09 January 2009

Market Notebook, Day Four

Market comes down to this: everyone is looking for a product to believe in. As a store owner writing orders and handing over your credit card again and again, you are hoping {sometimes praying} that you've chosen well and that your customers will feel the same way, as every customer shopping for a gift in your store wants to believe that her selection will touch and affect her recipient in a real and genuine way {what comes to mind is the tall order one of my customers gave me several weeks back: "I need a gift for my best friend of forty years. She's very unique, she already has everything she wants, and it has to be the best thing either of us has seen all year. Oh, and it has to be under $50."}. As I sit here typing away in my hotel bed again tonight, I'm reflecting on how good of a show this has been these past four days and how much more I want to discover and fall in love with over the next two and a quarter days. I hope all of the other shop owners walking this show are feeling similarly positive.

Found these in the Cash & Carry Jewelry Temps this morning.

In my observation, attendance still seems a bit thin even now that the temporaries are open, though all the vendors I've spoken to are saying it's been a good show for them with no discernible difference. I'll be interested to see the reports coming out of Home Accents Today soon.

We scored some great new lines and finds today and simultaneously, we are trying to make some decisions about what to do with lines and items that have sold well up until now but that we are frankly tired of {and in some cases, customers probably are, too}. In retail, it's equally important to know when to turn over a new leaf and when to stay put and dig your heels in with a strong seller. For instance, I visited a vendor in the Temps who I order from season after season, but whose offerings, quite frankly, leave me a bit cold. There's nothing lacking in terms of design or desirability--it's just not a line I'm excited about any longer. I continue to grapple with whether to move on for good or to just bite the bullet and order deep for Spring. Get it in, get it going, get it reordered, and swallow my ambivalence about it.

Happily, I managed to make that tough decision with a different line today, texting Zoey at the shop this afternoon and saying, "Make nice sale signs for half off of $(%@(!*. We're clearancing it once and for all!" Retail wisdom says that if you don't love a line, it's hard to sell it, and I'm tired of fighting my lagging enthusiasm for this line.

At this show, I've learned that vendors feel the same way sometimes. We were dismayed to learn a few months back that one of our bestselling inventory items was not only sold out from our vendor but was being permanently discontinued. No explanation, the item was just gone. I called and e-mailed the vendor repeatedly, expressing to them how well this item sold for us and how we could hardly keep it in stock. This week, I got to speak with the showroom owner, who told me that he purposely cut the item from his collection because he's "sick of it." Not only sick of it, but "embarrassed to have it in [his] showroom!" He then went on to mock the very aspect of the item's design that my customers and I loved best! I told him why I thought customers loved the item and couldn't get enough of it. He hemmed and hawed around and said something like, "Okay, okay." But both Debbie and I know he's not bringing this item back. The man is just done and we've got to move on to something else, too.

Time to hit the sack now. Only two days left for us at this show. Have to be focused and alert tomorrow. On our agenda: we'll start our day in Building 3, Floor 4, which features great "body and soul" {read: apothecary and candle} lines, niche press stationery, and the "juried boutique" collection of jewelry and fashion accessories. Still looking for more amazing tee-shirts for Spring, more jewels, cool cards and paper, and possibly another body care line. We'll also hit the Home Accents Temps and more showrooms in Building 2 {formerly the Gift Mart}, where we'll search out "nifty gifties" {anyone out there love The Office}?


blissful girls said...

Abby you know we're dying to hear the scoop on the Sid Dickens Spring "Madeline" line!

Wes said...

I think blogging from Market is a great idea. What's your sense of how well buyers and vendors remain connected to the Web while at Market?

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

abby you look like you are having the best time! pick out something great for me ; )

a la mode designs said...

Hi, Abby!

Thank you for lavishing us with the details of your journey to Market. I poured over your posts with my morning coffee & scone and loved reading all you shared. Hope the next couple days are full of discovery!

Have a safe travel home,

gigi said...

LOve The Bracelets!! Especially the pink one.
Will you be selling those online? How can I get one?

gigi said...

I love the bracelets!! Will you be selling them in your shop? How can I buy one?


Interested in purchasing the Peace & Love Bangles {pink says Peace, black says Love}? Please e-mail us at sales@theblissful.com for pricing and availability. Thanks!

polkadotsandmoonbeams said...

I LOVE those bracelets! So happy you have internet shopping now! Yeah!!!

XOXO ~Elizabeth <3