90 episodes

A podcast bringing you the stories behind the brick and mortar businesses in our communities. Each weekly episode focuses on the story behind a brick and mortar business by way of a candid chat with the owner. We talk about the broad picture stuff; their start up processes and the philosophies behind their companies, as well as the smaller, day to day realities of running a brick and mortar. New episodes every other Tuesday.

Keeping Shop: A Brick and Mortar Podcast Rachel Wentworth

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 66 Ratings

A podcast bringing you the stories behind the brick and mortar businesses in our communities. Each weekly episode focuses on the story behind a brick and mortar business by way of a candid chat with the owner. We talk about the broad picture stuff; their start up processes and the philosophies behind their companies, as well as the smaller, day to day realities of running a brick and mortar. New episodes every other Tuesday.

    Keeping Shop Through Covid: Entry 1

    Keeping Shop Through Covid: Entry 1

    Just a little check-in now that life is totally, 100%, unbelievably different. Most of our spaces are closed and we're all treading water, waiting for this nightmare to end. This show is a glimpse into where we at Forty Winks stand with the PPP, what's making us money, and where my head's at as I navigate this. Enjoy....?

    • 20 min
    On Focussing On The Long Game | Lisa Mullan of Uwila Warrior

    On Focussing On The Long Game | Lisa Mullan of Uwila Warrior

    Today I’m excited to release my chat with Lisa Mullan, owner and co-founder of Uwila Warrior in Boston, MA. Lisa’s company is leading the charge against uncomfortable underwear; we’ve carried her line at Forty Winks since close to the beginning and our customers come back for it over and over again.  In fact, we have one customer who just wrote and ordered: “every medium you have in that incredible thong.” She was referring to this thong which is in fact, “incredible” if you’re in the market (restocking soon, btw).

    Lisa and I talked before coronavirus hit, but there is so much in our chat that’s applicable to what we’re facing right now. I am struck by Lisa’s dedication to creating (and re-creating) the best possible product for her clients and by her decision to focus on steady growth even if it takes a while. She mentions the “long game” a couple of times throughout our chat and even then before I knew we’d have to shutter our store, this struck me as incredibly smart. It’s pretty much the mantra of every brick and mortar business owner; our shops and spaces are rarely an overnight success, right? These are long-term investments for us. Smart brick and mortar bosses don’t open thinking that we’re going to roll in dough immediately, we open because we want to create a space and a community that lasts for a long time. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep our focus on the long game.  What are we doing now to ensure that our businesses will be nimble enough to withstand this game-changer? How are we connecting with our customers, both established and new that will bring them back when our doors open again?

    As we navigate this pandemic as small business owners, as our brains are overloaded with loan applications, unemployment claims, past-due bills, and landlord drama, let’s encourage each other to focus on what matters most, creating beautiful connective customer experiences that will last way past this tightest of situations. I’d love to hear how you’re playing the long game. Write to me. And enjoy the show.

    • 51 min
    On Creating Meaningful Connection Online - Jay Adams

    On Creating Meaningful Connection Online - Jay Adams

    Today I have the pleasure of releasing my conversation with Jay Adams co-founder and advisor to Brass, an online and brick & mortar company specializing in quality pieces that simplify and enhance their customer's wardrobes. 

    Jay and I connected years ago and she's been a constant source of inspiration for me as she and her business partner, Katie have grown Brass into a thriving and innovative online business. While they've always had short-term pop-up spaces, their first long-standing brick and mortar opened in Boston a few months ago so I’m excited to bring Jay on the show as an official brick and mortar boss.

    I was sort of weirded out by releasing conversations recorded pre-Coronavirus, but my friends and colleagues convinced me to keep releasing shows in an effort to keep things as "normal" as possible.  This conversation is actually really timely in that Jay and I talk a lot about eCommerce and how to create strong, vibrant communities within the online space. Now more than ever, we need to be finding ways to reach our clients virtually but not just to sell things to them. Our customers are in need of connection; people are feeling isolated and scared and we're in a unique position to create space for them. These connections and conversations are what will keep us afloat long term. 

    Not only does Jay talk to us about creating real connections with our customers, but she also shares what it's like to build an e-commerce platform, to manufacture pieces for lots of body types and how important communication is to a business partnership. Enjoy the show.

    • 59 min
    On Creating A Foundation For Growth - Ashley Borchard

    On Creating A Foundation For Growth - Ashley Borchard

    Today I have the pleasure of releasing my chat with Ashley Borchard owner of Cobbygoose in Alpena, Michigan. Cobbygoose is a paint your own pottery, canvas and/or wood studio that also specializes in classes, workshops, and events. Brick and mortar business ownership is Ashley’s dream and this is evident in the community she’s created around her space.

    Ashley’s road to business ownership is a rough one and she shares her story generously with us. She also shares the downside of buying an established business and offers tips for getting through this process in a graceful, productive way. We talk about the continuous roller coaster of learning on the job and why she looks back at her first months in business with a little bit of embarrassment. She talks about mistake-making and why we need to absorb those mistakes as learning tools.

