So You Want To Open A Store?6:00 PM
Or as I think of it - Ongoing Saga Of CrazyPants!
Note - I'm committed to publishing CrazyPants stuff on Mondays, let's see if you like it!
I think it's my fault, the fact that so many of you want to open a store. It's crazy how many people on a DAILY basis ask me about opening a store. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE owning my own store.
In fact I have ideas for two more stores.
I just don't have enough time..... Yet.
I thought I would occasionally share (because of time issues😜) topics related to owning my own store. Not to scare you, but rather to clarify how crazy, wonderful, exhausting, mind-numbing, exhilarating, balancing, and perfect owning a store can be.....
This isn't for the faint of heart.
Seriously, read on only if you are ready!
Let's start with a List of Hats required -
Inspirer- Even if your store is a One-Man/Woman show you have to inspire yourself & customers daily. Everyday. I mean it! Everyday you have to wake up and be excited about what you're doing. If you aren't on your A-Game, your customers will know. Trust me some days are harder than others and my customers could sense this and didn't want to shop.
Think about it, you want to shop in stores where the people are happy, engaged, and having fun. If I walk into a store where the workers/owners are whispering or sitting around, I usually can't find anything I want. I leave.
Organizer - You are responsible for organizing EVERYTHING. This means EVERYTHING. Seriously. There are very few things worse than opening a box of the cutest bunnies and chicks for Easter, on Forth-of-July. That's just wasted merchandise which translates to wasted dollars.
You also must organize your orders, inventory, seasonal vs. everyday, display pieces, supplies, and that's not even talking about paperwork!
I have a 3-car warehouse that I constantly clean, re-organize, and re-prioritize. I also have a 20x20 storage unit, and yet I currently have over 400 as-yet-unpacked boxes of seasonal merchandise in my Livingroom/entry/hallway.
Visual Merchandiser - You are responsible for every display. Even if you hire someone to create all your displays. The final checkpoint is you.
I LOVE creating new looks, moving everything around, bringing in new stuff. I live for customers coming in and catching their breath. It inspires me for the next display. It's so rewarding when someone comes into the store right after I've struggled with the 'perfect' display for a piece, and they buy it!
Guess what? You then have to create another display. No wasted time, space, money.
Marketing - Luckily today there are a lot of free and relatively low-priced marketing options. Including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Website, Blogging 😀, Pinterist, and Yelp. Unfortunately free doesn't translate to effortless! They just take up time.
I try to update Facebook and Instagram daily. The Blog and Pinterist get updated 3-5 times a week, and I had to hire someone to update the website. I spend an hour every morning and two hours every Monday, on just electronic marketing.
Because I am really an ordinary human, I regularly get messages from Facebook and Pinterist that my 'followers' want more....seriously.
Book-Keeper - Lets start with - it is very important to understand all the Taxable vs. Non-Taxable rules. You must also track all purchases, sales, and custom jobs. Because all of my furniture comes second-hand (garage sales, estate sales, pickers, goodwill, hospice, etc), I must keep very accurate records.
There's also the credit card receipts, invoices, statements, and purchase orders.
I used to balance the books once a month, now I'm doing it once a quarter. It takes a lot of time to do this, AND I have a tax guy. Crazy.
Heavy-Lifter - This is not just physically lifting and moving merchandise around, trust me you do that a LOT! You are also responsible for morally, ethically, and positively lifting everyone in the store. This probably sounds a little pretentious. Think about it, if you bought a table from a boutique store, and the paint lifted off. Wouldn't you be so disappointed? So upset?
Would you buy something from that store again?
When people buy something from your store/you, they are buying the 'experience' of your store. They are taking a piece of your store home.
Take a moment and look around your house. Remember where you got that table? Sofa? Rug?
The memories we associate with our stuff start with where it came from.
Psychic - There are two major Home & Gift Shows a year across the country. January and July. In January you're buying Christmas for the following December. To be shipped starting June. Crazy.
This requires you to be aware enough to determine if a trend is going to last, pick your colors, styles, and quantities. It is very difficult to re-order items when the actual season is here. You have to know in advance. Every decision is critical with the budget of a boutique.
I think that's enough for today.
See you next Monday.... if you're not already scared off!