Guest Commentary: Entrepreneurs are never too old to adapt, face new challenges
Staff ReportDecember 1st, 2022
The other day a customer was leaving my vintage store and said how much they enjoyed the store and what a great job I had done decorating. I smiled, thanked them, and thought about how it will never get old to hear comments like that.
Even after six years, hearing positive remarks from customers continues to thrill me to the bones.
It’s not all positive though. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. It is a mixture of giddy joy, terror, worry, and triumph. The flexibility of working for yourself is often overrun by concern over cash flow, inventory, the vagaries of the economy, and a million other little things that keep you on your toes.
But just when you start to question the sanity of starting your own business and the thought of throwing in the towel begins to creep in, a customer will say something lovely that goes straight to the core.
It’s the fuel you need to keep going.
As we celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month and the six-year anniversary of my business, 1889 Salvage, I’m reflecting on our commitment to continue to push our business to new heights.
It’s been an adventure, and we’ve made great progress. We’ve moved to a bigger bricks-and-mortar location and gained thousands of followers on social media.
I’m also grateful that our business success has led to our ability to give back to the community—helping raise money for wonderful causes, carrying local products made by artisan makers, and selling fantastic vintage furniture to help keep it out of the waste stream.
And as hard as the pandemic was on entrepreneurs with small businesses, I can see how much of an opportunity it was also.
Without the unprecedented circumstances and uncertainty that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, I probably wouldn’t have branched out and started making videos to keep my name in front of my customers.
While I may have started out a little rough with just my husband pointing the phone at me as I demonstrated wrapping gifts, making centerpieces, and ways to use your vintage pieces, my followers seemed to immediately connect with them. As I’ve become more comfortable making videos, this connection has only grown.
Our online community continues to show their appreciation by commenting on these posts, liking them, and sharing beyond our page. It’s clear my Facebook community sees our page as a place to stay connected.
Now, with the pandemic for the most part behind us, I continue to share my enthusiasm and passion through these now slightly more refined videos to reach even greater audiences—and potential new customers—and to always stay connected with current customers.
I may work with old things, sell old things, and encourage people to buy old things, but I can say with absolute certainty how great it is as an entrepreneur that I have new digital tools to help me share my love of the old.
This National Entrepreneurship Month, I encourage every small business owner to adopt these tools—and if you think you’re too old to adapt, I hope I can be the proof you need to get started.
Gina Campbell is owner of Spokane vintage retail store 1889 Salvage Co, located at 2824 N. Monroe, in north Spokane.