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Showing posts with label business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Vintage booths... the 3 shop experiment

In spite of the fact that I am walking with a cane.
In spite of the fact that my leg goes numb with little warning.
In spite of the fact that my physical therapist is going to be miffed...
I spent the last two days working on my booth(s).

I am downsizing. My friend and I are sharing her booth, which I feel is in a pretty prime location. The reason we are downsizing from each having big booths to sharing one is because we are diversifying. We have opened booths in a nearby city, and are opening in another high-end city in a few days.

We are already worried that the second location we chose has locked us into six months, and it might be a money losing proposition. We both sold items right out of the gate and did well in April, but I have not made my rent for May and the month is almost over. I am crossing my fingers that a large item sells this week, but I am not holding my breath.  Another vendor who has been around for a while told me that the last 3 years they have had steadily declining sales.

I have alot more hope for the next location as I could see all the purchasing when I was just inquiring and setting up my booth agreement.. it has been a mad-house every time.

I am not going to trash any of my booth locations, because I can see that demographics and location affect what sells where. I am just confused that things that sold well last year aren't flying out of the store this year... it is strange.

But from what I can tell, each booth needs a different strategy:

Booth 1-middle class area, but everyone seems to be bargain hunting: Since it is overall a discount store selling inexpensive furniture, mattresses and clearance art, and then renting booths, I think I need to keep all my items under $100.00.  Occasionally higher end items sell, but they are not as often as we would like. I believe the items I sell here should be things people can actually use, with some fun items sprinkled in. (Seems like items that sell the best here are clearance items... small end tables, picture frames, and throw pillows, but only when they are on sale. My friend sells dressers if she paints them brightly and keeps the price low.  She has also sold furniture items painted gray.) I have already mentioned how I hate never ending sales.

Booth 2- Mixture of low and middle class, and everyone seems to be looking to fulfill collections:
Even though it was touted as a place to sell the hand painted furniture that I am fully stocked in, it is clear that people who visit here like really unique and rare items.  So that means more time scouring garage sales (all my rusty drawer knobs and pulls have sold out, as well as my flip table and needlepoint chairs. My friend sold out all her African American black and white art from the 1990's)

Booth 3- upper class area, where we are told people want high-end looking items at reasonable prices: My friend and I are going to be sharing this booth and painting furniture in neutral colors. We are sticking to medium and small size pieces since we are starting small. We will be trying out the items we have overstocked in store 1 before sales slowed.  I will report back in sales after a month.

At the end of the summer, we will be looking at our results and making some decisions. Chances are one of the store will be dropped, and we will be able to create a game plan for the long winter months.

If you are a pro at this I will gladly take advice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vintage booth Vent

So, It has been about a year (and a couple of months) since I opened my Vintage Booth.  Initially,  things went very smoothly, with me easily making my rent and enough money to buy new things to sell.  Sure. I expected alot more, but my husband likes to remind me that the first year of a new venture is rarely profit making, so OK... By fall of my first year, about 6 months in, I was doing fantastically, and got a bigger booth, but then things began to fall apart. Right around election time, sales came to a screeching halt.

The staff told me:
~The election is distracting, it will pick up next month.
~The Halloween store is a distraction (temporarily next door), it will pick up next month
~Everyone is shopping for toys, it will pick up next month,
~It's winter, it will pick up next month.
~It always picks up in the Spring... next month.

Things are starting to get better, but I needed to see if this was the store (weird location in a dead-ish plaza) was the problem, or if this model itself is dying because people seem to be shying away from antiques and used furnishings, and etc.

So my friend and I who both have booths opened booths across town, a different town actually, and of course, everyone told me how much they make over there, but after signing up, for 6 months, and about 6 weeks in, we are having doubts.  Sure I sold stuff in this store that I hadn't sold in a full year in the last store. But, I finally got someone to tell me the truth that the vintage booth's traffic had declined over the last couple of years.  So since I am obligated to this very big vintage mall for a few months, I am testing it against my previous more intimate setting to compare and contrast.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Finally, and fortunately, a place that we tried to get into gave us a call.  A high-end boutique/design studio with booths that has to see what kind of work you do and approve you has green-lighted us and we are also taking a combined booth there... so that I why I now have 2 shared booth and 1 solo booth. But I feel real good about the third one I am about to open, as in the short times I was there talking to staff, I was in the way at the check-out counter.... I could not stand there are all.  At the other two places, one bigger, and one smaller, I could hang out for a while and chat. That is a great sign to me.

