Thursday, December 16, 2010

christmas folder

my main job right now is to write down all my december observations....we are pretty well thru the season now and the buyers have made their judgement of all our choices!!! and i want to remember how it was ... ... next spring and summer when we have to prepare for this season most of the details will be a big blur...for me anyway...
so im all about making lists...
#best sellers....and worst
#what we are stuck with
#what we sold out of
#best displays and lots of display notes from all the parts of the store.
#best price ranges for ornaments and whatever...
#event notes
#what companies couldnt deliver what i ordered
# best and worst stuff by company...
THIS SOUNDs SO EASY AND BASIC....but boy in november when we face all these issues and how to present everything and i pull this list out its wonderfully helpful....the more details the better....the more pictures the better.....
and same goes for helping in the midst of ordering...the list will tell me where the best snowman came from...and what i forgot to get enough of from another company..... too many of my favorite things are too high for the store....
this year i think i will have a survey and try and get all of our ideas in to my christmas folder....
this has helped me every year

THE OTHER PART OF MY CHRISTMAS FOLDER IS all the info from our big openhouse..... what we did and what worked and how we did the emails and facebook and snail mail....with lots of pictures and copies of the ads and postcards....also the numbers from the days,,,

tekk talk.....


I LOVE MOST OF THE THINGS THE INTERNET HAS BROUGHT OUR BUSINESS....ESPECIALLY CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY....BUT IT SURE HAS ITS CHALLENGES....

we are totally early adopters.. luckily dh makes it work............
my biggest thrill was back when vcrs could catch my soap if i got a customer....
my total headache is that i cant grasp any universality, in how things work now....if there is any....hardly any of it makes sense to me..... i have maybe 15 phones in my life and even they work different.some you dial 1 some not, the finding recall number is all different.....i cant even turn on the radio/ cd player right..he got the best with about 20 buttons,,,,...now , in the car i have sirus radio and at home pandora and cant manage my dream screen...
i love roku and netflix...i dont text or twitter,


i make business advances and leaps by pen,not on the computer ... as in lists, mind mapping, doodling, drawing or conversation., by talking to real people altho maybe on the internet...especially on forums with like minded folks..like our http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/
surfing the internet is part of my job ,,,a super fun part imho, ..i love seeing the junk world, the industrial world, the boutique frenchy world, and so many niches in between these...
in our world of business ~~~~we had website early, blog early , ebay early, email contact with customers early..facebook early.... its been good for us....
so to all the developers out there...i want it easier and i want everything..

i think our store benefits a lot from the Internet....
right now im trying to learn facebook...here we are..http://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GREENOAKANTIQUES and i would love to find a coach to help me master word and some picture programs ...i knowif i could do those better our blog and site would be better and instore signs etc too....

i need an upgrade on my skills!!! if we could only buy one and plug it into our heads!!!! this is all hard imho...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

FACEBOOK


we area really getting our facebook going right now.....
i think 3 things are working well for us ...things that i cant take credit for...... 1, demographics,our fANS are mostly women who like our store in real life are already heavy into facebook.im trying to join them as much as they are joining me...... 2, being local, which means im working with mostly people connected with me in some way already...3.and i have the kind of thing they are already happily buying..
also they like style and seeing pictures....and green oak is about the nice side of life....not hard stuff like work or the dentist....
.. facebook is probably a real natural for our store...i wouldnt think it would work that well for every business.... especially one with mainly men...or online marketers....they would be in a lot bigger group than me... there must be hundreds of online marketers out there....

guys over 50, maybe 40 mainly think facebook is for seeing what your friends had for breakfast.....in my HUMBLE opinion...
BUT FOR US ITS BEEN A GOOD THING...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WHATS WORKING....




YOU KNOW im always a student of small stores....and i wanted to share a couple of things ive seen working this year.... stores ive seen who are still going strong or even stronger in this economy...



THE FURNITURE STORE....this creative gal has made a section for consignment furniture in her fancy furniture store...shes tough!!! 50% comission, the people have to submit a picture and make an appointment...then if she accepts the piece it has 3 months to sell then its hers...she can send it to good will or sell it for 10$$$...its doing great and causing her good buzz...i figure thats due toher high standsards...



THE ONCE A MONTH FLEA.... i read about this one on my cyber buddy's blog , http://www.hogsandroses.blogspot.com/ i follow his adventures and it seems like its working great..its a big monthly flea market....and it gets great stuff...and they dont have to be there all week every week....it seems to be several dealers... and looks like its working out real well...i wish i could go to it......



A DISCOUNT MERCANTILE..... this place is a big country store,, they are big and hunt down overstocks and box lots...good ones, like from big name companies....where they might have to drive to their warehouse and buy 100 boxes to get the price...and resells....they also drive clear down to Laredo Texas to get the good price on garden iron and the wild yard art the Mexicans are selling down there...like our roosters.... they are doing great and buy our cupboards and tables...they cover several different styles ...which if you have the room is imho a great idea...


we sell to a few upscale boutiques and most of the word i hear from them is pretty scary....






