Saturday, July 18, 2009

executive decisions....


**i have a huge order made, lots of it isnt christmas.....we are hoping for the normal 7 or 800 buyers to come for our yardsale in august.....should i have that order on the floor? yes...so it will sell faster, so they can see what we have for them for fall
no....they only have so much to spend and its better to sell old than new...

****where to advertize the sale radio what papers
***what to get new for the foofoo ...the amy butler idea is growing on me...some color!!! we have pink and the country colors....but the monotone isnt making it and im excited to try something new and fresh..
****should we go deeper into custom? so many ask for custom furniture,,but i know what a hassle it could be....and that time and hassle isnt figured in our low prices..... yes, we need every sale and the customers want it..

****should i reorder fairly good sellers or must get something completely new instead? thinking here mainly of my hearthside plates ...yes, because we get new people in all the time....no because the regulars need to see lots new all the time...???
***what are the staples in each of our categories? country, foo foo, modern indiana young homeowners..
*** what to bring home from the mall booths for the yardsale? all the duds.... half of the iron....its so wrong to have things at the malls that we are sold out of here....
what do you think?? what would you do?? how do you make these decisions??

this is definitely my busiest month... we were so busy today.... sold a lot...scary tho , lots of familiar faces arent here....im feeling bad about the economy....


our etsy....got lots more watches and keys to put on....its going pretty well.... http://www.gypsymarket.blogspot.com/


my social error of the day,...one of them... a customer came in and i said i got some flow blue for him....thinking he was coming behind her....she had to tell me they were split....

my smartest move of the year....hiring a really good seller...
sold today....a peace sign on a window,,,,a love shutter, a big chicago cabinet, lots of brackets and hooks, lots of windows, some flowers, frames, a big pile of jewelry,, lots of the cheap little stuff from the yardsales lately...
bought today a nice trunk, wire baskets, old watch dials, little chairs, china cabinet....lots more
our entrance is a wow,,with 3 or 4 big chicago cabinets over 1000$ and our good oak and our harvest tables and a counter usually...,new people are always suprised.... ,,,but we have tons of little stuff in lots of price ranges in other parts of the store.... which is real good too.... its a big job to keep the main entrance cleaned up....we all tend to plop on empty surfaces....and we are buying everyday...
work done today.. boxed up about 20 boxes for the yardsale, and hauled away to the building, priced everything from saturday, cleaned up the aisles, put out all the painted stuff, totes and shutter shelves, filled in the holes from what sold friday and saturday...
a big difference between us and boutiques...... we are aiming at a big target group.... trendy fun upscale homeowners....i think of a boutique is aiming at one style....we can change with the times....but still aim at the same group.... if your whole store is pink and the trend moves to amy butler colors or gothic french where are you? ..our store is big enough to have a broader aim....and one thing they like here is a very seperate part where one look can go extreme and wonderful....so if they hate foo foo they dont even go in there...we have a foo foo boutique and a key west boutique and a country boutique...and a garden boutique... etc etc
off to work!!
indy boutique talk...if you are hiring a 60 yr old to do something important for you...dont call her a shopgirl.....it would probably sound minimizing and condescending to a lot of us....... altho i know its not meant that way...like calling a black guy boy...
Fall .. we decided to put it out and some sold today....i guess the thoery is when the kids go back to school they think about fall....and our poor kids go back august ..... 6.....
the woman problem...im reading a lot on line about how hard a store is on your life...that doesnt sound like a concern most businessmen would have...... . ..most women do have to work....why should we, shopkeepers be so different than them? i would hope we could work at our stores and still have regular lives before and after..... lots of women work 8 hrs then take care of kids and the house.....
my husbands mom worked in a factory for years....she had a life there and friends there and a life at home....i wouldnt think it was a worse life because she worked ..she probably had pressures there too.....most women have to work these days....its not a choice....i couldnt stand working for anyone..this life seems much better....

16 comments:

Sharleen said...

Ann - so sorry I looked at your blog .....kept me way too long. It's wonderful and I will come back. So much to digest and somehow I WILL make it your way one day. Need to see how long a drive from Kansas City. Oh my! A bit overwhelming. How do you do it?