With that said, my biggest vent with my two current spaces, that the new space does not allow is this:


They drive me crazy. I price my items very carefully and have a formula I use every time.  Basically, I pass on my savings to the customer... If I get something way, way below value, I just do my same math, and let the customer have it reasonably below value... I DO NOT try to figure out the max amount I can sell something for and then put up clearance signs when I am desperate.  As things got tighter at my original vintage booth store, I noticed that 15% then 25% and then 40% signs are a fixture in many booths.  This means that people are going directly to those discount booths and skipping mine!!  I feel like these signs should only be up for holidays and come back down, as the booths with the signs up all the time are not only short-changing themselves, but they are stealing attention away from the other booths... Currently the booth to the right of mine put up a 25% off sign, and the attention to my booth immediately went down. I put up a sign as well. I am going to be talking to both store owners/staff about this. It really is quite unfair, in my estimation.  I have had someone tell me to raise my prices and then put up the signs, but I have a real problem with being deceiving.  My items will always be priced fairly and games will not be played. The staff can call me if someone wants to make a reasonable offer on something... but in a vintage mall, if one person puts up a discount sign and it becomes contagious, it drives down everyone else's prices.  That drives me crazy!

Ok, there are other vents, 
~like moving your items into my space... 
~Crowding the walkway around my booth with your extras
~Sitting on a chair in my booth (other vendors)
~Placing your small items on my freshly painted dressers (in my space or in over-flow space allowed by the store)
~Having a booth that just looks crappy, devaluing the value of the other booths

So in short, I really enjoy this business, and am looking forward to my new space that avoids MOST of the issues that gets under my skin. I will probably keep one of my other spaces as well... the one that performs best, and will use it to sell items that don't do well in the upscale booth.  I am rooting for my original location solely based on relationship. I like the people. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

You can never have too many pillows... or shirts

I just had to integrate my sewing skills into my HER Store, so I made pillows from dress shirts today.

Mens dress shirts make nice pillows for the bedroom as they are typically light weight and more delicate than you would think when transformed into a pillow.  I actually had more fun with women's dress shirts.  There were more textures and patterns, and the shirts had embellishments that lent to the design of the shirt.

Here's the project:

I used the ironing board for my cutting surface since the kitchen island is busy holding another project.

Here is my template. I used presentation board and  went ahead and made 2 sizes for future use.  I just measured a square and then curved the corners so the pillow would not have weak corners. 

I outlined my template with marker

I did all the cutting in one sitting.  Here are 9 pillows, cut and ready to go. 

Then I ironed. It was important to get the button placket flat so it would sew without bunching

To keep things flowing I just ironed one, put another on top, ironed it, and just kept going. 

I then ran them through the sewing machine.  8 of 9 had buttons somewhere on front, so I could sew all 4 sides.  Don't they look great

Here is the collection complete. I added embellishments and extra buttons where I thought it was needed. I have more pillow shams than I have pillow inserts... at least till tomorrow. 

Ps the pillows are slightly smaller than the sham to get that stuffed look I like. 

This former green shirt has this nice ruffle on it.  I was sure to cut it out and place it on the pillow where it belongs. I will be bringing them to the store in the morning. I got a call that a large piece of furniture sold, so I have to go move things around and close the hole... until I find something else got sell. 

On haggling and playing fair

Today was certainly a day that tested my patience. But first some background info.

I placed my first set of hand painted items in my HER Store today.  It took me all of Monday and some of Wednesday to prepare the items.  They are beautiful.  Good solid wood, and careful and meticulous painting... and not that trendy chalky stuff either. This paint job should last for years.

So, I staged the items, beautifully, I might add and as usual, the sales person said... "don't forget to do your social media" before I left.  So I did.  I did my Facebook page update.  I did an OfferUp ad. I placed a Craigslist Ad.

But lets back up a little.  I priced these items dirt cheap. A freshly painted dresser for $100.  A matching night stand for $35 and some accessories to make the set pop, also fairly priced.  But here's the thing.  I got several immediate responses.  They all wanted me to drop the price by 50%. My short answer was NO... ask me again in a month if the items have not sold.  If I had priced that dresser, for example at $50.00, then based on what I paid, plus the time spent, and commission to the store, I would walk away upside down.  Based on how many people have inquired, I am positive it will sell for full price.

Now, here's where it gets sticky.  Someone on Craigslist did offer to pay full price. but he wanted to bring a check to me, and not get it from the store.  I explained that for his protection and mine, I only sell through the brick and mortar store. This made him mad.  He proceeded to copy my ad, with the business address, and repost my dresser for $35.00.  What a jerk!  I noticed it pretty quickly as I have a habit of going back and viewing anything I write after maybe an hour. (This is from my years spent as a content writer.) So I go on Craigslist, and see the description of my items, with a cheaper price attached.  Thankfully, there was no photo.  In my description was the brick and mortar address, so my guess is that the goal was to get people to come to the store and offer $35 for the dresser and try to get the staff to honor the ad.... or just to harass them.

Ugh. I called the store. I contacted Craigslist. I replied to the ad.  (In the future I will not reveal the store address again until a deal is made.) The problem was fixed and the ad deleted, but it made me so mad... and wasted an hour from my life. I don't like to waste time.

