Don’t be fooled: Sally Caple-Diguette may be tiny, but she is the muscle that helps keep the gears turning at Citizen Supply. Inventory Manager, student, and creative entrepreneur herself (she and her wife run their own small business together- Highland Lab!), she is the jane-of-all-trades. We asked her some questions so you can get to know her better, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse of her outside of the inventory closet you can stop by the shop to give her a highfive yourself.
What is your role at Citizen Supply?
I am the Operations Manager and Inventory Director for the company. I have been here since we opened in 2015 and have moved through many different areas throughout my time here. As the inventory director side of my job, I currently handle scheduling shipments, processing, tracking, monthly reporting, and move-out of merchandise from our 120 (give or take) vendors in the store. I ship all the e-commerce packages (if you've ordered something from our website, hey! and thank you!) and work closely with the store manager Ashlan to send off special orders that our customers seek out. Pairing that with the operations side of my job, where I handle various administrative functions such as contract copy, staff scheduling, and assist in our vendor relationship management. I work closely with both our owners*, Mattie and Phil, to keep the day-to-day of our store running smoothly!
*this also includes receiving memes via Slack from my boss almost daily.
How many items do you think you've counted into inventory since you've worked here?
We're a large store (coming in at about 12,000 square feet). I receive an average of 10,000 items a month to try to keep that space full! I've been here since November 2015, which puts me right around 15 months, so about 150,000 items during that time. That number sounds kind of small to me compared to the piles of boxes that sometimes live in my office, but I'll trust my math. Although I am not the only one physically counting and handling the merchandise anymore (thank goodness for my helper, Samar!), it's still a whole lot of stuff.
What is the culture in a start-up retail environment like?
From day one, I walked into this place feeling enthralled by the message and purpose of the store, which I think you must feel for the start-up you're working within or it just won't pan out. Start-ups are HARD WORK, to put it nicely. There have been many days, weeks, and months when I have worked well beyond what the "appropriate" working hours are for most Americans, but I did so by my own free will. In order to thrive in a start-up like ours, you have to be a problem solver, a self starter, and a very empathetic human.
Our culture is tight knit, chaotic, exciting, and exhausting all rolled up into one. We have a small team where everyone pulls more than their own weight, and bosses that will ask a lot of you, but simultaneously want to respect your time and personal space.
If I had to choose whether or not to sign on to help start this start-up again, I'd say yes every time.
Who are some of your favorite makers & why?
This almost feels like a bit of a trick question! Ha! I work really closely will all of our vendors, from before their product even hits our floor, so I feel connected to each and every one of them.
If I had to choose my top five, this is who they are and why:
1. MINNA GOODS - I've been a long time lover of Minna Goods, run by Sara Berks. She is a textile artist, as I am myself, which drew my initial interest to her brand. I found her on Instagram one day about 2 years ago and immediately fell in love with her style. She's also a pretty sweet human, so that helps too!
2. BE GOOD - Bryanna makes super simple, dainty jewels, which are the only kind I like. She is at Atlanta lady, and we actually used to work together, so I know her pretty well. She does a great job producing really beautiful, really simple jewelry. We carry a line of her earrings and bun pins in the store, but she has a bunch of other goodies as well.
3. COMMUNITY SERVICE - Based in Athens, Community Service brings us reworked clothing. I love this concept, since throwing away clothes is never a good use of items you don't want to wear anymore. Sanni reimagines basics she sources and turns them into clothing the Atlanta Hipsters of today love (think denim cut-offs and velvet mini skirts).
4. MICUSH - This is one of our newer vendors, but I fell in love with her items when I first opened the box. I snagged a print to hang above my desk for some pink + plant inspiration when I'm working from home. Michal is not only one of our newer vendors, she is also one of our farthest, shipping to us from Israel!
5. CAMPFIRE STUDIO - who doesn't love a good planter for their tiny plant babies? Kristen from Campfire Studio provides us with the cutest, tiniest marbled planters, along with some other really amazing marbled ceramics. Her mugs are beautiful, shape and all. There are definitely worth checking out.