GIRLY ACCESSORIES.... this seems to be the biggest thing this year...selling jewelry and scarves is saving lots of stores....we didn't go that way...thinking we couldn't handle it right... but its been great for sooooooo many stores.... ...




the stores ive seen who fell down this year are mainly narrow nichey or upscale boutiques.... too high, too narrow, too much competition, when primitives by kathy has glass slide collage necklaces for 5$ wholesale its pretty hard to keep getting 30$ for them...i just dont know about it....being famous or the new look in the mags at super high prices doesnt seem to relate to business survival....and pity the ones who follow in the same path..and some retailers who have closed are now consulting....but who would really pay for consulting with someone who couldnt keep their store afloat or even make minimum wage ? ....if we are talking about business it has to be about the money...






the MOST HELPFUL COMMENT i got this year was from an emergency helper who also has a beauty shop...she helped us for Christmas, she did the biggest display for our openhouse.....shes about 30 miles away ...i asked her if her customers said anything about our store...she said yes...and i said what do they like?....she said....that they can find things no one else has, the prices, and that isnt just what the owner likes....i took that as referring to us having several styles presented at the same time...that comment helped me focus and see our good things...



Friday, July 2, 2010

SUMMER AT THE STORE

ITS SUMMER AND EVERYONE LOVES THE OUTSIDE STUFF...THEY ARE DIGGING IN THE REMOTEST PILES IN THE PARKING LOT.... GOING THRU THE AWNING.... FINDING THINGS FOR THEIR GARDENS PORCHES AND PATIOS.... DODGING THE DANG WRENS WHO ARE NESTING IN THE INVENTORY....
GOTTA LOVE IT....

orphan ideas

  1. take a busload of people to a big flea market
  2. write an ebook on running a store and or rehabbing furniture
  3. learn the tekk parts of my job better
  4. buy a container from england like we used to
  5. take a trip out east with a semi 2 big guys and 50,000$$$$ and see dutch rose and brimfield and just shop till i drop
  6. build a decades museum
  7. a new shop with natural stone walls and a turret and a lot bigger
  8. find a good picker
  9. open a new storein plymouth or warsaw....i think it would work!!!!
  10. take a month off and just go to shows ...maybe to sell but mainly to get great things for the store..

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

how to stay open......






















i thought this might be a nice subject.....








