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Today I hosted my first workshop with young women and their moms.  My mission was to introduce them to the business concept of the American Girl resale boutique, see what kinds of work they wanted to do, and keep them enthusiastic about the new business.  First we had lunch and then we discussed what the business is all about, what work needs to be done, and who will do it.

I prepared a 3 page check list of tasks and asked both the girls and moms to fill it out.  We went line by line discussing what each task meant such as quality assessment, competitive pricing, and messaging.    We talked about how each item that comes from a purchase or a donation needs to be looked over to see what condition it is in:  brand new, mint, excellent used, good, or fair.  We discussed that the condition was one component of pricing.  We talked about needing to know what other people who sold this merchandise were pricing their items for so that we would be fair in pricing ours – otherwise, customers might not want to buy from us.  And we discussed what messaging is all about – telling customers why they would want to shop at our boutique and what makes it different than other places where they could buy American Girl dolls and accessories.

I have never run a retail operation so I am learning on the job.  I have also never actually instructed anyone with ASD other than my daughter, so I am learning what each volunteer (and future employee) can do and how much I need to adjust my language to explain what needs to be done.  I kept checking in with the moms to see if their daughters were getting what I was saying.

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After our work session came the fun part:  playing with the historical dolls that I already collected, doing their hair, making sure they had the right outfits on, and rearranging the Bitty Babies in the crib.

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So much to do, so little time left.  But I am thrilled that I have so many people committed to making this a success.

Thanks to Molly and her mom Barbara, Becky and her mom Sheryl, Cici and her mom Shera, and Izzie.  Thanks to Izzie’s dad, Paul, for helping in the store fixture acquisition at Ikea, and for his help in putting it all together.

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