Month One

Web businesses are fun, but there's nothing like having a physical space to meet every one of your customers (and to connect with hundreds of interested bystanders). It's the best kind of focus group. We've learned things all month and continue to test, observe, and evolve. A few examples:

98% of every person who walks in the front door, regardless of whether they notice the information wall or not, takes a hard right and moves around the nest counterclockwise. I had seen this was true in retail--that people enter and instinctively move right--but honestly believed having something clearly in front of them to read would indicate that was the beginning. Apparently not. So we're moving the information display.

Color: We put a sign in the window to try to neutralize some of the initial concern.

Color: We put a sign in the window to try to neutralize some of the initial concern.

Almost everyone who spoke to us felt a need to check that we, in fact, would print color. Clearly my personal bias toward black and white can be a little intimidating. So we're adjusting the mix, and showing more color, and more works by our clients. I get it.

A stunning proportion of our early clients share one trait: they were leaving on a plane in the subsequent 24 hours. At least 2 clients literally walked out our door and into a Lyft to SFO. The ability to produce a personalized framed fine art photograph in 30 minutes would be a special order anywhere else, if it could be done at all. But we've learned that Neomodern has a unique offering for creatives needing a last-minute-gift.

We're getting better at packing projects for different customer needs.

We're getting better at packing projects for different customer needs.

There was some expected tuning of our systems. Turns out that the device we use to put the frames together will jam easily, and we needed to get a manual version of the same device "just in case." Similarly, the computerized mat cutter can be very tempermental. Learning how to coax all the devices into high performance is something we're learning, and getting increasingly efficient at the entire process has been fun.

By the end of the month we had retired our proto-website, shed like a chrysalis, and emerged with a newer website; a far more cohesive and clear representation of who we are and what we're like... but most importantly it introduced our reservation system: we realized that in this town, everything is scheduled. Walk ins can be welcomed, but people needed to be able to pick a time and lock it in. It's been a day and we're started to see it get used. So happy.

So that's our first month: a slowly growing customer set, a few evening events, and everything on track for seems like an increasing intensity toward the holidays. Let's hope.