since staying open and viable is our goal...... i definitely want this to keep on working....
and we can all look around snd see lots of shops new and old closing up their doors....so much is working against us small shops...we have competition from internet, big box stores, the companies we buy from...grrr,,,,ebay ...etc etc... ....our store has survived thru all kinds of outside and inside problems.......including the imploding of the antique business.....and being in a really poor state in a crappy economy....we aCTUALLY MAKE MONEY HERE!!! YAY!!! and wish we had a way to make even more or help other stores make more with whaT WE WHOLESALE.... ANYWAY heres how i think we did it...and are still doing it...




``````in a nutshell heres our recipe




try and give a good deal/value/price to your customers...thats probably why they come back and thats why they give you good buzz...its not that we are cheap or bottom feeding...but most of what we sell is really worth the money ..




pay attention to your customers....if you have something for a long time that means they didnt like it....try not to bore your customers....or have things they like that they cant afford...or what they just saw in hobby lobby....
if i see a lotof interested in something i go for it!!!
if i really like something and they dont i just have to get rid of it and move on...



be timely.....try and have what they are looking for at the time....garden items in spring, pumpkins in fall etc etc, plasma tv stands for their living rooms..computer desks for their computers...and a fun christmas season in the early early fall..
bloom where you are planted....consider the circle around your store and the people in it who might consider buying from you...i call this my target customers...for me its homeowners...adventurous, fashionable trendy, outside the box people who love their homes and want to make them just right....i love the ones without budgets!!!! who can go wild on a whim.... but i really depend on the big middle income group of people too...
if i really got interested in say nautical ...well that would be bad and probably a waste of time ......im in corn country...so i have to keep that in mind too...




go a little wild and unexpected and outside the box......the great buyers out there are very jaded and can shop anywhere...so you need to have something to wow them a little....when possible...our customers know its never the same here...always something different.... when they walk up to the door they see a 24 ft robot...with a baby robot hanging on.... that is kind of a sign that they arent walking into a hallmark!!!!
inside i have nice furniture but also fun stuff...like a rolling antique casket rack...aka a church truck!!!




just say no....dont get tied up in custom orders, layaways, or giving credit....... so many reasons and ways to go bad on this.... i realize the modern person is used to llbean and zappos...i cant do that speed or accuracy...im very happy to be as is where is and with everything either sold and paid for or for sale...makes my life easier...




do the math....how much do you have to sell to make what you want to make?....do you have the inventory to achieve this?




build it and they will come....doesnt work...see my very cool steampunk signs.they are great imho..but not selling here...they just dont fit...we need to have something they want and need....i like funky hand made furniture from the 1870s... i make my best money on painted black furniture from the 1930s...i cant go where my real taste is....well i could if i didnt need to make a living.....
i hear a lot of internet talk about doing your thing and getting people to find you...thats really hard for brick and mortar.... its ok if they are really out there...too often they arent ....
my idea is usually more like figuring out what the neat adventurous buyers are wanting now.... we are getting so many young families in.....they like our prices and many have come in with their moms when they were little...so my job is to figure out what they think is cool... what they want in their houses


build on what works....dont try and educate your customers...get educated on them.... they dont have to GET YOU...YOU HAVE TO get them....




be known for something.... for us its huge inventory and all the cool rehabbed and recycled things.... we stand out in that way.... why would someone drive an hour to see you? ..then, if you are lucky enough to find something they like and you are good at....GO WHOLE HOG




the safest place is good quality and style at a reasonable price..upscale style and a midscale price....... that is a winning situation...especially in our area...but believe me rich people like good quality at a reasonable price too.....
big events..big repeating events...ours are major and crucial to our years numbers..... each one of the 4 has a theme....its about the same every year....and our hope is always that its interesting enough to bring in the customers..... last weekend we had about 900 people thru.....
use that database....




work work work.....improve all the time....make it better and better...add value to something... work on displays....




pay yourself..



find a role model.... find a store out there that is making money and study it.... country business publishes stories on successful stores sometimes....why copy a gorgeous store thats going under? doesnt make sense...i love seeing a big going store and always try and figure out how they do it......




.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

display.....






we got mentioned on a neat retail blog..she liked one of our displays..the demdaco canvas art .....one figured out by jon and i, using old dog eared fence and a bench.........see here http://www.swirlmarketing.com/blog/retaildetails/


when we started our business we had really great stuff coming in weekly... and sold it from our truck in the driveway or on the dirt floor of our old Quonset building or in our 700 sq ft shop......really great antiques... with no display at all....our antique buyers definitely looked look at the thing not the presentation.... so for about the first 10 yrs or so display was nothing....
we were in the trends of course....country living set the tone for our business and we supplied all kinds of antique furniture and smalls to the dealers who did the shows and sold to the public...we were about 90% wholesale back then..................................