Thanks......Sharleen at Luticia Clementine's

Relics said...

Hi Ann,

How do you get it all???

I'm out every weekend, and I sure don't find as much as you do...... how do you do it?? Do you have pickers? Ads in the phonebook?

I'm simply amazed by you.
deb
:)
www.relics.typepad.com

ann at greenoak said...

i could buy twice as much if i had the money or space.....we go to auctions, especially jon....i have a couple of pickers , guys who work on a small margin and bring me big piles of antiques and misc from the auctions they go to... ..im not paying yardsale prices either.i pay more.....that would be too hard and i couldnt get enough that way....
buying privately isnt very good around here....not for the good stuff i want....they think 1960s is old....
then half our store is new...where you just order it...
also we build lots out of the windows doors and shutters and we have 3 crews of carpenters too for the big things........ i could easily fill up twice the space!!! and son jon is just as able!!!.we have to turn down stuff....especially furniture... and we have had to cut the carpenters back a little......
do you have any auctions where you are? can you find some good junk dealers who will sell it to you right....or how about going to the big fleas....i load up there ...at springfield ohio mainly....but i would love to go to kane county....
the customers like seeing something different every time...thats a good dreaw for us...
ann

The Whistle Stop said...

I too am amazed by you and your business. Our business is by event only, used to be full time years ago. And I still can't keep up. My husband and I work our "regular" jobs also. Probably the thing always holding us back is enough purchasing power. The Whistle Stop is a small building, 500 Sq. feet. I have always heard sq. feet = gross dollars. Although I think we do better than what one would think 500 sq. feet would do! I once told a local, larger, antique dealer called Black Horse Antiques, that when The Whistle Stop grows up it wanted to be a Black Horse Antiques. After 16 years we're still trying!
Keep up the good info. on your blog! It's enjoyable and helpful!!
Thanks,
Laurie :)

Miss Frivolity said...

Shopgirl is a fun trendy term popularized by "You've Got Mail".
:)

ann at greenoak said...

THANKS FRIVVY...im not pikky on that.,but i am from the womens lib generation....back when you were supposed to get married or be a secretary or nurse or teacher.......im getting so mellow in my old age, if a cute young girl calls me honey i dont even get snotty..if she ignores me i might go there!!.

.... i do think a big space ..if filled....would mean much bigger sales.... but i bet i would be rich if i could sell as much in 500 sq ft as you do laurie..... we probably do waste a lot of our space... WHEN WE STARTED WE HAD A BIG BUILDING EMPTY WITH A DIRT FLOOR.a tractor barn......IT HELD TONS OF FURNITURE IN THE ROUGH..which is and was so good in our field.....
i think the event thing or 3 days a month is great.....if you can get the building..

Relics said...

Hi Ann,

I'm very curious about your carpenters.... What a super duper idea...... how did you think of that???

How did you find them? Do you design the pieces on paper first, or these guys just super creative and come up with ideas themselves? Do these pieces still sell well? Or has the economy affected this business as well?

(Also, what do you pay them ?)

zinnia2004 said...

Ann,
had to take a peak at your blog. Oh My Goodness. What an enterprise you have going. I'm so proud when I find one little somethin' somethin' that may be able to be sold in the store. I almost hyper-ventilated just looking at the photos:) LOL I may have to make a Thelma & Louise trip to check it out. Saw some pieces I would love to have. Fly in and Drive back. What a hoot. Pam

ann at greenoak said...

