When a Decision Doesn’t Fly

Alki Beach-June 2015-© Terri Nakamura

Everyone has, at some point, made a regretful decision. Graphic designers love it when they can hit “Command-Z” — Undo! Unfortunately, that doesn’t always fly in real life.

Which leads me to a “tail” of woe about a switch I recently came to regret. It has to do with kites. That’s right — kites.

Monarach kite composite

My husband and I have a beach store in West Seattle, right on Alki Beach and when we opened last summer, we had a great kite supplier. There was a concern, though — they were all the way in North Carolina!

Logistically, shipping merchandise from across the country means the cost of transportation must factor into the selling price. The kites were of great quality, and in spite of the freight charge, they sold well.

But it left us wondering if there was a closer supplier.images-1

We learned one of our local vendors offered kites and they were less expensive. ALSO, they gave us free shipping, which is, in the world of retail, is AWESOME! So we thought we’d give them a shot.

But their kites turned out to be cheaply made and the lack of quality reflected poorly on us, so it was back to the launch pad.

Last month when we were in Yorktown, VA, we discovered a store very similar to ours. They carried kites from our original supplier as well as a variety of kites from an Oregon company — just one state away! The Oregon kites were more expensive, but they were well made and we thought it would be cool to support another Northwest business. So we ordered some!mn1_001639

The problem is, the Oregon kites aren’t selling. They are too expensive.

Ultimately, it was like a Goldilocks déva vu — One vendor was too cheap; one was too expensive, and our first vendor was “just right.”

We had to try the others before we realized just how good we had it. Which meant a happy ending to this tale of #SwitchersRemorse.

Porridge-large

PS. As a member of a very cool team of influencers for Verizon Wireless, I received compensation to think of this story in my life, and to write about it 🙂

A tip from my friend, Sara F. HawkinsIf you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, head over to your local Verizon store and tell them you have #SwitchersRemorse.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.50.46 AM

A virtual tour of Alki Surf Shop:
http://on.bubb.li/274389aw5ievoklfvbnzzhi/

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Alki Beach photo © Terri Nakamura 2015

Porridge courtesy of Wikipedia/commons:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/Denslow’s_three_bears_pg_5.jpg/512px-Denslow’s_three_bears_pg_5.jpg

Alki Surf Shop: http://www.alkisurfshop.com

Terri Nakamura on Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

Alki Surf Shop on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlkiSurfShop

The Horsfall House on AirBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1229224

More from Terri Nakamura: http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/

Up in the AirBNB

Randle at sunset

The Horsfall House in the afternoon sun

The Doors sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” But since we put our country house on AirBNB, the people we’ve met have been anything but strange.

AirBNB is to lodging what Uber is to cars for hire. As of early January of 2015, it had booked more than 25 million reservations in 92 countries.

Our vacation home is in the insanely beautiful Cascade Mountain area of Washington State. We hadn’t been using it very much because of the work we were doing on our new retail store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. So we thought it made sense to let other people take advantage of it. The listing was begun in 2013, but wasn’t activated it until last fall when a friend enquired about renting our house. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to give it a try.

Before creating our listing, I did some research to see what kinds of properties were available in the area, how they were priced, and what kinds of amenities they included. Then I began the process of collecting images of our home, and writing descriptions, with the goal being 1) honest representations and 2) highlighting the positive attributes.

Among the tools we’ve used to create and manage our presence, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been great. Not only is the AirBNB app terrific, the Note 4 has enabled me to document changes in our house and share them on the site. Here are a few new ones:

Kitchen

A peek at the kitchen

Kitchen Nook

Looking into the breakfast nook

Living Room

The living room has a sleeper sofa that sleeps two

You can see, the quality of the photos are as good or better than most point-and-shoot pocket digital cameras! That’s because the camera on the Note 4 is amazing!

Toward dining room

Looking into the dining room from the living room

Verizon is the only carrier we have found to provide reliable service in Randle, Washington. We heard from one group who said they were able to get a signal on AT&T and to a lesser degree, T-Mobile, but the last time we were there (a week ago) AT&T at least, was zilch. Honestly, I don’t know what we’d do without Verizon. It has been our lifeline to the outside world.

My real-life bestie has using AirBNB in her travels, and has found some amazing places in the U.S. and abroad. I’d also heard of VRBO (Vacation rentals by owner), but felt more confident in AirBNB because of my friend’s personal (and positive) experiences.

I’m am AirBNB novice, but I’ve found ample support, both within the host communities, and from AirBNB itself. Each time I’ve had a question or issue, AirBNB has answered within 24 hours. The communities are even faster. Post a concern, and BOOM, help is there.

