We all think we love and want change. Politically, you got it. Retail wise you got it. Question is, are we happy with the results? I will not discuss politics, I was merely using it as an example. A radical one. The other, being Newbury Street. The similarity? Neither are helping our economy. We should be unified and living happily together as one unity, here in the US. Instead, I see and feel sub divide. It causes friction among us. Unspoken words. Fear. All negative. This change, is not positive. I thought our goal in life is harmony.
I took a walk down "my street" on Monday. Down towards the Boston Common, and back again to where Matsu resides. I have never, in my 30 years on Newbury Street seen or felt the emptiness and lack of hope from one place The empty store fronts that exist blew me away. Lackluster, for what was once known as a destination street, known for it's charm. The survivors are few and far between. Most of the retail still standing are newer companies, designers and business with a dream. Hope. They have a positive attitude and are seriously anticipating nothing but to flourish. I have news folks, I hope so too, otherwise "ghost town" will be the reputation of Newbury St. It is sad enough that many people that I knew no longer visit the street. This is harming our retail environment. I was truly saddened by the feeling experienced as I walked in between the pouring raindrops last Monday. The fact of the matter is that this is the true reality.
Back in 1980, my partner and I had a dream. We chose Boston as a possibility to open a retail shop. We came up here to scout spaces and get a pulse on this city. We pounded the street and in retrospect, what we saw then is similar to what I experienced last Monday, taking a gander down the street. The difference being, in that era, we were embarking on the beginning of what Newbury Street's reputation grew into later in the years to come; prestige and glamour. However, back in 1980, we were pioneers. We landed a space on the Fairfield and Newbury Street corner. Learning shortly there after, that we were about to open a gift shop where prostitutes hung out shortly before we got there! This was how raw the street was back then.
We felt as though we had just discovered a mini European city right in the heart of Boston.We also were romanced by the historical charm of the Back Bay. The roof tops and down spouts on these magnificent brownstones carried the most incredible patina as the copper exposed itself to the natural elements. We packed up our life, searched for a spot, and moved. We called it home. We lived upstairs from Eastern Accent for years. The shop opened in 1980 selling the most avant garde dinner ware and crystal, along with gifts of that time period. Our reputation grew, and we became known for our taste that was ahead of it's time. We kept going with it, and morphed Eastern Accent into a futon shop, and then higher end gifts and jewelry. Products from Japan. We were one of the only stores on the street.
Didn't matter to us back then how empty the street was. We were venturing into a realm unfamiliar with absolutely no fear. Overflowing with naive confidence. We just had a vision and exploited it.
We have seen the street wax and wan. Right now, in this year of 2010 is the saddest thing. Those there are all holding on… somehow in hopes that a new breed of buyers discover what is left of this charming street, as well as the last free standing Boutiques. This includes me. Hope. Eastern Accent transformed into what we all know as Matsu. Coming up on our 15th year at 259 Newbury Street. We will be "Celebrating the Magic of Matsu" on September 26, Sunday. This is the beginning of Fashion Week. We plan on partnering with our neighboring business, the restaurant below. La Voile. We plan a celebration, and fashion show this evening.
Our outlook is real. We live in the truth. The economy is suffering right now. Matsu is a way of life. We are there to produce beautiful things, and to inspire people to recognize their own beauty from within: Especially during this challenging period.
No one really realizes how difficult retail is. There are many entities that compile the soul, the ambiance and the serenity that is felt once entering the shop.
Radical honesty here… Feeling stuck, moving through it, and not really wanting the customers to know how it REALLY is. We all try to maintain a facade, so to speak. Keeping things fresh, maintaining the pulse on fashion and beyond here in Boston. you know, Styles change, Style doesn't. This is what we are known for. It takes experience, knowledge and perseverity to be able to continue right now. However, this can not be maintained without you!
I have just recently been assigned a project by my good friend who has just completed her book. She asked me what it was like to feel stuck. She asked me to describe it. Her mission is to empower people, and I have worked with her for several years along this realm. The feeling of being stuck is honestly a physical and mental thing combined, for me. Squirming, discontent, stagnant energy. Sort of feeling paralyzed, and stale. This is what happens to me when the customers don't appear. There are all sorts of reasons that the traffic on Newbury Street is not what is was a few years back. Even last year, for that matter, and the econony is only part of it. I sense that others feel stuck simultaneously and use this E word which prevents them from moving forward. The very interesting thing about all of this is where I find survival and how creatively resourceful I am in this trying period.
The state of economic affairs is one that I have done my best a keeping at bay. There comes a time when radical honesty is absolutely a necessity. The anecdote to all of this from a personal perspective is stimulation.Imagination. Creativity. all of these things are tools that I use to move forward. IF you stop spending completely, it constipates the soul.
I can close the doors of Matsu. That is easy. Very easy, and right now, in this climate, as I take mental notes, that I no longer see the clientele who has supported us in our 15 years here in this location at 259 Newbury Street for what ever the reasons may be, we suffer by the results. What customers and people do not realize that it is them, who we rely on for support. They all want you to stay in business… so they say, don' they get it ???? It is usually too late, as I have seen with other acquaintances, and friends in this industry, that once the doors are closing, the customer says " Oh, no! we need you !" Where on earth will I find such unique jewelry, clothing& gifts, etc?" I have also heard, "You better not go anywhere " Too late, I say. . This is a two way street. They want freshness, they want uniqueness, how do they think this little cycle runs ??? I honestly wonder! What are they really thinking ? Are they sleep walking ? Radical Honesty here. Radical Change..I am so perplexed by this dumbfounding mentality, that I realize it upsets me to the point that I churn some of my best creative outlets, and use them as positive tools.
I force myself to infuse freshness into Matsu. This where the tools of inspiration and stimulation come into play. Self generating. Self motivation here. Must be the Virgo and stubbornness in me. So much so, that the ego drops ( if I even notice it's presence ) and I find myself operating from my deep within my soul.
Doing what initially inspired this passion in the first place .This is one of the components that allows our doors to remain open, people. But we can not do it without your support .
Simultaneously, I have taken on an other creative project.Nymph. My line of jewelry inspired by my ancestory, ancient ruins of Italy and Greece. The tombs of Egypt. The spicey flavor of Morocco, and the intricacy of India. Nymph. Ancient inspired jewelry that will take you to far away places and other realms of the world. Creating this line of jewelry, has been theraputic, and very sacred. It speaks to my heart, or better yet, this is a reflection of my heart speaking to all of you! Keeping it healthy, and happy by inner expression. What an anecdote for what this social and economical climate is trying to dictate.
This blog post expresses radical honesty. Getting real with what is. I hope you all read of this and understand the message. There are more to things than what meet the eye. This is a terribly stressful time. One of my best friends in this industry has just closed her doors. I saw it coming. I could feel it. She is now free to do what speaks to her soul the most. I honestly respect her for doing so. Me? on the other hand. Matsu still speaks to my soul. It now has another friend that I hope will keep it company in the long haul back to a healthy environment, and that is my line of ancient inspired jewelry, Nymph. My new baby. Something else to love.
I hope you all understand the seriousness of retail, upon reading this blog. I have been in my truth. Let go of ego, and only speak with radical honestly ,which is where radical, healthy change can aspire.
I am posting new shots of the interior of Matsu, as well as some profile shots of me, in this emotional state, and a few of Nymph to come.
Thank you for your continued support and thank you for reading this deep and meaningful message.
Please consider, that with out you Matsu, nor any other retail, or restaurant establishment will survive.
Yours in joy and style,