It's a Good Thing I Love to Shop!
It’s a Good Thing I Love to Shop
Dirk and I were recently spotted in Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday! No, not as super-fans, but as super-shoppers! (In my opinion, shopping is the best Super Bowl activity there is.)
We were actually there to attend a home décor trade show to find some new things for the shop. Did we find anything good? Yes, we did!
So, maybe you have sometimes wondered what it must be like to be a buyer for a charming little retail shop. Well, let me tell you…
Things to consider
People often ask me: “Do you love shopping for your store? It must be so much fun!” Yes! It is a lot of fun! But it is equally a lot of work. I do love to shop (I couldn’t do this job if I didn’t) but as I am browsing, there are a few things I must consider:
- Does this merchandise lend to the overall vibe of the shop? My personal tastes are pretty eclectic. The shop is not. I try to focus merchandise on rustic, vintage, prim and farmhouse (all loosely falling under the category of “Country Décor”).
- Does it fall in line with current home décor trends in the area? This is tough. For me, trends are like being in crowd of people “doing the wave.” It starts several sections away from you and can see it coming. Even though it hasn’t reached you yet – you know it will and you really want to be a part of it right away! But, there is no point in standing up until it’s your turn. You have to time things just right. Stand up too soon or too late and your effort is futile.
-Is the quality of the merchandise good? A lot of people offer similar products, but they are not all of good quality. I have to do some shopping around to find the best product for a fair price. And I have to feel good about offering that product for that price to my customers.
-And speaking of price. This is probably the most difficult part of being a buyer. I have a set amount of money I can spend on merchandise. So I have to stretch that money as far as I can in order to get the most of the best products I can find. It is a BIG challenge.
In the end not everything I find is a winner. That’s just how it works. Sometimes I find something that I think will be the next big seller and it just sits on the shelf. Other times I hesitantly buy just a few of a certain piece, unsure about how it will be received, and it’s gone in no time. And I have jumped the gun on current trends more than once. But I am constantly learning about my customers wants and reshaping my shopping list. This is what I love about my job: learning about people, working to understand them, and making them happy.
One the trade show floor
So, during a trip to a trade show we see a lot of really beautiful things – much of it is handmade. We get to talk to the folks making these products. We learn which products are selling the best for that show, which are their classic, solid sellers, and what is new. We can also talk to other retail owners to learn what they are selling the most of in their stores and how they sell them – as in, how they are displayed or packaged. It is all extremely helpful to me (I’m still quite new).
The other side to all of this is that the trade show floor is busy, it is crowded, and it is not always polite. Let’s face it, we are there to get business done. On more than one occasion I have lost a great item simply because I took a step away from it or briefly looked away to find my shopping partner. In that half second, another shopper literally swooped in and scooped it up. I had my eye on a gorgeous barn door once but lost it because I wanted to get Dirk’s opinion and took just a step or two away from it to flag him down. Just like that another shopper stepped up and took it away. On another occasion a fellow shopper basically take an item nearly from my grasp as I reached for it. The first time something like this happened I was flabbergasted! Now I know when I am looking at a piece that there are at least two other people with their sights set on it as well! And I will be honest, I have become one of those people who hang back and wait for something I want to be left unattended. Yes, I have swooped.
A new season unfolds
One trip to a trade show is just a small part of creating a new season at the shop! I will also place several orders for merchandise from some top home décor collections in upcoming months and probably go on another shopping trip to some of my favorite places in Lancaster. Additionally, I will have a few new local artisans coming on board! So. Is buying for the shop fun? Yes!
Is it a lot of work? Yes!
Are my customers worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
Thanks for supporting the shop and thanks for allowing me to serve you!
Thanks for reading and hope to see you soon! Guess what? Mention this blog post and receive 20% off one regular priced item!
Do you have questions or comments on merchandise? I would love to read them. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!