The experience has been largely positive, and we’ve learned through guest feedback, how to make our home even more hospitable. We’ve met people from far-off lands, as well as those from our own back yard. We discovered we share mutual IRL friends with one of our guests. Several people in another group work at a very popular restaurant here in Seattle, The Whale Wins, listed by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. We enjoyed them so much, I made it a point to take our extended family there when we celebrated my birthday earlier this month. And trust me when I say the food was fabulous!

So how are a country house, AirBNB, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and an award-winning restaurant connected?

Through great technology and with help from Verizon.


AirBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1229224

Alki Surf Shop: http://alkisurfshop.com/

Terri Nakamura: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

Alki Surf Shop: The Store Verizon Helped Build

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

Many people think of Verizon simply as a telecommunications company. But it’s much more. Because of its unique lens on its customer’s needs, it enables people to create, build, communicate and connect in ways you might not imagine.

After months of planning and renovation, in July we opened the legendary Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, home of original Alki-branded clothing and accessories.

Alki Surf Shop is a dream come true for both my husband and me. We’ve created a unique, fun and inviting experience in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.

Beside the great “Genuine Alki”-branded clothing we’ve designed and produced locally, we identified and filled a need: There wasn’t a resource on the beach that offered essential things like towels, mats, sunscreen and other “oops, we forgot” items.  And we realized there isn’t a central source providing information on local businesses and services, so we started a bulletin board featuring business cards, menus and schedules to help support our neighbors, while at the same time helping visitors to the beach..

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Also, there wasn’t a place on the beach that focused on Alki souvenirs, which is crazy since Alki is a “must see” destination in Seattle. People frequently tell us it feels more like southern California or Hawaii than a metropolitan city. In addition to the wonderful people we’ve met in our neighborhood, just this past week we had visitors from France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, and states from all across the country.

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Alki Surf Shop offers a clean, beautiful and inviting shopping experience with a friendly “island vibe.” We receive a lot of great comments in our guest book, and love the suggestions we receive from customers who help guide us as we add new products to our shelves. When a customer makes a purchase, they are treated like “Hawaiian royalty” by David, who blows a conch shell with a shout out to thank them. It makes for lots of laughter and applause.

From early in our journey, the Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone, and Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet played important roles. They allowed us to connect with, and stay on top of, correspondence with suppliers, manage our inventory, and source, as well as coordinate the procurement of important building materials. They were literally lifelines for us!

© Terri Nakamura Sweet! Nokia Lumia Icon and 2520

Verizon’s Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone and the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

By storing important documents in the cloud, everyone with authority to share the files is able to access and update them using the 2520. The tablet is housed in a durable case with a built-in keyboard and touchpad—both beautifully designed for aesthetics and functionality. And it folds compactly for storage. And we often use the Icon to power the music in the store, or to take photos and videos of our visitors.

In addition to the Icon and 2520, we have Verizon cell-phone signal booster, and a Belkin HD Net Cam — essentials needed for staying connected.

© Terri Nakamura  Belkin Netcam HD for Alki Surf Shop Seattle

The awesome Belkin Netcam HD plus helps us monitor activity in the store, day and night.

The Belkin HD Net Cam offers amazing peace of mind. There are five sensitivity ranges for motion detection from “lowest” to “highest,” and depending on the setting chosen, we are sent alerts of movement in a given area, allowing us to immediately see and hear what is happening. There is also an option to store recorded video on a subscription cloud service. The night vision feature let’s us look in on the store at any time, which is amazing and cool.

Two other great add-on tools from Verizon include the Jawbone Era, a very small, light and comfortable headset, which makes it possible to talk, hands-free, while performing other work.

The second is the Jawbone Up Activity Tracker, which is basically a bracelet that monitors your movement. Since we began the process of building the store, it’s required so much in the way of physical exertion (demolition, stripping surfaces, scraping, speckling, sanding, painting, finishing, etc.), that I’ve lost 12 pounds! It’s been great to have the Jawbone Tracker as a positive reinforcer!

© Terri Nakamura  Jawbone ERA and Jawbone UP cropped

Terrific gadgets including the Jawbone UP and Jawbone ERA have enhanced the process.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it took Verizon to help our business get up and running. Thank you to @theonlinemom and #vzwbuzz for helping make our dream come true.


Follow us on Twitter: @alkisurfshop; Friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alkisurfshop or visit us at the store in Seattle, located at 2622 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116 near 59th and Alki Avenue SW. (206) 403.1901.

© Terri Nakamura Dashboard hula girl Alki Surf Shop Seattle

One of three dashboard hula girls you can find at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle.