Planning for a new retail store allowed me to focus on branding and every aspect of retail psychology. Knowing where I was moving into was a huge help as well. We had plenty of time to plan and create fixtures for our new store. How did I do it?
Let’s just say, PINTEREST is your friend. I was able to pull data, pictures and ideas from Pinterest. You can create new boards that are secret and out of the public view. It helped me to focus on branding by creating a unified look with products that complimented each other. I added everything from store display arranging, fixtures and retail floorplans which is now called “Retail”. You can view my board here. PINTEREST
As we get ready to go back to the America’s Mart in January, I am going armed with more experience and motivation. Our first experience lead to cancellations because I agreed on product lines based on opinions from my sales rep. It was only half way through the design process I discovered some of those product lines were no good for us. This was a good learning experience and it was teaching me the importance of saying “NO”.
Once we opened our doors, everything fell into place. Some items were odd but we found them a home as well. I am drawing on my retail experience from my teenage years in retail, so it’s like learning on the job. The good thing is I already had a brand for my new store, so the other lines would have to fit with it. It was a matter of making everything cohesive.
So this brings to why I decided to write on this. Once I opened up my doors, I was flooded with requests from makers to carry their products in my new store. I had to kindly tell some folks that their product labeling did not fit in our store because it doesn’t fit within our brand. Yikes, one couple proceeded get angry with me because I didn’t like their packaging. Folks this was not personal, this was business. I am so sure their HONEY is good and I would totally fall in love with it but the packaging simply doesn’t fit in our store. How do you get that point across without hurting someone’s feelings? I was not mean or malicious, I just simply stated that their packaging was country and our store was urban. Besides we are not carrying food items anyhow. It plainly doesn’t fit our brand.
After about 2-3 months in business I can now see which items that are hits and others that are misses. A lot of planning doesn’t mean you get to rest. The next steps involve customer responses to our product lines and brand. Did they buy it? Why YES they DID!
I am proud to say that after a successful opening and a monumental holiday season we are thrilled to be once again focused product making and classes. So if you are interested in more of what I have to share please join me in my Soapmaking Business Weekend Jan 30-31.