Daughters of Others: Michelle Caves-Deal
Daughters of Others is a series exploring the lives of the women who inspire us. These women are journeying through life along their distinct paths. Despite our varied passions, the singular element that connects us is: we are all Daughters of Others.
Michelle Caves-Deal is our dear friend. She owns the curated consignment boutique Blackbird Attic on Main Street in Beacon, NY. We chatted with her about taking risks, learning to let go, and embracing the unknown in 2018.
D: Give us a little history on your business.
M: When I moved to Beacon in late 2009, I had in mind I might like to open a shop. I had owned a couple small businesses in the past and had a recent fashion merchandising degree. One day a friend was visiting and we walked into a consignment shop. It was a peculiar scene, almost right away the guy there offered me a job- shortly after, that offer turned into asking if I’d like to buy the business. Taking over from another business turned into more work than I would have liked, but in the end it all worked out. I’m still here, and thriving!
D: What is your biggest business challenge?
K: Lately it is time management, and management in general. I ran the store myself up until I had my son, so it was an adjustment getting used to others working for me and just not having enough time in the shop. When you run a shop or business, your work never ends. Once upon a time I could leave my work for the next day, but now that I’m not there everyday, I struggle to squeeze it in and also have to be okay with everything not being exactly how I want it. Typical Type A business owner.
D: Where do you find your inspiration?
M: I’m inspired by everything around me from my creative friends, to my fashion savvy customers, shop girls, favorite stores, and of course instagram, duh. I like to see what everyone else is doing, but put my own spin on things. You have to follow trends but also be unique in this market.
D: What excites you most about 2018?
M: This is the year I am really trying to get myself completely organized, while also revamping the Blackbird Attic brand a bit. I am in the works of redoing my business cards, website, and whatever else needs an update. I’m also adding a customer loyalty program that I am really excited about- just getting new people to learn about Blackbird Attic and rewarding my amazing customers and consignors.
D: What makes you nervous?
M: The unknown. Beacon is getting really popular, which is great, but will my shop be priced out one day? Will I find other locations where I could do just as well, or will I have to just close one day? When I first started I planned to see how I would do the 1st year, and take it from there. I’ve continued to do better every year, but seeing all the changes around me is both exciting and nerve-racking.
D: How do you balance parenthood, relationships, and owning a small business?
M: The reality of running your own business, is that it’s flexible, but also constraining. You can’t just go on a week vacation and not worry about anything. You can put off work, but there are certain things that can’t just be picked up by someone else. I am still learning to balance. I am learning to organize and schedule better, while handing off what I can.
D: How do you re-center?
M: Get a good night’s sleep. get to the gym, and try to get away on a little day trip where I can turn off my to-do list brain.
D: What's next for Black Bird Attic, brand wise?
M: I am always on the lookout for new products and brands- I love checking Etsy Wholesale for handmade bath & body or homewares that will fit the shop. I love carrying an array of items from used clothing to new colognes to mid century furniture. Something completely new and different that I am considering is carrying a small section of *new* clothing- slightly higher end, but not too out of reach of my goal to provide affordable goods.