In the first decade of my business, I was the only salesperson. I researched retailers all over the country that I thought would be a good match for college products, and off I went - driving, or flying to rent a car at my destination. All of this to connect with new customers for Eglomise Designs. I had already made my best effort to interest different professional representative in selling my college mirrors and pictures. Unfortunately, the idea of selling college memorabilia was novel, almost strange, at that time. Much of what was available was very inexpensive, perhaps poorly made plastic, key-chain type mementoes. Better college merchandise did not exist and most sales"reps" did not want try their hand with college merchandise. I became my own "rep" discovering different regions of the country, different accents and different diners. But after traveling from Maine to Florida I longed to discover the west coast, especially when I heard there was a cluster of charming towns north of San Fransisco that had groups of enchanting retail stores.
I bought a ticket to San Fransisco and was scheduled to arrive in the afternoon. As it was then and as it is now my plane was delayed until 10:00PM. I still had to rent a car, drive to that little region, and find a room. To this day I can't understand why I didn't reserve a hotel room in advance but I didn't. By midnight, I found myself crossing the Golden Gate bridge. I was alone as usual, it was pouring rain with a storm that I hadn't experienced before in New England. I was terrified. I could hardly see the road and desperately needed to rest. I spotted a hotel sign in the distance from the bridge and headed there. It was a sort of bed and breakfast and I knocked on the door. Hesitatingly a woman answered and let me in after I told her my story. Not too many women from Boston showed up at midnight asking for a room, but she must have decided to help and gave me a room.
When I think of that night I am once again reminded that I didn't have a cell phone. They weren’t invented yet. I was on my own, and couldn't call the police or get directions from my GPS. GPS hadn't been invented yet either. I had put myself in a risky situation, and managed to have it turn out OK. That first California trip was very exciting and the stores that I visited then continue to buy my college products to this day.