NOW we are about 70% retail and display is crucial....SO IM ALL ABOUT DISPLAY NOW.....AND THE BETTER WE DO THE BETTER IT SELLS...altho our customers do still like a big pile out in the driveway ...just off the truck....

SO, THINKING ABOUT DISPLAY , HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I GO ON....
...FIRST GOAL.....the wow ....... meaning having the area when you first come in be great....thats where we put all our best most expensive furniture....the harvest tables and the big 2000$ cabinets...and we try not to trash it up with smalls....
....birds of a feather flock together.......here we have several categories and give them their own space and color pallet.......country, foo foo,the black section, key west/lake... white frenchy, good antiques, garden ...etc etc....that way if you hate painted furniture you dont even go into that section...

garden iron inside....we use big garden arbors./arches in several places.....they work so well and are very versatile.... and they always make a focal point, they are so nice and big....you can walk thru them or put a table under them and use the sides top and middle....we do one with garland and wreaths with a table under and country signs on it....the back side is more signs...the other one we use is full of hanging chimes and matching garden stakes...., its against a wall...often we have used one for an entrance to another section....
another great garden thing are the big wire trees...they are about 6 ft tall and 5 ft wide at the top.with lots of branches... we sell them for gardens for about 200$ retail.....great for anything that hangs, but they take major room....
recycle recycle recycle.....we use all kinds of doors and windows and farm junk to make our displays.... i really hate commercial plastic or particle board units....they just look cheesy..... we dont want to look like walmart or hallmark...im so jealous of old navy...who can manage a full size junky antique truck for their displays... we make displays too...out of big old doors and windows... kind of like giant potting benches..we make and use salvaged counters/islands/cash wraps a lot too... .. these big architectural displays are in several famous places and in the gift shows belonging to our wholesale customers......but without credit...ha ha...i dont care tho...if youve been to the store you recognize them for sure...
also i think a lot about eye level.and like to have the best things right there.....and realize hardly anything will sell below knee level.... i also consider how easy it is to grab something...you cant expect your customers to dismantle a display to get something....
i love displaying and dont mind at all when something big sells...it gives us a chance to mix things us and make something new and fresh...
now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT....
THE QUESTION WAS , WHAT IN YOUR NORMAL DAY? im on a business forum and here was my answer...

i cant talk before coffee....i need it strong and have to have it quiet for about an hour, mostly on the computer...then the garden or back porch..small huddle with dh....then out to it....coffee all day and on my feet all day...no sitting ever.... im out there 10 to 5.... music is a compromise...i like it fast and perky...no dreary female vocals ... which dh likes.....and hes the only one who can change the machine.... also i like it loud but we dont do that either.... i would put marching music and polkas on for the fun of it ..or who let the dogs out.... i talk all day and get interrupted all day..by people, workers and phone calls.... for relief i go back into the workroom and paint...basically i roam around all day and get my priorities going in all the parts of the store....and hear all the efforts and problems....we are in the middle of an annual event right now..and should have about 2 or 300 people thru today....7 people working....i had a real job for a few months back in the 70s...lol....
http://www.small-business-forum.net/ this is a good business forum, very good for computer and web info..lots of good discussions......
THE OTHER SIDE OF DISPLAY........IF IM AT A BIG FLEA MARKET TO BUY.... and i see a booth all prettied up and looking great with well dressed civilized folks in charge and a booth with a disheveled guy and a big messy pile of good stuff....like he just came from an auction....uh, guess where i would go first?
and my customers do like to dig out in the rougher parts....the rough room, under the awning, the real junk out past the dock, and the big packed antique prim room...
but on the retail side , selling the new stuff, i think working hard on display skills is really important....
.. and test your display....did it sell anything?




Monday, May 24, 2010

THE WAY TO SUCCESS


usually i have pretty LOW OPINIONS about marketing gurus...as you might have figured out!!! especially ones who think your ego needs cuddled and pumped up....
.but this one sounds just RIGHT!!! http://www.country-business.com/growyourbiz/marketing_promotions/article.aspx?id=10000 . its from the magazine country business....
in fact this kind of business view sometimes sounds mean and harsh compared to the diva kind ...the rose colored glasses, go girl, build it and they will come, you re great it will work kind of advice....
this sounds like john shallert as someone said on our retailershoptalk forum.. www.retailersshoptalk.com .. it reflects the real world we are in out there when we face our store and our market and our possible customers.....the one I'm in anyway.... i got to hear john shallert once and it was great.......
the diva view is good for building a great blog or being a trendsetter or a magazine publisher....and we all love gorgeous magazines!!!! but IMHO....DONT LOOK TO THEM FOR BUSINESS ADVICE....i always ask DO THEY HAVE A VIABLE STORE? or any retail experience that actually paid them well? arent they just talking to talented artistic women who love decorating? and making things? so my view is watch out if the advice is aimed at just women and is full of things that would gag your dh or landlord...... .... the diva view isnt good for meeting with bankers, getting you above minimum wage,,,getting customers in your town to buy from you enough to pay for you and your store... all those real world things ...
ive learned lots from other stores, face to face and even more in the retail forums ...people out there facing the same market and trends and buyers im facing....
i think our store has to aim at upscale at a mid scale price....just because of our local economy and besides it has worked for us for a long time....theres nothing better than a customer thinking they got a good deal from you...
if i were in palm beach it might be lots different!!!! probably no room for our little metal 3$ kotex boxes tho..or our 1$ old claypots...
.i think the go girl build it they will come did work for a few...a very few but wow...look at nell hill or tracy porter...they did make it happen..but probably with very good , hard nosed , business practices..plus tons of talent that fit the market....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

self employment



....im hearing a lot about how hard running a store is..
..i could make a point that having any job is stressful IF it isnt working out.... ....say you were in charge of a big project for a company...and it didnt work and lost the company money....hey....if you got the same bad results the next time you would probably be fired...say you are in charge of a school and the grades go down down down....would they keep you? if you are in charge of tires for a trucking company and they start having a huge spike in flat tires on your watch is that a failure on your part? the boss would probably say yes and you are fired...
...if you have to work for a living, well, its going to be a hassle.....the market or some boss will be out there judging your efforts....and if they dont meet expectations you will have some bad results..
..my point is running a store is hard, but working is hard.
..being responsible for anything is hard....the hardness isnt the point ...making it work is the point...at least being self employed,, we are the boss and are out there taking a shot at making something work on OUR TERMS.. that means a lot to me.....but i totally respect the market....i have to....
....when i go into the foo foo room to fluff it up..or put in something brand new i get a thrill and hope my customers respond the way i planned...THEN i try to react appropriately.... meaning keep it up and build on the idea that worked or drop something that fell like a lead balloon if it didnt.... i dont see the point of blaming the economy, saying stores dont work, or focusing on all the unfairness out there...is it unfair that i like red and the buyers dont? .or they didnt get my vision? well maybe...but i know nobody really cares .....were they supposed to? dang!!!..basically its just my tough luck...
.with a store...the market sends in its report on our efforts....i really believe that...and it scares me daily .... when things arent working...i look out at the market ..not in at my stress or my feelings... the stress to me is like getting hot when you are sick....its trying to report something is wrong...wrong with my decisions, my choices, my marketing....etc..no matter what the outside problems are, if i want to survive i better change my ways and fit into the outside/market situation im faced with....
......i rant about the advice women in business take...because i see so many facing impossible hurdles.. because they took it....we have to be realistic..
..i love my work and i do actually know a lot of happy shop owners and show dealers who are making their financial goals.
..thats my soapbox for today!!! we picked this job!!!!.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

how to make money




im trying to learn so many different things on my computer....and its hard for me...who grew up with off and on switches and when things were so much simpler....i have a new set of fonts...including ransom note used here ..isnt it neat!!!! but im a tekk dud....and dh can only stand about 5 minutes a night for coaching.....
and i cant follow directions...apparantly...
OTHER WORDS WE LIVE BY..or try to ..at our store...which has survived for 32 yrs!!! and last year was the hardest ever.... i have learned lots of these little ideas the hard way!!!!.
..under promise///over deliver....we say no a whole lot!!! we cant be like ll bean and offer a huge array of services........we like being a ' where is' 'as is' kind of place....where the buyers have to take their chances...and its cash and carry.... .
...freebies and laginappe....aka..throw the dog a bone..... like today a good customer brought a new customer in....i gave my old customer a bundle of pussywillows....and we always have coffee and cookies for everybody....we are out of the way and most anyone who comes really had to make an effort toget here......also if someone buys something ive had for a long time or i got real cheap ,well why not give a great deal once in a while.... .
....more is better....our customers love lots of stuff and they really appreciate suprises.....THE MORE WE HAVE THE MORE WE SELL.....
.........
HOWS IT GOING OUT there?
GREAT I HOPE...

Friday, May 7, 2010

WORD ON THE STREET



WORD ON THE STREET IS
THINGS ARE
GETTING BETTER


...IM HEARING FROM STORES, SHOW PEOPLE AND REPS THAT THINGS ARE IMPROVING A LOT!!! .


its feeling pretty good here in greenoak land.... we seem to be having lots of customers.... lots of buying....


i have a hard time figuring out why ...ive read so many books on business and lots say you have to track everything to tell whats happening....but DANG.... so many things happen in tandem.....i can never tell really how or why things are going up or down..


how do you judge ?


here i am figuring its because. ...of one or more of these items...lol
.the economy

better inventory choices at the show
new worker who does fabulous
facebook and internet presence
better displays
great word of mouth which has helped us bridge into a new generation of home owners.. our old customers have brought in their married daughters....
our GREAT crew of workers

see what i mean? its hard to really pick what the most important element is....


for advertizing its just as bad....heres what we usually do..
..email to our data base
website
facebook

handouts
selected newspaper ads
radio...

the expertS say track!!! as in track the ad by embedding an offer...then when the customers come and mention the offer you will know....this hasnt worked for us....they rarely respond to coupons or mention this and get this..... i know it works for others and we have tried it a lot with no results....


SO WE JUST KEEP ON MAKING WILD GUESSES AND HOPE WE DONT THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER!!!!


and now for some beautiful eye candy for you
http://thegatheringnest.blogspot.com/

wouldnt it be nice?


imho
..there sure is a big need out there for a new book...something for independant stores....with pictures and real examples....like big features on a single store... country business puts a feature like that in their mag once in a while....i always get something out of those....and believe they pick stores who are solvent.....
