in the workshop

whatever happened to fun?

if you've ever stopped by the store on a monday or after 5pm any other day of the week, you might have been annoyed that we are closed. see what had happened was.. running the business for long hours seven days a week was just no fun. it's also unsustainable, and pragmatically speaking, unrealistic. shopping as recreation is out. working seven days a week is ridiculous. nobody needs the local soap store to be open all the time. it's easier to keep our prices low when our overhead isn't eating up all our resources. besides, knowing what we know about climate change, global resources and economic trends, how can the world possibly sustain at previous levels? the easy answer is that it won't.

the thing most never think about when it comes to their local small business is trajectory. growth, growth, growth usually leads to debt, debt, debt. it's the american way. which means that 75% of all small enterprises will close leaving proprietors with a mountain of debt that usually takes decades to pay off. ask a business owner how it's going and they will invariably tell you things are "wonderful! best year ever!" and in that same vein there is no end to the falacious excuses about why the business failed. but the simple truth is that some shit works and some shit doesn't. it's also about reach and grasp. betting on the future, or more likely, betting on a future that looks like the present or past almost never works out. we've been there. and done that.

a successful center city store should translate easily, right? a store in haddonfield. a salon. a yoga studio. they were all great endeavors and some made us money but they all sucked. mostly because we did what we thought we were supposed to do. what our society tells us we should do. to grow and grow and grow. military pilots report "no joy" when an attempt to acquire a target is unsuccessful. these failed attempts were, for us, simply "no joy". imagine how sad we were while it was all occuring yet so happy to have offloaded everything before 2020 when covid came knocking. we have the thing we value most: coming to work together at duross & langel.


so here comes 2023

regardless of what happens here in america, a global recession is on the door step. to think it won't affect us is to blind oneself to the many sign posts along the path. regardless of what the fed continues to do to cool the economy, the way in which the world works continues to change and everything still costs more. a storm of things we've never experienced before continues to disrupt production, supply chains and goods in the marketplace. we all feel the squeeze. at duross & langel we are choosing to view both our long and short term future through the lens of sustainability.  the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

so who knows where we will be as a business in ten years. who really cares? "can we pay ourselves? can we pay the bills? are we having any fun along the way?" those are the important questions. everything else is just noise and ego.

of course things will change when we lock the doors on the 13th street for the last time, and while we won't know what will come until it does, nothing in life ever really stays the same anyway. our mission (if that's still a thing) is to harness the best bits of our business and to build upon them while endeavoring to have a great deal of fun along the way.