Adventures in Brick & Mortar
When I started my business, I did a couple small craft & vendor shows during the holiday season. After about a year, I was wandering in #UptownWesterville and stepped into this cute shop that was dedicated to local, handmade artists. I spoke to the owner & decided to take the plunge into selling at a brick & mortar store.
Selling in an actual store is VERY different than just managing a small online presence. For a first timer, I was definitely in need of some guidance & the shop owner was used to dealing with seasoned artists. That first year, I was kind of lost. I wasn't sure what I needed to make or what would sell in that location. Their set up was monthly payments, so in the 3 month holiday season I only got updates once a month. It was a struggle & frustrating for everyone involved.
The second year was slower, but went much smoother. I was asked to provide greeting cards, which were new to me, year round. Unfortunately, those have not proven profitable in ANY location. You learn as you go, I guess. #lifelessons
Last Fall, a friend tagged me on Facebook in a post about a new shop opening up about 45 minutes from my house. #missmollysmerchantile The layout & premise were, and still are, adorable. Think indoor farmer's market with bare pine shelves & bins... The fees were less than the other shop I was in & they were much more hands on with their vendors. After fees, that location is still in the red for me, but this Holiday Season we are working together to do a quilling class at the shop. I will be walking people through the quilling process & helping them make gift tags for upcoming events. I am VERY excited! #quilling
All in all, I have to say that selling in a true brick & mortar store has been a learning experience. I have learned inventory tracking, inventory planning, pricing & cost/benefit analysis. I have reduced my shelf presence to just the one shop in Lancaster, OH for this year & added several new, larger shows. Those seem to be my bread & butter... #shoplocal #smallbusiness #bossmama