.to me talking to other stores and show people is the BEST...
..i had a customer last week who had a store in illinois...it was so good to talk to them...their path was so much like ours...the parts of the business that had fallen away, antiques, the parts that were keeping us going.SALVAGE, REHABBED , GIFTS.....it was interesting and very real world....
....i know jay...the one who helped curious SOFA, has a new book...but dang...he sells 300$ pillows.... thats just out of my circle....i want to read about how to reach my target audience better...and a maybe with a workbook with this display works this one doesnt....

..... i learn everywhere.. tho..except for the extreme girly naval gazing stuff...i dont need that kind of direction... i kind of have a big enough ego and desire already !!! and i rarely need pushing to get off my butt and start working..i like it! and it buys my groceries....
...but i love to read about good concrete facts and examples .. like whats actually working, as in money made, and how did they do it...but the gift world is different...the stars might be barely making minimum wage....and thats so misleading, imho...... i need money....
if you have a store and want to talk to other stores come join our brick and mortar forum http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/ its private and you have to show you have a store.... we are hoping it will be a good place to talk about store issues....

Friday, April 16, 2010

dire warnings



ive been thinking about shows and shops..... and how what works for shows might be real bad for a shop....... ........imho...
IF YOU ARE A SHOP and you copy whats working at shows you might be in for a big suprise..it probably wont work.....
A SHOP ISNT A SHOW....a shop has to make money every single day with the local area shoppers...... a show dealer can build a wonderful niche or deal in a wonderful FAD and see if it works......
the show dealers are in a enviable situation......they have a lot less on the line in time and overhead and can be a lot more flexible than shops....they can go for a fabulous niche and present it to thousands of buyers on one little time span....stores cant do that.... thats why shows are probably the smarter choice for lots of folks...
....and they are a great way to get a taste of retail without going into it whole hog...

. some areas i would be afraid to base a whole store on are......., . the trash to treasure recycled look, those girls want to get it at goodwill or make it themselves..they might pay someone famous for a candle holder made from a bedspring but i dont think they would pay me....or steampunk,too teeny of a group and mostly young and no money.... or even industrial , it sure sells for me but its not a big group, , or all handmade,i love it but i sell to the middle class families mostly and they are hooked on things that fit their budgets.. or the beautiful funky white booths we see all over the blog world,my favorite but i actually sell more black, or fairtrade,love it and have seen it work in key west.. or all folkart, ,most of it can be made in china for pennies... or all shabby, ...,love it and i know its still real strong .the founder is in bankruptcy and its in target..i still do it majorly but dont use the word anymore,
..,, imho not one of those things those things would support a whole shop in most situations...... ..... i guess thats the beauty and draw of doing shows and going to shows.... you can see the fringe things.......

ALSO BEWARE OF MAGAZINES!!! THEY PUSH THE NEATEST NEWEST FADS...that doesnt mean the current fad would support a full blown store in your town.... the shelter journalists go to the shows to see whats happening.......THE SHOWS SHOW THE NEW IDEAS FIRST.
..THATS WHY WE all love SHOWs ......and then they write about whats new and great... .... that can really give a local shop the wrong idea....making the shops think the show ideas are right for their locale...when maybe its not right at all....in other words....and a big dang.!!!. if we choose the store route we have to
BLOOM WHERE WE ARE PLANTED..
.pick a niche OR FAD that doesnt have enough followers, meaning willing customers, in your area......then it probably wont work..and you lose money..... you can become a destination maybe....but thats really hard....


my ideas are mainly about local midwestern shops....like where i am...now if you are in a super rich tourist town with heavy traffic or a big city you could make about any niche work....or have a chance anyway...
my concern is that the shows and the blog world and the women mag writers are the big influence today.. they are setting the style stage.......but i dont take their idea of whats popular as a sure thing for my store...... to me ,they arent business experts....i love seeing their beautiful layouts of course..... but they really arent in retail...


in a nutshell....look around , do your own research...... if you are ready to to invest big time / go for broke ,go into debt on the idea of opening a store, make sure its not based on some narrow niche or fad that wont fit your area.....

you dont want to be in a losing situation ...........

our store covers lots of niches and fads...we have the room to seperate them.......but basically its a place for adventurous homeowners to buy what they need in furniture and home stuff...
. we have fabulous steampunk signs and great big statement things ....but they arent paying our bills..our inventory choices are crucial....and the market decides how well we chose...its so cruel!!!...if we make the wrong choice, invest in the wrong style they will let us know....

i love gothic or castle looking furniture and handmade steampunk signs..and so many kinds of folk art and about anything on that wonderful site...ullabenulla...her fantasys are so beautiful..... but i sure wouldnt fill the whole store with them....
maybe later when im old and rich and need a beautiful thrilling hobby....

WHATS SELLING HERE....
we are seeing a lot of dealers and shop owners...finally!!! the word on the street is pretty darn good right now.... the ones still standing maybe are tougher and stronger and ready to get going again..... im selling lots of store props...like the iron dressforms for jewelry, other big iron for all kinds of inside display, arches, topiaries, wall units,,, our big counters, for heavy duty cashwraps, or islands... big funky outside the box display units and store fixtures... ....

