Holding Down the Fort

I was supposed to be waking up in Vegas this morning. Instead, I am once again behind the desk at the salon, waiting on clients to arrive.

What happened? Why aren't I at IBS Las Vegas? Why am I not wandering around the Strip soliciting free drinks from my peeps? (I turn 40 on Monday, ya know.) Why won't I be competing this weekend? Why won't I be spending all my hard-earned money on lots of new bling and product at the show?

Well, the BF and I decided to buy a house. It was not exactly the most well-thought-out plan, or we would have done it two months later, after IBS Vegas, after an impending trip to Pennsylvania, after my 40th birthday ... just after. But the right house showed up at the right price and now we find ourselves in escrow, mostly feeling a little confused about how we got here.

Nevertheless, between the new stress in the personal life and having to reluctantly admit to myself that it was not going to be practical to continue to pursue competition with a vengeance while trying to establish the new salon at the same time, I am not in Vegas with my adoring fans.

Instead I am sitting in the salon staring at the shelves that will soon be filled with retail product of various ilk, scrunching up my face in consternation about just how *@#!ing expensive it is to set up a boutique! And this is just a small portion of my already miniscule salon that I am dedicating to "boutique" — imagine if I were attempting to open an actual boutique! Doing that must require some serious "Daddy's money" or really good credit! My head is spinning from trying to stock just 40 square feet of shelf space!

It turns out that just setting up the boutique might turn out to be more expensive than stocking it. There are jewelry displays to purchase, packaging material to wrap fragile things, and shiny bags for my clients to carry their new treasures in. (Bags that are near impossible to get printed at anything resembling a reasonable cost, by the way.)

Not to mention, the paperwork. I had to get a California seller's permit. This thing is supposed to make it easier for the state to make sure they get their share of my free enterprise in the way of sales tax. But I don't really have to have a seller's permit to pay the state. I could, conceivably, pay sales tax voluntarily. But you can hardly even buy stuff for retail purposes without the permit. I get that, totally cool with it. Until it came to my attention that there are actually even places that don't want to sell me tissue paper without my California seller's permit number. Tissue paper! Go ahead and charge me tax on it! I'm not going to resell it! Geesh!

I have no idea how I'm going to go about tracking my inventory, my stock, my sales — when it comes to financial paperwork I am clueless. Utterly. I'm told that a copy of QuickBooks will make my life — and my relationship with the Franchise Tax Board — much easier. But, why didn't I learn any of this in school? Nail school, that is. Vocational school. The school that I had to go to learn how to make a living in a salon environment. The school whose literature claimed that part of my schooling would address reception duties, appointment booking and scheduling, and retailing.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised; it's not like I actually learned to do nails there either.

But that's what I would truly appreciate. At trade shows. In school. Even in my own community college ... I'd like to take a class that teaches me how to track retail business from purchase of inventory to writing the check to the state for the sales and use taxes. That might help.

Meanwhile, where's the FedEx guy? He's supposed to have shiny bags for me!

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