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/

9 comments:

Denise said...

I so agree Ann. What we see in the shows, doesn't really "catch on" in the midwest for a couple years. colors and trends, they have to see in the magazines for a year before they start thinking of putting it into their homes. a good customer to get is a young homeowner, they are starting out and are more willing to buy the "current" style. older homeowners, they don't change outtheir styles each year or two, they tend to buy "safe" looks because they know they have to live with it for many years.

nichey stores are cool. they get good press, they get customers in oohing and aaahing and giving them praise for their creativity. but they don't buy. I've seen that over and over - some of my customers that think they are my best customers because they spend so much time in the store praising it as their "favorite store" , are not the ones actually BUYING anything.

We have to constantly keep changing our niche to follow what the BUYING customer wants not what the lookey loos want to come in and see.

ann at greenoak said...

well said denise..being flexible is our key to survival....
..i love it that i can enjoy and explore my favorite nichey ideas and have steampunk, decayed castle, and deep country and some wild folkart and some free trade things in our store but still not be betting the farm on any one of those parts..
....seriously i know our inventory has to pay the bills and please our customers.... when at all possible....
i think older customers are more sure of what they like...and settle into their favorites....too bad because they can more afford to play around with new ideas...

Sandy and Joe/rhubarb reign said...

Hi Ann! Really interesting post. When you say "shows," do you mean big antique shows, like Round Top, or the gift shows? And I totally agree about the magazines -- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them, but a lot of the photos are pure fiction! Thanks for your nice note on our blog; glad you liked the garden collage. xo

Anita said...

We both had shops- and we started doing shows to augment our sales. At a show- buy it or it is gone. In the shop- we heard so many times- I'll think about it....We closed the shops and sell OUTSIDE our state- closer to larger cities where trends catch on earlier- and we have had great success with a VARIETY. That is key. Blogs have been WONDERFUL for helping to see WHAT you can MAKE with parts- we get LOTS of people seeking parts - and some just want to buy the finished product. Keeping prices low helps turn show inventory quickly- and you can't beat the crowds of people that come to shows. Somedays in the shops in a small town...well, it can get lonely. Finlly, the best part I think about shows is buying vintage or repurposed- made in the USA. Helps the Earth, helps our country's economy.

ann at greenoak said...

sandy...i mean the neat shows like you do as well as atlanta/scotts and roundtop etc....
im looking forward to shows to tell me whats going on...just wishi could go to more....
i hear you anita!!!
ann

Sea Witch said...

Great post. Always appreciate good advie from seasoned sellers. I couldn't agree with you more about the show vs. shop setup. I have always found that unless you are in a gallery type setting for an antique store you must carry a small percentage of "decor" type items along with the antiques or you have difficult moving merchandise. Sea Witch

Debby said...

What a great post! Just found your blog and love it.
Debby

sassytrash said...

Hi Ann, and thank you so much for the mention on your blog! What an interesting post...you really know your stuff! I find the most challenging part of selling is the necessity to change and keep ahead of the trends, but not too far ahead! Tricky. Thankfully, customers are really getting adventurous now with their decor, and are finally straying from the mass-produced imports! At least that's what we are seeing at the shows--people want handmade, unique, functionality, and good prices.

VanDaff's Interior Design & Antiques said...

We have had a shop and have done shows. We are also currently in antique malls. In our experience all have a place and often provide a the right market opportunity for a seller of vintage goods. But, we think that what one sells is defined by the market they are in and what best expresses their own creative and personal taste.
So it is not the same for everyone. Not everyone who does shows can do a shop and not everyone who does a shop can do a show. Sometime shows allow you to find a market that doesn't exists were you live. One does have to be flexible. What works in one area my not work in another. In other words, we all have to find our niche and what works for us.