big in our retail is ...light garden, signs still, natural floral stuff, all the garden stuff....and lots of fun women things..like our naughty magnets....and lots of parts and pieces, like barn relics, shutters, doors, old architectural parts...
the new young family customers are looking for tv stands, kids furniture ,
im glad to say our furniture is selling really well..... old and rehabbed furniture is such a bargain....and i think people are very open to it..i guess thats our main niche.....

this is a pet theme for me ....why.?...because i wholesale and know a lot of retail stories....and how hard it is out there for shops...also i can look back a few years and see how many stores are gone.....and i need more successful shops to sell to!!! i want everyone of my customers and potential customers to do better and better...
P.S. IM REARRANGING A SECTION IN THE STORETODAY AFTER SEEING A great idea on a favorite BLOG.... http://www.sassytrash.blogspot.com/ so im sure not against show people or the wonderful bloggers out there...
heres some more of the great show dealers i enjoy....even tho i dont get out to the shows enough their blogs give me a little taste..........
http://rhubarb-reign.blogspot.com/
http://www.iowajunkgypsies.blogspot.com/

http://vandaff.blogspot.com/..
http://ullam.typepad.com/ullabenulla/

Sunday, March 28, 2010

happy days







wow, we got some cyber press http://featheryournestnews.blogspot.com/2010/03/where-do-shopkeepers-shop.html well it was from a long time buddy , as well as customer, and i sure appreciate her comments.... if you are a store and want to talk to her,and other experienced store keepers, even some guys,,, ... join our forum...for stores only http://www.retailersshoptalk.blogspot.com/



you know our things have gotten in the magazines / national press a bit but usually with no credit....which is OK...too...you might have seen one of our counters in gina gavins work room!!! in where women create...



i love wholesale....and wish all my customers make lots of money on our stuff....altho i know its not that easy...






BIG SNAFU.... gee there are a lot of ways to mess up..for example.....we got some rejects in an order and did all the work to return them..called, arranged, packed up....the box was behind the counter waiting for the call tag...dh got the call tag and didnt tell us....time passed..dh found the call tag and told us.....BUT the box was gone.... someone threw the box away @#%$$&* ....



so glad its spring....the store really feels different.... lots of furniture is selling... the customers seem to be liking our chicago choices.... so even tho im a virgo and can find the bad side of about anything.....im feeling very optimistic...
especially happy with dropping quite a bit of the country stuff and adding the MAN CAVE... and a big new section of black and white and tuscan ...
kind of over for us....clocks, sticheries, lots of the rose stuff....
up and coming for us...kelly rae roberts, lake merchandise, our counter/cash wraps/bars
naughty magnets and aprons...
the best hint ive pickedup so far this year.....in answer to my query ???what do women want? walla the answer... booze,friends,men and pms...so weve added naughty magnets and notes and some fun bar stuff.... its working very well.... about every age of women is having fun looking at our magnet rack...
speaking of age....the store is full of babies these days..... im so thankful for our new young customers.....the 30 somethings........ even tho i dont understand what they are like... .


Friday, March 19, 2010

I LOVE MARCH


all the spring inventory is coming in....the weather is breaking and we are finally getting some sun.....the customers are venturing out more....the robins are back...
..........ITS SPRING..almost
on the money side its a hard month because so much is coming in..big loads of garden iron, the orders from chicago , everything we need for spring and summer.....but it feels good...we are fat and full ..
im hearing some good reports from some of the show people i know...they are reporting great sales and lots of people.... so im taking that as a good sign for all of us ..
the forum for stores is taking off.... if you have a store and want some brick and mortar shop talk come on over and check it out... http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/

Friday, March 12, 2010

using the internet...


as a tekkno dud, im kind of thrilled and shocked that i can use the Internet....so far i have 2 blogs , a website, I'm on 3 forums......including one that we administer..... http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/ its for brick and mortar stores...so if you have a store come on over!!!

my latest internet thing is FACEBOOK!!!! what a game changer!!....I'm really trying to learn the ways of facebook....we have a fan page.... and i think my main buyers use facebook a lot, for fun ...and almost replacing email . i want to learn more about facebook connect....i want to get better and better content on....and i want to get my photo skills up.... the learning curve is real hard for me....as i grew up with a 2 dial radio and a world where things said on and off and you took your film to the drugstore...my daughter in law and web mistress helps me thru some of the hard parts...

i love blogging and connecting with other bloggers and seeing all the wonderful blogs out there....im happy to be in that wonderful kind of national and very cyber world.... i love the exploring....

but facebook is different.. for us anyway, its way more local, more close to home with lots of customers and people who can actually come to the store easily....i guess thats because when someone does become a fan their friends see our green oak page....

i was lucky to be able to start with a good core of people... having my daughter and daughter in law, both mentioned our page, and who both have tons of friends, many who were already customers and glad to sign up........and then we got seen by their friends.....

anyway im a big facebook fan and hope to get better at it..here's our page.....http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rochester-IN/Green-Oak-Antiques/128260302593?ref=share


i go to lots of blogs for just enjoying the beautiful projects and ideas and hearing from people i feel like i know.... thats great...and i definitely appreciate the viewers i have on my 2 blogs.... it would be even better if i had something to sell them!!lol..but mine are more for the fun of it......most bloggers have lots more to sell online than we do...im not interested in online selling so far...
