Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Collecting Life

all images; Chez La Femme by Femme d M

So I've spent alot of the last couple of years wondering how much of me has gone into Galerie Montmartre?  For a while there, I was raising the Petits & running around in the background, allowing L'Homme to be the face of the business.  It was his interest in images that got us into collecting original vintage posters to begin with.  So once the fog had cleared slightly from his collapse, I had to be very honest with I doing this because I want to?  Is vintage poster art my thing or was it his & I just played along?  Am I simply running this business in the hopes that he will return & everything can go back to the way it used to be?  Or has as much of my heart, soul & passion gone into Galerie Montmartre as L'Homme's did?

In the early days, people were constantly asking me, in that slow, quizzical, am-i-ready-for-the-real-answer way?  "So Femme d M, how's business?  I mean, how are you finding the posters?  Do you have enough stock?  is everything OK?"  And for a while I did my 'fake-it-til-I-make-it' routine, not truly knowing all the answers at that stage.  I knew business was ok, I was pretty sure I could source more posters although I hadn't been on a buying trip in over 5 years myself, I had enormous faith in my staff.  I knew I was putting one foot in front of the other, re-branding, holding meetings, putting systems in place, setting up social media, emailing contacts, putting on a big smile the hours I was at the gallery & I was getting good enough sleep. (Always a wonderful indicator that I'm at peace, despite the turmoil) It felt like there was momentum, even if it was slight & talking with my other retailing friends, I knew everyone was doing it tough.  So, the fact I hadn't had to hold off one payment to anyone, I actually employed two more people & regular poster deliveries were being made was telling me that I was doing something right.  And that "yes, business is good.  Yes, all is well, thank you."

Then today, when I looked back at old photos I'd taken before the heart of Galerie Montmartre was changed forever, I smiled.  I am indeed a collector at heart.  Look at all these groups of things around the house, most still remain - frozen in time (!!)...must do something about that - even though alot of furniture & collectables have gone across to L'Homme's new digs.  These are my collections.  Magazines, books, candles, barware, vases from the 40's, the letter 's', crafty toys & of course, vintage poster art.  Galerie Montmartre is definitely a part of me, it is my heart & soul.  
Collecting is my thing & I have learnt that retail is definitely my thing.  I couldn't think of doing anything else. I've learnt it in quite a cruel way, but I've learnt it & that's worth celebrating.

And a very big thank you for all the comments & emails I received in response to my last blogpost.  I'm so grateful that you took the time to contact me.  It was unexpected & really lovely. x


Camilla @ Designalogue said...

Power to you FdM! Your honesty in your posts are truly inspiring!
Psst - just had a poster of yours hung in a clients house - its a giant happy home poster & is so beautiful & you just cant help but smile when you see it!

limestone mantels said...

It is nice to read you again Shelley!

~ Herman Swan