A big shout out to Valerie at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston Texas - our YAY! Featured Retailer! Woot woot! YAY! BOOKSELLERS!
What do you do in your store to nurture your community culture? We are a family bookstore so we keep it sassy but clean. We cater to lots of grandmothers and young mothers. We are the hub of neighborhood gossip. We like to share where to eat, where to shop, and more.
What trend do you see in your indie business that you're excited about? I love that people love us. I firmly believe that people want human interaction on a daily basis. Sure it's fun to connect while you are wearing your grubby sweatpants but people want affirmation. That's what YAY LIFE is all about! We all love different things. We all think different things are funny, sad, poignant, important, etc.
What's the best advice you can share that will apply to everyone? Love what you do. If you don't love it, you need to have a serious talk with yourself. My team loves what they do. They love each other, they support each other, and they want to come to the bookstore. We all call it "our happy place!"
What's something you feel people should do more of? Being a voracious reader, I think people need to read more. I think people need to read more fiction. Well written fiction will shape your world views. You will not see in black and white. You will learn gray. People are both good and bad. People make good and bad choices.
What changes or improvements do you have planned for your business in 2015? We want to take a notch up this year with connecting with each customer. What are their needs and desires? What can we do to make their life happier, more fulfilling, and simpler.
What's something in your business you're glad DIDN'T work out as you hoped? I'm glad I've never expanded--that we've kept it cozy and just the right size.
What's the most recent kind gesture you received from someone you didn't know? This week I spoke to a bookclub here in the shop about new books. One of the books was a biography of Lady Bird Johnson. I loved it--politics aside, as we usually do here--because she was a fascinating woman. One of the attendees was outright disparaging about the Johnsons, both their political life and her personal life. It took me aback! Two days later, this customer (never having been in the shop or attended this group) came in to apologize. She felt she spoke out of turn. That took guts. She didn't know me from Adam! Can you imagine going back into an establishment to say you had spoken out possibly inappropriately!
What's a success you'd love to see someone close to you achieve? I have two sons in their twenties. With awesome serious girlfriends. Let's do this guys!
What's been one of the most pleasant experiences of running your business/your job? I love talking with anyone and everyone about new books. I swoon when young readers get excited about their favorite authors.
What successful choices have you made in your business that others should consider doing? Try new things, do things that feel right for you. Every retail establishment is different and you must be true to your own self.
What makes you say YAY!? So many things. Bacon (which hooked me years ago when I first met y'all!), wine, reading, Texas, family, hugs, naps, rafting, and butter.