heres a cyber friend with some great tips on blogging....and more... http://outdoorbloggerssummit.com/
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THIS IS ON THE TOP OF MY JOBS NEXT WEEK.....ANY HELP OR FREE ADVICE APPRECIATED....well, its big for me....we have tons of money in garden iron, and the best selection around.... its such a good product and should appeal to lots of new customers.... if i can reach them... i have to get a marketing plot going......and i have so much else to do i cant seem to focus on it..... i hate that sometimes that i put the crucial thing down into the pile and do the easier more relaxing thing.......im out there painting when i should be making this marketing plan......my staff and family is great but no good at brainstorming....or i dont give them a chance....or they just want to agree with me....so im looking at my cyber think tank...YOU.... I NEED some ideas towards A COHESIVE PLOT OR PLAN...we have available...tv, site, fb, email list, classifieds in newspapers, radio, display ads, ...trouble with display ads is that there are too many papers...i plan on spending money on this but i need an overall plan or ideas..to get me going on this.........even a halfbaked off the top of your head plan!! any general outline or guidelines for me....? how do you approach a marketing idea? i hate this part of the job...and im not very good at it....and i know it is so important...we have about $$$20,000 of garden iron inventory...i need to get on this soon........ sometime...lol
THATS MY DILEMMA FOR THE DAY....i need to do a good job on this...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

THE BLAHS


WELL its the dreariest time of year and lots of my store buddies are feeling really down....and me too..a lot of dark thoughts are going around....like why am i doing this.... is it ever going to work etc etc..... we all know its a tough economy.... some are even considering closing.... sometimes thats the smartest thing to do.... NOT ME THO!!!!

we are hanging in there and thinking we can still make it work , even tho the last couple of weeks have been horrid. i really like my work.... no doubts there!!!

but i hate thinking about money....and its a big cloud over us now....we have bought and bought for spring....spending like mad....and the store is packed ....and the parking lot is full of garden iron....its here and paid for and waiting. .
..its kind of the worst time of year to have slow days....it happens every year about this time.....
... but its no fun....one day last week we had 5 workers and 6 sales....thats just so wrong!!!! we did get lots of work done tho...

BUT TODAY WAS LOTS BETTER!!!! lots of customers and they even dug around outside....
a little sunshine seemed to make a lot of difference today. ..
we have used the last couple of slow weeks to really revamp the store.... so much new product has come in we have had to really look at the areas and how best to use them.....
im so pleased with the new lines we picked out in chicago....and really think our customers will like what we bought!!!


we are discussing the blahs a bit on the new forum.... http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/ did you join? sorry its for brick and mortar store owners only...but if you have a store come on over...
did you see the new magazine? flea market style? its really neat and started by ki ....the woman who has the fun http://www.junkrevolution.com/
heres something else that i enjoyed http://www.regretsy.com/ fun crafty etsy ideas that didnt quite work out....
PET PEEVES OF THE WEEK.... almost every order came in with some mistakes...one over charged us by about 400$ , luckily i caught it.... we were supposed to get a big discount that wasnt on the bill... ...many orders included things not ordered...i try to return but if its just a 12 $ item or group i kind of just dont bother.and sometimes i think they substitute on purpose....just a guess tho.......we did make one big return, after opening 2 out of 24 and they were both damaged i figured just send them back....it was big lighted paper balls from burton...
.
i really like having a good rep....then if things go wrong with an order or a company you have someone to step in and do the right thing...i like my reps a lot.... ...
well GOOD LUCK OUT THERE....AND GET READY FOR BETTER DAYS!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

easy display


this was such an easy idea and i think it will help sell a lot of plaques.....
we had these fence pieces
and they were already white....so jon just nailed them to the wall.... and then we put a bench below....and a shutter shelf on the side....

it just really worked and the new line of plaques stand out so well...this is just very different...
I THINK IT WILL WORK GREAT

i really tend to end up with cupboard after cupboard....and THIS SEEMS like a good contrast...

Friday, February 19, 2010

all ready and FORUMS


all ready for the big sale....and hoping the customers are too!!! last year our feb sale was in the middle of a severe snow watch.... and it just ruined it....there is no way to really makeup for a disaster like that....
they can come later but its jut not the same....
im getting spam n my comments....they come in as anonymous and are for totally unrelated to anything im interested in...like trying to sell me electronics or marketing tools etc etc....i might have to put some kind of screening or reading the letters in...not sure...im getting about 2 a day...
if you signed up for the new retail store forum...THANK YOU... sorry its just for brick and mortar stores.... http://www.retailersshoptalk.com/
other forums i like are http://www.junkrevolution.com/
lots of good junk talk and some show dealers
its open to everybody..
and also for stores and all kinds of retail. . http://www.giftshopmag.com/ theres a good magazine on there too...
also im on giftbeat...they charge..but lots of good talk on there for stores mostly...
i love forums....they have been so valuable to me in going down the rocky road of retail during the last few years.... i really dont have faith in many experts....really now, do they even have stores? i dont think most do....the people i like to hear from and learn from are the ones down in the trenches like i am...facing this economy this month...
i know there is some good expert advice out there, but give me a good FORUM DISCUSSION ANY DAY...on a forum its easy for several conversations to go on at once ..
if you are a store please join us on this new one...the retailers shoptalk...link above...