status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
…is what has been keeping me from SVing for the last month and a half.
You want me to be more specific?
Honestly, it really has all been down to A Bit of Everything.
Or to give it its true title: “In po’ de tütu” – AKA… my new shop!
MINE! Lock, stock, barrel (rent, taxes, stress, responsibility, success, failure) and all.
Now you must believe me when I say that this is absolutely not how I envisaged things going when I was called in to run Ci Vuole over the summer months.
No, the best I could hope for then was to be able to make it enough of a success to tempt the owner to stay open for another year – thus keeping me out of trouble on a part-time basis whilst providing regular-ish dollops of dosh to keep Pooch and me in bonios and focaccia.
But in typical SV fashion, taking over and re-opening the entire enterprise was something I decided to do after seriously considering it for about, oh, twenty minutes.
A Little Bit of Everything cheerfully muddled up together!
Because although those summer weeks indicated that with the right stock, the shop had the potential to be quite a hit, it was also apparent that even if it did work, it was unlikely ever to be in a position of offering enough income for two people.
So upon noticing the owner’s waning interest – which clashed uncomfortably with my gut feeling that both the shop itself and the village really deserved at least twelve months of hard work before its fate was decided – I made what may yet prove to be one of the rashest decisions of my life…
An exciting collection of smellies!
Ci Vuole, during the short months it was open, had dealt principally in antique furniture; not a particular hit with the locals, who all have cantine bursting with roba vecchia (“old stuff” as they scathingly refer to it); although a popular port of call for incomers wishing to furnish their village purchases with authentic pieces.
Thus the “usato” part of the trade triumvirate will stay on but in a slightly reduced format – the larger pieces remaining in their current owners’ houses and cantine, whilst their photos do the sweet-talking from a home-made catalogue that will be found in the shop.
Evil small-boy magnets used to part parents from hard-earned cash…
The “regali” are the small gift ideas that are so far finding favour with pretty much everyone, be they native or otherwise.
Relatively inexpensive smellies, jewellery, scarves, children’s toys, old-fashioned wooden games, decorations, greetings cards and Halloween (soon to be Xmas) items from Italy, the UK and Germany are just some of the products that the village seemed to be in need of.
Not forgetting the artistic contributions from local seamstresses, potters, painters, basket-makers and carpenters amongst others; whose talent is providing many of the wonderfully original and sometimes quirky items that help to make In po’ de tütu such a fun place to come for a pongle.
Postcards nestling in their home-made (ex-draining rack) display case.
The souvenir side of things has positively juggernauted since I asked for your help in putting together a postcard collection.
There is now a selection of books about the area, cds from the local polyphonic singing groups and instrumental bands, hand-painted aprons, maps, tourist guides, 2013 photographic calendars, pens, bags and possibly even umbrellas if I ever get around to it…
No chance of any visitor to the village escaping without purchasing some little knick-knack or other to keep memories of their stay alive!
Preparations for a chestnut festival that never was – snow (of all things!) stopped play.
Unfortunately the plan to stock some local produce – olives, honey, jams, dried tomatoes in oil and bottles of olive oil has had to be abandoned along the way, as a month-long (and rather expensive) course in food handling would need to be undertaken in order to sell even ready-packaged edibles.
But as food is one thing this village has never lacked, I’m sure my little offerings will not be too sadly missed.
The English Book Swap! Take one and leave one, or take one and make a donation to UNICEF!
So in a chestnut shell, this has so far been a hugely fun, vastly terrifying and terribly exciting journey through the initial trials of shopkeepery.
I have absolutely no idea what is waiting around the corner, but whatever it is, I am definitely looking forward to all the challenges the project will undoubtedly bring.
This is Status Viatoris, preparing to try a bit of everything in order to make this venture a success, in Italy.