Monday, October 18, 2010
5 things I've learned opening a retail store
scenario #1 "Are you crazy in this economy? Stores have been closing left and right!"
scenario #2 "You've 'made it'! Congratulations!"
Funny thing is, I don't think scenario #1 or #2 applies to us. Here's why...
2. Opening a retail store isn't crazy, nor is it our definition of "making it". For us, it was a strategic move to continue to self-fund our expansion. The addition of retail to our existing wholesale, online and private label business has allowed us to grow our production space and crank out larger orders. It's given us a beautiful showroom and an opportunity to teach the community about the benefits of natural skincare made by hand, with local ingredients. Adding the retail component or "the icing on the cake" (as I've been referring to it) has helped pay for that expansion, without outside investors or loans.
3. I get face to face interaction with customers daily. This is invaluable. I can spend hours on twitter, facebook posts, our e-newsletter or this blog, but nothing takes the place of face to face interaction when someone is touching, smelling and experiencing your product. Conversation and feedback right at your fingertips daily-- that's priceless.
4. Everything is a learning experience. This isn't something new I've learned, but it has been a fabulous reminder (as if being an entrepreneur isn't) that there is something positive to take away from every situation. If something doesn't go as planned, I look at how, why, and what can I learn from this? Focusing on that helps frustration, disappointment or dare I say anger (I was there today :) get the better of me.
5. Multiple revenue streams are a key to success. Examining those streams and where the money is coming from help determine focus, therefore making me more productive.
I could keep going, but these are the most prominent in my mind after being open for 6 weeks. I'm sure I will continue to learn a million more things as we roll into the holiday season!