PART ONE - SETTING THE SCENE When I was new to Boston (nearly 30 years ago), I wanted a Massachusetts Avenue address - and then a "foot" in the Back Bay. All towns have their "it locations" - and I've lived and worked (specifically?had shops) in a few: Harvard Square & Newbury Street, to be specific.
Now in a region - or country - there are also "it locations," where "everything" seems to happen...and New York City is one of them...not just for New England, but for the U.S. (and the world as a whole, for that matter). So whenever I go to "The City" (and I've been many times), I brace myself for the best and the worst life has to offer. Nothing can prepare you for what really happens. One thing I'm always reminded about is?how well dressed (and clean)?people stand out from the?otherwise squalid environment?of urban gloom and grime-covered pavements. It's like everyone is living on an old movie set that was abandoned by the folks who'd built it, years ago. Of course, there's new construction and opulence, but the primary feel is one of human overgrowth and decay, kept vital by new blood and throngs of people (from all walks).
Into that "milieu" - and during a dreary, snowy day - I arrived, by bus this time, because I wanted a change from the mammoth undertaking of transporting a whole Expo display, loading in, setting up, interfacing with a relentless flow of onlookers, and later breaking down...only?to make the long drive home (in the middle of the night). I wanted to travel light, so everything had to fit into a backpack and a miniature-sized, rolling suitcase. This time I'd be doing "Crystal Readings & Wellness Sessions," which is how?I'd billed my Healer offerings for the Awaken Fair (their 2nd time in New York, and my first, with them). I've worked with a lot on individuals - for 60-90 minute minimums - but here I'd be doing 15-30 minute sessions. It's like "speed dating" for the New Age. But I surprised myself - adapted really well to the format - and I actually like it. You really can make a difference in someone's life in just a quarter of an hour...by transporting them inward, and forward...and lending them some concrete (or stone, in this case) tools that serve to?push their process forward.
I wasn't selling anything (but my services) - and because I was being nomadic?- I needed to bring the best, but the smallest, of all the key stone varieties I have. On retrospect, I could probably have made due with fewer stones?- but I wanted the full gamut, to have all my?options open?- plus,?it filled the table nicely. I've collected a good number of emails from my last to forays to New York - and a smattering of Facebook?and?other, longer term contacts - so I?reached out...saying "I'm coming"...and encouraging folks to pre-book. I even contacted a fellow Crystal worker , and asked if she?could find me a "gig" - and she did(!) - with a shop on 14th Street (Aum Namaste). The owner there was impressed with my credentials & web presence, and booked me for a few hours that Saturday (before the main event, which I'd originally come for, on Sunday). It turns out that?I ended up working with a comparable number of people (say, a half dozen each) -?both days?-?including some work on other practitioners (which is always a treat).
I won't get into the particulars - or my technique - I think I lay that out pretty well?on my Services page (on this site)...check that out for some more background...or shoot me any?questions you may have?. PART TWO: THE SHOPPING What's a trip to New York without some shopping! Before I got lucky with that Saturday booking - and knowing there was no way I could bus down there first thing on Sunday (I would have had to have left by 4am!) ?- I decided to make the journey early on Saturday (at the more civilized hour of 9am), so I could "have a look around" during the day. I secured a place to stay with some friends - we've been meaning to connect for awhile - so thank you Arthur and Lisa...we had some great quality time that night, and first thing Sunday morning.
But there were some places - looming legends - I had to check out. I'd heard customers make mention of them, and had to see for them for myself, to learn what the excitement was all about. So I walked from 31st St. to 28 St., to Rockstar Crystals - or actually, I walked by it - 'cause there was no store front! I realized they were upstairs, and walked by the door guy (who greeted me, asking where I was headed), and took the elevator up (one floor). Tremendous splendors awaited me behind the bolted, buzzer'd door. It's only one room, and not a very big one at that. I introduced myself immediately to the "boss on duty" (she had a younger woman assistant, too) - taking out my card - and inquiring as to whether they do wholesale. "No," she was curt, didn't even take my card. "Well you just blew that" I said to myself, vowing to look, but refusing to?buy.