deb, the carpenters make all the workshop furniture..... we have about 5 7 or 8 basic designs and have an agreed price, their price , and they make what i order every week.... its my design.....they made countryheart crap when we met...they came to me wanting work..and they are very reasonable.... a good thing was they had a big workshop , enough money to buy wood at wholesale, and were totally tired of trying to sell at shows... thats my main guys...the other crew is the amish...who jon networks with and goes to every week,they go by horse,,, they make the harvest tables and fix up the giant chicago cupboards, the other guy is so poor he wont buy wood...so we have to come up with totally recycled stuff!!! its the neatest stuff in a way....the big counters and window things....
its not great here now and i have had to cut back....but we still have work for all of them every week...
its all on an agreed price before they start..the main crew is 2 brothers and used to make about 800$ a week, lower now...we probably have 50 of their pieces most of the time...
we paint here...
its pretty neat....our big cupboards have been in mags and books.without credit,,owned by others, .and all over the place...our big cupboards are from $200 to $400...
our biz has 3 dedicated people dh me and son jon... so we can get a lot done...
zinnia....lots have done that trip...with a uhaul...or hiring a big truck.....not many lately tho...DANG...

Relics said...

Ann- I think someone should do documentary film about you and your place. You have an amazing operation going on.

You know, I've been buying and selling junk/decor/history for 20 years, first let me say, there are not many people like you left, most are long gone, the fact that you are still at it and thriving is so inspiring for me....

Thanks for all the information, I'm glad you take the time to share...

:)
deb
www.relics.typepad.com

ann at greenoak said...

thanks deb.lol......we are the oddball around here too, the malls replaced most of the old time antique shops around here....
im so worried now...when my business depends on a whole new crop of people...who i dont understand very well and who dont have the money my old customers had...plus its my hardworking sons full time employent and he has 4 boys and a wife...
thats why i listen to stores like feather your nest who i see being successful with the new homeowners...i wish my old recipe worked....but no...i need to reform into a source for my new customers...
the wonderful thing is lots of my new customerwses were drug into our store as girls by their moms....so they know im here anyway!!!.

Relics said...

Hi Ann-

Perhaps a lovely article for your local newspaper, would go something like... "old antique stores aren't what they used to be...."

"Not as much dusty and rusty these days, but fresh and colorful.... Amy Butler meets grandmas colorful afgans....." (we won't say the dust and rust are still there, they are just hiding in the back room)!!

Have you ever thought of doing an etsy/renegade craft fair out at your place??
You can rent spots, those events bring out LOTS and LOTS of 20 & 30 something creative girls, I've thought about doing that, but haven't tried it yet.

deb :)

ann at greenoak said...

deb....whats an etsy renegade craft fair? that sounds great.
...im not really sure enough local girsl would come.....most of my customers come from a ways away and just when it fits their schedule.....
ann

Relics said...

Hi Ann-

First you can Google image : "Renegade Craft Fair" to see what they look like.

When etsy first started, they sent out etsy teams to major cities, and started a new kind of craft fair, not like your moms or grandmas craft fair. Most sellers and shoppers are young (20-40 year olds) Most sell on etsy, some sell vintage and newly made things, some do all home made, some jewelry, some soap, some use old stuff to make new stuff. It's fun, fresh, young and very popular in some areas.

If you go to etsy, you can see how many things are made within 100 miles of you, then those are the crafters that you would invite to come, they send out their invites (mostly by email- free) You send out yours.... Who knows??? It might be a whole new group of young people, that don't even know that you are there...

They have even made a documentary movie about this new young craft movement called "handmade nation"

http://www.handmadenationmovie.com/

I'm been wanting to try something like this, but haven't done it yet. I'm not sure if you are to rural for this to work, but Green Oak, sounds like a great destination for an event like this!!

"Scheduled events" is the new name of the game for all of us I guess, and since I have been searching for ideas to bring a younger group in, this might be the thing I try next.

( I think the word "antique" scares young people away)

deb :)

ann at greenoak said...

deb, ive really been thinking about something like this too...especially after hearing how well abbys art thing went....you are right on the rural worry....but maybe i could put it with my garden party in may....when i get hundreds of people and the richer summer people....
i have wonderfully attended events.... and will share anything ...i sure suggest them to anybody....but think the key is to focus on something already on the customers mind....
thanks for the links....actually, i am an etsy seller.. mostly vintage parts for altered artists...but i dont know any others...maybe ishouild join the indiana etsy folks.....
www.gypsymarket.etsy.com
so good hearing your ideas...
ann

neilina said...
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