    Right now, I’m writing this from my couch, mid-day, on a day that I should be at Forty Winks. Instead, I’m practicing social distancing in an effort to combat a global pandemic. WTF, right?
    I know most of you are doing this exact same thing and probably feeling all kinds of feelings about it. I know I am (more on this later).

    Anyway, Ashley and I talk about laying the groundwork for growth even when you’re not sure when and how the growth will happen. Even when you’re not sure your business is going to look the same ever again. Even when you’re terrified, sad and angry. We’ve got to lay that groundwork and move our energy towards preparing for bigger success when the storm has passed. Me personally, I’m giving myself a couple of days to get used to this and then I’m going to tackle some ideas that are going to up-level Winks when we open our doors again. I’m feeling inspired by this conversation for reasons I could never have imagined when I recorded it a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you’re all okay. xoxo

    • 1 hr 11 min
    On Asking For What You Want - Greer Goodman

    On Asking For What You Want - Greer Goodman

    I’m excited to bring you this episode with Greer Goodman, owner, and founder of Abroad Modern in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Greer used to manage a sweet little children’s shop called Magpie Kids and I met her whilst shopping for baby stuff.  Back then Greer was thinking about starting a very different business than the one she ended up opening (you’ll hear all about this in today’s episode), and she impressed me with her creative yet clear vision for her future business. 

    A couple of years later, I realized that Greer had, in fact, opened a shop, but a very different concept from the one she had shared with me way back when.  I knew there was a good story here, so I reached out for an interview. 

    And it is a great story! Greer shares how she found her true brick and mortar calling while on a trip to India. We talk about friendship, values and the importance of cultural exchange.  We talk about sourcing, inventory planning and Greer’s unique talent for being able to merchandise her store in her head. 

    Greer shares her fear that the mundane parts of brick and mortar business ownership will burn her out, zap her creativity and hurt the longevity of her business.  I think a lot of us can relate to this.  How many times have you had a free day or a slower week ahead of you and promised yourself that you were going to tackle a big, yet unexciting project only to find yourself on the other end having done nothing but busy work and Instagram scrolling.  You may have just experienced this real pain-in-the-ass component of business ownership during the retail hell we call January. I know that I had a lot of expectations set around how much I would get done after the holidays; I swore 2020 would be different and that I would tackle everything with a clear mind and a real zest for the mundane.  I did…okay.  Because it’s hard to feel motivated around things the bore us or even that overwhelm us.  Greer and I flesh this out a bit and encourage each other to just keep tackling the boring/hard/scary stuff as a way to get back to what lights us up.

    At its core, Greer’s business is beautiful and genuine. Abroad Modern is a values-driven model that doesn’t pat itself on the back.  Greer is doing great things that mean something. This interview is of value and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    • 59 min
    On Building Community Through Shopkeeping - Stephanie Campbell

    On Building Community Through Shopkeeping - Stephanie Campbell

    I’m very excited to be sharing the first episode of the spring season of Keeping Shop with you! Today I’m speaking with Stephanie Campbell of Blue Willow Boutique in Maryville, Missouri. When we connected, I knew nothing about Stephanie or her shop so I got to discover her story right along with my listeners. Stephanie tells us all about why she started her shop; it has to do with a big move for love, a community forced to find gifts at Walmart and the desire for real, honest community creation.

    Stephanie shares her tips for creating a trusting work environment and building a staff that will go to bat for you over and over again. She shares the way she makes sure she pays her bills, pays herself and makes sure she’s profitable so that she can do things like open a second store, which she just did a few months ago.

    A big thought-provoker that I took from this episode is the concept of giving clients what they want even when your concept would point you in another direction. Stephanie experienced this, and Meredith and I did too. For both of our businesses (and I’m sure so many others) within the first month our customers let us know, (loudly) what they wanted to see on our shelves. And we had a decision to make; would we continue stocking for the business that we envisioned, OR would we move in the direction our clients wanted us to take. For both of our shops, this switch up was successful, (Stephanie even says that it saved her business!) but there’s such emotional component of scrapping elements of your concept and starting to move in another direction. Stephanie shares what helped her through this decision and how it not only benefitted her shop financially but also served to build the type of community she longed for. There is so much value in this episode and I’m so excited to kick off this round of Keeping Shop with my chat with Stephanie. Enjoy.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
66 Ratings

66 Ratings

Danyell155 ,

Very worthwhile

This is an awesome podcast. I love the variety of types of business and how everyone’s business advice is so different but also cohesive. It is very useful for someone looking into setting up a business or for revamping your business. Highly recommend.

Trg342 ,

Hoping for this wonderful podcast to return!

I really love this podcast and it has given me so much insight to all kinds of aspects and perspectives on brick and mortar ownership and starting up. I really hope this podcast returns. There haven’t been episodes since about May and I think of all times this would be a great time, during all the challenges and adaptations business are having to make, to hear from this show and their amazing guests about shop ownership in covid times. Anyway, I love listening, huge fan, please come back!

Mom Digit ,

Love the learnings from Rachel

I’ve been taking time to catch up on Keeping Shop during the virus shut down. It’s been a great escape from the grim today and provided me with ideas and learnings from other shop entrepreneurs as we relaunch on the other side of the downturn. Thank you for curating this wealth of retail inspiration.

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