Posted by Susan Liane, The Smuggler's Daughter on 11/25/2015 to Commentary
Last year that was a lot of media buzz about large retail stores essentially forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving. It seems that “Black Friday” simply had to start early. This year, on the other hand, there is a lot of media buzz about REI staying closed for Thanksgiving and “Black Friday” and there have been stories about how many retail chains are completely closed on Thanksgiving Day.  Today I read an article about how the day after Thanksgiving is not such an important shopping day after all.  

I, for one, have to admit that on many occasions, while cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I have been grateful to find out that a grocery store was open.  On one Thanksgiving while checking out at a major grocery store in San Francisco, I thanked the woman at the cash register for working that day.  She responded by telling me that I should not be so impressed, that holiday pay was excellent at her job, and that all of the staff working that day wanted to be there for part of the holiday.

So these were the essential differences - a living wage and a choice.  If we have these, we should be grateful indeed.

Retail stores in general have been accused of turning Thanksgiving into a shopping event, rather than a family holiday.  And perhaps retail stores have not always been particularly sensitive in how we have handled holiday sales.  But this Thanksgiving, I just wanted to tell you all that I am truly grateful - and a sale seemed like a good way to express that to my customers.

Three years ago I was working in a location, in an organization, and in a job that I had grown to dislike.  Like a lot of people working in corporate America, I had dreams of something different and better.  I dreamed about The Smuggler’s Daughter, although I did not know the name at that time.  And I think I had always dreamed about being authentic when I came to work - like I did not have to hide who I am or where I came from.

Three years ago I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner for Maggie and other friends.  I knew it would be her last Thanksgiving and I wasn’t even sure she would make it to Christmas.  I loved being with her during that holiday weekend and hated to leave.  Yet I was filled with a dread of impending loss.  I tried to remind myself that I had a lot to be thankful for, that Maggie and I had shared 30+ years of fun and friendship, but it felt like a low point in my life.  

I knew that Maggie would pass away before too long and I also knew that I was about to be laid off from this job that I no longer wanted.  And I knew that I had a choice. I just didn’t know that less than a year later that I would launch this online fabric store called The Smuggler’s Daughter.  I didn’t really know that I could make a living doing this, but I was insistent upon being authentic in this next chapter of my life.

Because of you and your business I am able to work in a field that I love - it is wonderful to hear about your sewing projects and your ideas.  I have learned so much about running an online store and many of you have been very patient with me while I worked out the kinks of this site.  Yes, The Smuggler’s Daughter is open on Thanksgiving but no employees are required to work.  I don’t think there are words to express how grateful I am to have customers like you. 

I also love it when customers reach out to me with stories about things they have kept hidden and what it means to them to live with authenticity and freedom.  So many of you have touched my heart and I appreciate your messages and your honesty.

I know that you have a choice of where to buy fabric and I hope that you always feel like you are treated with respect and gratitude when you are shopping on mine.  I am The Smuggler’s Daughter and I don’t have to hide it anymore.  

Thank you.  Truly.  Thank you.

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The Conversation So Far
Wendy Engelmann Date 4/12/2016
Thunderbird Visions material is gorgeous. Thank you for an inspirational post.
Emily Date 10/15/2017
You are an amazing, truly authentic and inspiring woman. This post actually left me teary eyed! I'm so happy you're following your heart, making your dream come true and doing it with such honesty and bravery. You really and truly are an inspiration to me and I am sure many others! Wishing you all the best, always.
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