Saturday, June 30, 2007

Retail Sales And How to Increase Them

You know prior to getting into soapmaking I would make attempts to start a business and then would just give up when I felt it wasn't successful. Of course I'm talking about a very small business adventure on the scale of a lemonade stand but done by an adult (me) Each venture was started with such enthusiam, like the time I made Angel dolls out of muslin. This was a sewing project that I loved to do and at the time I was charging $20 for each angel doll. My first craft show I was so hopeful standing there looking at the potential customers hoping they would love my angels. Some did and some bought but then I thought I was spenting way too much time making those angels and not enough money was made to conpensate for that time. Now I realize I didn't give myself the opportunity to learn, grow and build that craft. I let this happen to me repeatedly. I had the wrong idea about being in a business for myself. Years later I would label myself as a quitter, you know when the going gets rough I QUIT. So back in "99" when I started my soapmaking business I vowed (of course I was 50 at the time and somewhat wiser) that I wouldn't be a quitter in this business. Well it's 8 years later and I'm still at it and there were many times that quitting would of been an easy option but I stuck to my guns. Now I tried different things to market my soapmaking the first being craft shows. That's a lot of work. Then I went to wholesaling which is also a very hard nut to crack.

Then I moved to Florida and I thought I'd take my business into the retail arena with a store. I had very little experience in retail but hey how hard could it be? Well retail is hard and especially in todays economic climate. I also made the mistake of renting a store just a bit off the beaten path. The bit off is enough to limit the amount of customers I get. So between the economy, the problems that Florida is facing now and my location my thinking of quitting is surfacing again. You know that old saying when the going gets rough the tough keep going. Plus I have a new saying that for every problem there is a solution and it isn't quitting. Time to think outside the box.

I'm not a big fan of advertising in the newspaper. I don't believe it's effective. at least for my type of store. I did put an ad in a local tourist type of magazine and even that I'm not sure if it's getting me any attention. I know I have a very cute store. People love my soap products so with those things going for me I had to come up with another way to get people to my store and also generate sales. Well this past week I held a spa party at my home. I invited about 30 people thinking that maybe half would show up. Some of those were my good friends who I knew I could count on to come. Had a postcard printed at VistaPrint for practically nothing and gave them out. 11 woman showed up for the party. I had a large amount of my products displayed on my table. I served a tropical punch that was to die for (I'll gladly share the recipe) along with chicken wings, cheese and crackers. The last guests left at 11:30 and all couldn't stop telling me how much fun they had. My friends were so supportive of my venture and all in all it was a wonderful time. Plus I sold more product at my home then I did all month at the store. Days after these woman would come up to me (most of those who came were from my complex) and rave about my products. These woman will be customers of mine for a long time.

So I'm on to doing my second home party at my store where I'll advertise the Home Spa Event in a local small publication called the Flyer (it's sort of like a Pennysaver from up north)

Sometimes we just can't lay down and play dead, we have to rethink things and stop spending money on advertising that isn't working and putting those dollars to use somewhere else. Ebay is another area that I'll be exploring for both my retail and wholesale business. I've done a few auctions in the past, didn't really get anything out of it and again I quit. I realize that I was approaching Ebay with the wrong attitude ( my younger years philosophy of giving up)

So I encourage all you store owners to brain storm and come up with something new and different to seperate you from the rest. It can be done and only quitters say it can't.


Darron said...

My wife and I are just getting into the the business, and doing the spa parties is one of the things we have considered doing. I think it may be the best way to market these boutique type products. Thanks for your story.

Linda Nigro said...

thank you for your comment and also for taking the time to read it.