Now this is only part of the problem, thought it was a sticky wicket.  I searched craigslist for white dresser.  I also searched OfferUp for white dressers.  Mine was one of few made of real solid wood, and the most cheaply priced.  Why, oh why would people want to undercut such a fair price?  Should I have doubled the price and then let them haggle? That would be unfair to list items for twice the price I had them in the store wouldn't it?

Even though my prices were firm, it seems to me that everyone is out for a bargain.  And I understand, I buy as much from Clearance as possible... I just wait for the items to go on clearance... I don't try to get items brand new to the store at clearance prices... it's kinda rude... especially when the item is high quality AND fairly priced.

I'd love to understand how to get people to value the price... is it to price higher and make it seem more valuable, or to trick them?  I'd hate that.

It reminds me of the days when I painted murals (before homeschooling)  If someone was paying me a couple thousand dollars to paint a room, I got no problem from them.  They valued my expertise.  If someone had received my services as a gift, or at a discount, they didn't trust my expertise and badgered me the whole time I was painting.  I fixed it by not giving discounts and discontinuing gift certificates.

Any ideas on how to create value so that folks don't try to rip me off? I'm all ears.

update: Oh wait... did someone just ask me to give this to them for FREE?  Yes they did.  Said "my son would enjoy it".  Mind blown! I need to be more .. I don't know... firm in my social media ads.  I just don't get it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I did a thing, and other happenings

The thing I did:  I rented a space at a store that sells contemporary furniture and has booths for antiques.  I wasn't thinking too clearly, because my opening date is the first of March, and I am supposed to be on a plane that same day. Once I realized that, they let are letting me set up early... but ... duh.

So I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, gathering my loot, getting it tagged, and pre-planning my booth.  If I can set an election up in 2 hours, and supervise the set up of 6 precincts, then  I can set up a 10X10 sq ft (actually, it is more like a 12X12 divided by two triangle)   done pretty quickly, right??

Oh, I am also having a fundraiser at my house this weekend, but no stress, right? Oh and painters come in the morning, and I am still awake.

The photo above is a preview shot of the theme of my shop... this kind of thing, that I craft up, and vintage 1950 and 1960 furniture and stuff... it's my aesthetic and its also popular, so...

I have also scored a good number of chairs that are actually from the 50's, and I am editing my house and getting rid of some clutter... fold that all in to start with.  I have a lot of Mediterranean stuff from 2003 when I first bought my house, and I will start with that so as not to dig myself into a whole I can't get out if.

Other happenings....

Looks like the girl will graduate from college a semester early (or at least finish early and go back to graduate)... I'm trying to get her to take her time and enjoy the process... but it's her personality to go for broke.

The boy will finish after Summer School and go back for graduation in January.

I'm realizing that my empty nest is about to repopulate... not sure how I feel about that.  I know hubby has no problem with them hanging around a couple more years... but I don't intend to be cooking and doing laundry.  Just saying'.

oh.. and I listed some items on etsy ... more to come. link here 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Am I homeschooling or am I working

My daughter wants to learn to sew correctly.  She technically knows how to sew and use the sewing machine but she skips steps and makes mistakes.  As usual, I surfed the internet for instructional videos for her to watch, but it dawned on me that she can't be the only homeschooler looking to learn these things... so I put it all in a Squidoo page (a site where you earn commission from people viewing and buying things from your page.

I can't tell you how many tutorials I have done for her, then turned around and did my website work separately.  Why did it take me so long to figure out that I could homeschool at work at the same time. 

Well, I guess I have a whole lot of material to get uploaded to websites... and from now on, as I create a program for her, I will be sharing it.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Are you teaching entrepeneurship?

I have mentioned before that entrepeneurship should be part of any homeschooling program. Like I tell my kids, a job is great, but the only purpose of a job in these days and times is as a learning experience on your way to something greater. No one is ever going to give you anything in the workforce, and you should not expect them to. It is much better to make your own way. For this reason, entrepeneurship is a great way to give a homeschooler a headstart in the real world.

Young entrpeneurship from lemonaide stands to lawm mowing to babysitting in the neighborhood should be encouraged and supported. As kids outgrow these simple, lower paying endeavors and look for more lucrative options, parents should be looking for ways to continue to feed thier entrepeneural spirit and help them take their endeavors to the next level.

The Kaufmann Foundation is a great website to explore with your children and students. At this website, you will find All Terrain Brain which is a multimedia project designed to get 8-12 year olds to tap into their entrepenurial sprirts. There is also Entrepneurship Week USA which works to help people understand the importance of being entrepenerial. Hot Shot Business is also an online simulation game that allows boys and girls to run a mock business online.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cool Homeschooled Kid gets an Early Start in Business

I have been trying to impress on my kids for some while the importance of starting businesses at very young ages. In fact, it is my desire for my kids to have businesses started and running before they graduate from homeschool high.

Here is the story of one kid who is well on her way:

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