream job.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to time travel (if that is even a super power?)
Having a baby is the most rewarding wonderful thing in the entire world, it has changed me in the best way possible. Being a mom is also heartbreaking, in 4 months my son is already so grown up, and I miss my tiny little baby, he was just here and now he’s gone! One minute he would sleep on my chest every night (more so for my comfort than his) and now he’s in his own room which seems so far away.
I would love to have the ability to go back to the moments with him that came and went so quickly, holding him minutes after he was born, the first time he smiled, his first bath, the first time he rolled over.
Want to visit Simply Vague or attend the upcoming Made LOCAL Marketplace and get your shop local fix? Visit the following links to get in touch:
Made LOCAL Marketplace