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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Run-In With A Loyal Customer

A few days ago I was out running errands and decided to pop into my local fabric store. I was only planning on being there for a minute, but when I went around the last corner, I came face to face with something I recognized! The Creamcycle athletic skirt was standing right in front of me! To be more exact, a woman wearing the Creamsyscle athletic skirt was standing right in front of me.  I love seeing Sweet Spot® Skirts out and about in the real world, “in action” as I like to think of it, but I usually see them at races, so seeing one while out running errands was really exciting!  I said, “Hey! Cute Skirt!” to the woman wearing it, and she replied, “Oh yeah, thanks. It’s really comfortable.” After talking to her for another minute or two I finally confessed that I’m a seamer for the company and had, in fact, made the very skirt she was wearing. We stood in the fabric store for about 10 minutes talking, and this is her skirt story:

Her name is Liz and she’s a part time PE teacher at an elementary school in the Salem-Keizer School District. She bought her first Sweet Spot® Skirt, Modern Groove, at REI the day she bought her new bike. She thought the skirts were adorable, but wanted more color choices, so she decided to make a trip into our shop in Vancouver, Wa. She fell in love with the company and the store and is now the proud owner of 5 reversible skirts! She says the skirts are perfect to wear for work, because she wants to look a little bit professional, but needs to be comfortable enough to run around with her students. She says she likes the simple, straight lines of the skirts, and loves the pops of color!

I really enjoyed meeting Liz and hearing her story. She loves her Sweet Spot® Skirts; they fit her lifestyle and her personality perfectly! I told her that, as a seamstress, it’s nice to see what I spend all day working on being put to good use. I’m always on the lookout for a Sweet Spot® Skirt “in action”, so whether you’re running a race or running errands, maybe next time I’ll run into you!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Sweet Surprise for the Sweet Spot Staff

We were told to meet at the skirt shop at 6pm for a “Staff Appreciation Night”. We all tried to get more details about the evening out of our boss and fearless leader, Stephanie Lynn, but she wouldn’t budge; this was her surprise and she was going to hold on to it until the very last second!  When 6 o’clock rolled around, we were all handed princess crowns to wear for the evening and then piled into a big red van,and headed off to our first destination: food! We ended up at Nuestra Mesa in Cammas, Wa. for dinner, where we were given our first set of “instructions” – “Roses are red; violets are blue. Tonight you must eat in pairs of two.”  We had to pick a dinner partner and order our food together and share! This was a really fun way to dine! My dinner buddy and I shared a basket of chips and guacamole, a plate of tacos and a bowl of rice and beans. We all left Nuestra Mesa stuffed and satisfied!  
Dinner at Nuestra Mesa with the Sweet Spot Staff
When we left the restaurant, we took a chilly stroll through downtown Cammas, stopping at a huge, lighted Christmas tree for a photo op! When the flashbulbs faded, we were told we needed to make a quick stop at a shop nearby to drop off some skirts. When we got to the shop, Arktana, Stephanie pulled a poem out of her bag, along with a stack of envelopes….What could this be???
Stephanie’s poem described each one of the employees and the roles we each play for Sweet Spot Skirts, and told how much she appreciates each of us. She concluded her speech by explaining that she was giving us each a sum of money to spend on boots for ourselves!!! And in case the money in our envelopes wasn’t enough for the boots we picked, Steph had some money making opportunities set up for us: party games! Pin The Hat On The Minion and Dart Gun Shootout. 

Shopping at Arktana was a blast! Nine women in one shoe store, all shopping for themselves but spending someone else’s money?! Can you even imagine the state of euphoria we were all in?! I had a really hard time making a choice! I found a pair of tall red boots that I just loved; a pair of red ankle boots that were so cute and a pair of grey lace up combat style boots that seemed to have my name written all over them! What’s a girl to do?? In the end, I picked the lace up combat boots because they were the first ones I reached for when we walked into the shop, before I knew that I’d be shopping in just a matter of minutes! 
Too many fabulous boots! Which ones should I choose?
Our Staff Appreciation Night was such a treat! We all had a great time, but I think our boss might have had the best time of all!  The whole night was an overwhelming gift! Being spoiled and treated like a princess and really being made to feel appreciated is something we women need every once in a while, and Stephanie nailed it!
Stephanie and her Sweet Spot Princesses
Headed back to the big red van after the sweetest surprise we could have imagined!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

From Biking Skirt to Walking Skirt in an Instant

In the children’s book, “Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day” by Jane O’Connor, Nancy has a motto – “Less than a mile, bike in style”. When the Clancy family has to run quick errands or run to the grocery store for just a few items, they leave their car at home and ride their bikes instead.  I’ve taken her motto and modified it a little; I say, “less than 10 miles, bike in style!”

So earlier this week when I had 3 quick stops to make, and it wasn’t raining, I decided to bike it. I snapped on one of my custom SweetSpot® Skirt cycling skirts, grabbed my helmet and bike and hit the road. My first stop was Goodwill, about two and a half miles from home. I racked my bike and headed inside and found what I was looking for within about 1o minutes. I went back outside to the rack and stood in front of my bike for a good 20 seconds before I could make sense of what I was seeing…my bike was still locked up where I had left it, but the rear fork was resting on the sidewalk and my real wheel was gone! I just stood there with my mouth hanging open, unable to believe that someone had stolen my wheel!
The sad sight that met me when I came out of the store.
 When I finally registered what I was seeing, I got mad! I’m talking screaming, spitting, crying mad!!!! Why would someone do that? How mean! What was the point? Of course Goodwill doesn’t have security cameras, so they weren’t able to help me, though they did offer to call the police non-emergency number for me. I filed a police report, knowing in my heart that I’ll never see my wheel again. When I was finished with the police dispatcher, I was faced with a dilemma:  now what? I was two and a half miles from home and my mode of transportation was disabled…

Not wanting to be the damsel-in-destress-waiting-for-a-prince-to-rescue-her sort of girl, I took what I saw as the only option available: I hitched up my cycling skirt, picked up my bike, and hoofed it home. I ride a dark purple Liv Alight-2; it weighs about 21 pounds. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an awkward 21 pounds, and by the time I got home I swear that bike weighed closer to 121 pounds than

As I was walking home, I spent some time praying and thinking, and by the time I reached my front door, I had calmed down and changed my attitude, I was still upset about my wheel being stolen, but I decided not to let it ruin my whole day. I thought about the fact that in the six months I’ve owned my bike, I’ve had three flats on the rear tire, had to replace the tube twice, and the tire has a pretty good size hole in the rubber, so maybe it’s time for a new one anyway (I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’ll have to replace the sprocket set too! I’ll face that reality another day!). I also reminded myself that it could have been worse – they could have stolen my entire bike; it could have happened at my furthest destination from home rather than my closest; it could have been raining. In short, it could have been a lot worse!! I decided that I can’t control people’s actions, but I can control my reactions, and I decided to react with grace.

I learned two valuable things that day: First, I learned a safer way to lock up a bike – through the back wheel, rear fork and onto the rack with an added cable lock through the front wheel/fork. And second, I learned that my Sweet Spot® cycling skirt transitions very well from biking to walking!