It?shouldn't be?that hard to be nice to people - but in New York, everyone's bracing for offence - and studiously unimpressed with whomever you are. So I proceeded to look around, rebuffing her handing me a tray (since I wasn't going to purchase anyway). We later, connected, on some level...but it seemed like "the damage had been done." The prices wowed me - many of them higher than mine - and as I often experience among others' retail wares, I found myself wondering "why should this be so much, and that so relatively less?" I have a strong, internal logic in?my own pricing.?If a tag's high, there's got to be a good reason. And I can explain it. But then again, I'm not "just an employee" - I've been the one selecting every one of my?pieces - and I've also been around?this stuff for 28 years! Most people price merely as an equation of what they paid, using a standard percentage markup. I think that lacks imagination (but maybe makes up for it in practicality). Being into the metaphysics of what I'm selling, it's not as simple as that. Crystals aren't just a commodity, an object to be "moved," like tennis shoes, or a jar of beans.
"How harmonious is the shape, color, texture - does it stand - are there others out there like it? Can I replace it easily?" These are the types of questions I ask myself. "Would I be willing to part with this for less?" Anyhow, and conversely - "could I sell this if I bought it for this much?" - the shoe was on the other foot. I had to wonder if the prices I was looking at could work for my customers. Still, I often buy retail (yes, with sales tax!). If a stone is awesome enough?-?even if it's expensive, I'll buy it anyway - I'm "omnivorous" like that. I consider myself an archive of Power Stones - collecting the best I can find?for my classes and private work - it's an added value to my Inner Circle. Which doesn't mean I don't have exceptional stones for sale too - I certainly do - 'cause I "know" (that inner knowing), that not everything is meant for me. I have to be a conduit - not just a repository - for awesomeness. To that end, I have a new webinar series I'm starting, it's called "Why it's Awesome!" But I digress.
Rock Star is completely and utterly replete with inventory - rolling drawers, bins and trays?-?even acrylic cases bolted to the ubiquitous metal shelving units. I'm just now forgettings something heavy I'd wanted to get (chunks of blue Quartz). I was totally wowed by the sheer volume of Rhodochrosite - more in one place than I'd ever seen - but no "must have" pieces. I could go on, but you get the idea. Still, I did manage to overcome my resistance to spending, and put together a modest collection (augmented by New York's healthy, nearly 9% sales tax). A deep, semi-gemmy Apatite heart, and a perfect pigeon-blood Ruby crystal (ideal on the 3rd eye) came home with me (along with a few other items). I do shop with?certain customers in mind, bringing their?interests with me on these capers.
Then I walked uptown - a good little distance (the city blocks aren't short) - to 5th Avenue, where the upscale Astro Gallery of Gems has been since 1961. What a breath of fresh air, relative to the ubiquitous $1 pebble bins of most vendors' crystal displays! ?It's great to see people valuing their showcasing opportunity?(and their specimens) so highly. Yes - not all crystals cost nothing, and yes - many of them are worth more than cars.
They've got everything from a Lapis table top at 20K to a good selection of high end jewelry. Some of the staff knows more than others, but that's true anywhere. And they were all nice - polite - and professional (even friendly, imagine that!). We got into some intrigue around the pricing of a Sugilite - there was a mixup in cost calculation, and the?weight was not measured correctly, at first ?- but the boss on duty made good?(to the best of his ability), and we had some vigorous banter about the behind-the-glass museum pieces (of which there were many!). I ended up getting a bigger batch than I had at the other place - niceness pays off - and have had them mail it to me. They even gave me subway directions and ran after me, after they'd forgotten to give me my credit card. It felt good to be well received. A bit of good will goes a long way - from customer to seller - and vice versa.
A new acquaintance can grow into a trusted contact, when it becomes clear that everyone knows what's going on, and you're willing to meet them halfway. TROUBLE AHEAD - LEARNING OPPORTUNITY