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Topic: Brick and Mortar Stores: Advice? Info?  (Read 7240 times)
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the giant tree starts as a tiny sprout.

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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2004 08:07:53 AM »

i took a different approach... i wanted a place to sell my wares (and actually keep a substantial portion of the profit-more than 50%), and i wanted to connect with other local artists, but i didn't want to spend my time running a shop.  

so, a year ago, i co-founded an artists' co-operative.  we  found common ideas and committed ourselves to working together to make our ideas come to fruition (not always so easy).  within a month, a near-perfect spot became available at a former gift/tea shop downtown in our itty-bitty seasonally-touristy town.  we spent 6 weeks or so painting every square inch and gathering displays, and miraculously opened to a very receptive audience.

there's a big demand where i live for local handmade crafts, so we managed to get by on a shoestring budget for the first year.  now we charge $10/month to all artists who consign there to cover overhead and advertising.  and most of our merchandise is consigned-there are different rates depending on how much time members donate each month to help run the shop.  

we've certainly had some problems-our manager has worked for free all year-we're looking into grants to fund a salary for her.
and this takes common trust-we all have store keys and occasionally someone won't show uo to run the shop.  but overall, i'm amazed we had a successful first year.  none of us could have done this alone-we all want to stay home and make art!  but together, it has been well worth the little challenges.

much more than you needed to know, i'm sure!
i hope i've inspired you though:) good luck!

« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2004 12:34:50 PM »

thanks for the tips and stories everyone..definitely inspiring.  if anyone is willing to share some of their financial info - i.e. what is/was their monthly burden and how much they had to sell to meet it, that would be most helpful, although i know it really depends on where you are and the space itself. if that's too private to share, maybe you could email me?

info at tiny envelope dot com
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2004 06:49:24 PM »

it really does depend on where you are, what you want to find out is what square footage goes for in your area, so you know if a realtor or landlord is trying to hose you. Next I would really sit down with a financial advisor to see what you need to do to break even. But a general rule of thumb ina physical store is you usually don't make a profit your first two years in business. you break even, or lose a bit
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2004 04:57:41 PM »

i would totally love to open my own shop as a side job, but i know that i couldn't go out on a venture like that as a side job hahaha. i'm a journalist first so i guess i would consign with some one. my biggest goal in my life is to make money doing something i love and writing and crafting fall into that.  Grin
« Last Edit: January 23, 2004 05:04:08 PM by flyhunnie7 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2004 05:28:38 PM »

I dream of owning my own little shop all the time! I can't wait until I am a little older, and try to open something.

Did you take any sort of night school classes about running a business?
Would you think it is easier to open it with someone else?

I'm so excited just thinking about it!
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Keeping my head above water .... barely!

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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2004 10:19:16 AM »

I think the idea of opening a co-op type business is sounds like probably the most practicial for the person who doesn't have the time/money/credit/background - you're sharing the burden of all of these things among your members, and with a good range of artists, the collective experience of all of you must really be an asset.

I agree, there must be rules, and that in itself can get sticky ... I belong to a babysitting co-op, and you practically need a college degree to get through our simple rules  Wink- but we really just use them as guidelines, and change them as our group changes.

You should try running ads/putting up flyers, etc. in your area, at local craft fairs, churches, schools, etc. to see who you meet, and if there is enough interest to try something like this.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  - Thomas Edison
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2004 08:12:45 AM »

Someone asked about financials. There are resources that give % of income benchmarks for various store expenses. Can't remember links off the top of my head but a good book is "Retail in Detail" The only benchmark that I remember right now is that your rent should not excede 14% of income. So for planning you could quesstimate at 100k in sales, your rent would need to be no more than $14,000 a year which is, $1166 a month. Anyway your get the concept. I'll try to find some of my archieve info and get back to you guys.


« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2004 01:35:36 PM »

Lia... there are definitely classes out there.

Look up your state small business association. They should have classes listed and most are free!!! You can also check your local community college and adult ed class schedules.

I'm looking into this myself since in a few months, I hope to be opening up my own antique/handcrafted store. Definitely going the consignment route at first since it's less risk for me, I get to find out what the customers want, and I get to fill the store quickly. And as suggested, I will be having a web presence as well.

The good thing is that there really isn't any store like it in the area (central NJ), the bad thing is that there is no way to know if this is going to work out and I'm leaving a company I've been with for 10 years to do this. ACK!
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2004 05:42:36 PM »

The most valuble thing I did before I opened my business was to write a business plan. Your business plan will act as your roadmap for your business. The Small Business Admistration has a wealth of free information regarding business plans and other related topics. My main piece of advice is that as the owner, you write the checks and you know what's in your bank account at all times, because when it comes down to it, you, the owner, is the responsibe party. That being said, it is the best thing that I have ever done.

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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2004 06:17:34 AM »

Oh my gosh, you MUST read this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1588161048/qid=1075644696//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i12_xgl14/002-9490273-5624830?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

It is very inspiring!!!!!!!!! I found it at my library a few months ago and I am thinking about checking it out again.

I keep teetering between a store or a co-op concept with some friends. We've talked about teaching classes and then having a sales area. We seem stuck of finding the perfect location...

Good luck!


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