Every so often, like the New Year for instance, it is beneficial, for us as business owners and as individuals, to take inventory. As a retailer, I have taken inventory hundreds of times and the information gathered from the exercise is extremely important. I learn what remains on the shelf, what is damaged, lost its price tag, needs to be polished, should be marked down and most important what has sold or, in other words, what is working. From a business perspective, what is working means what is selling, what is popular and what are the trends? This aids in planning, budgeting and developing a strategy for the coming year. While it is this kind of information is important to run a successful business it is equally important is to take a moment to reflect and review in a broader sense. This is a great time to consider the gallery’s roots; what moved me to open a Native American gallery, the mission; creating a place for Native American artists to showcase their work, and the passion; what drives me and continues to excite me every single day. (FYI, it is the relationships – both with the Native American artists and you the collectors).  It is also a time to consider what is relevant and where to focus attention in the future. This type of reflective inventory is much more challenging than the physical count. It requires me to step back and attempt some level of objectivity. This is very difficult!

While being rooted in tradition is critical, I feel it is important to evolve and embrace progress and innovation. It is necessary to accept changes in both my industry and the world. For instance, I must accept that the internet is here to stay (smiles) and realize that my website is quickly becoming the equivalent of an additional gallery; one that is visited by a worldwide audience. While I would much rather visit face to face with you, my 2013 email conversations with and successful shipments to customers in Norway, France and Canada, as well as numerous US destinations, were also inspiring and rewarding.   I have also had the opportunity to meet travelers from all over the globe while traveling on cruise ships as a lecturer and vendor.

This has created an entirely new and diverse group of Native American art devotees who continue to purchase treasures from my website. On the ship, inventory it taken daily. This is a measure, I am sure, because they are at risk of shoplifting. The very nature of a new group of guests each week leaves them very little time to create relationships where people feel connected to each other.

In contrast, I can honestly say that the connection to the loyal customers in my gallery is one of my greatest blessings. This season, numerous times when I was busy in the gallery a customer jumped in and helped. Snow was shoveled, glass was cleaned, garbage was removed and items were sold to customers by other customers! “Oh, that looks amazing! If you don’t buy it, I will!!” is all one need hear and bam – sold! And, what an eclectic group you are! To name a few, you are musicians, psychologists, physicists, healers, artists, lawyers, unemployed everything, teachers, carpenters, housewives, students, a professional comedian and a psychic. Every day is a blast!

So, as I take the physical count of items in the gallery I also take inventory of the important moments this past year. 2013 is another chapter in my memory book where you have left an imprint of your generosity, humor and unwavering support.

Thank you - Mitakuye Oyasin

(“All my relations” – “We are all connected”, Lakota blessing)

Janet and family

Kevin, Drew and Maddie