Facebook is an interesting source for friends, but even more interesting for small businesses like The Silver Barn. Yesterday we did what we call a Facebook Frenzy contest where fans share pics with other friends to then win the item featured. This is the second time we have done this as a fast way to spread the word about our store. It does generate buzz and new followers. But, what I get out of it more than I ever expected is the constant interaction throughout the day with the folks that follow our store and our page. When folks are in the store we constantly hear how much they like the store, like what we carry, enjoy the people who work here, but that is hard to get through the Internet. Yesterday we were able to “feel” the energy as our fans played, congratulated others who won, commented on items we were showing and basically told us what fun they had.
Today, a fan and customer told me she had such fun following the contest yesterday even though she didn’t win. There is a sense of community out there in Facebook land, you just sometimes have to rattle the keyboard to feel it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is “Guinness”. No, the Silver Barn blog has not gone to the deer. I am here on behalf of Cynthia, owner of Silver Barn who apologizes for being so remiss in updating her fans of late. She has been a tad busy getting the store ready to celebrate birthday number four, helping the most brides in one season find just the right items, and helping me find all my babies. I must say, the spots just don’t help at times!
So now, she is about to head out on an adventure across the south, looking for goodies for the store. The trip culminates with a visit to what I hear is a buyers Mecca, the AmericasMart in Atlanta. I’m confident she will find lots of things I have no use for, but I’m sure you’ll be happy to see them.
Today she is creating a fan frenzy on her Facebook page, so go over and see what all the fuss is about. I hear it is like when she brings us a bunch of apples. These gals go crazy I tell you, crazy. I offered to step forward and get you started on the updates…so, stay tuned!
Find me a retailer who LIKES to do inventory, and I’ll show you a retailer who needs an intervention! But, before you head to the head doctor, consider this. Inventory tells you more about your store, store direction, store sales and personnel than anything other measurement tool you use.
My team and I have been doing inventory today. We have at least one more day to count. Then it all has to be entered into the computer to see what has walked out the door (UGH), what has gotten broken (OOPS) and what is in hiding (DAMN). As we count we find things that sold exceptionally well…good buying I like to think. Things that SHOULD’VE sold….silly customers missed ’em. Things that died last year, still stayed dead this year….I didn’t REALLY buy that, did I? This, I think teaches a retailer how NOT to make the same mistakes. It gives a retailer a chance to see if maybe something sitting in the warehouse another year is okay sometimes. What was too forward for Christmas ’10, was right on target for Christmas ’11. Consider yourself a soothsayer. Got a dud? We are all allowed a percentage of duds. It is the retailer who has more duds than winners that needs to consider changing direction.
And then there is your team. When you’ve got a team that comes up with ideas to streamline the warehouse, speed inventory, redesign how you do things. That is a team that is as committed to the success of your store as you are. I have been VERY, VERY lucky to have always had folks working with me that always wanted to help improve how we do our job “behind the scenes.” If it weren’t for my team, I would not be as good as I try to be each and every day.
With that said I look to 2012 with lots of optimism. We have streamlined our warehouse, buried our duds so everyone thinks we are perfect year after year, cleaned our inventory so the ghosts that play with our computer on a regular basis will have to start anew, and we feel renewed to better serve our customers as we head into year FIVE.
Thank you customers, thank you team, thank you God for helping me have more winners than losers over the last 48 months!
One of our faves — Nora Fleming gets REALLY organized!
Sydney & Debbie
As Silver Barn begins its fourth year I stop to reflect on what has made Silver Barn, well, Silver Barn. In my mind the team is the key to keeping it all together, and I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous group of folks who help me keep it all together.
Debbie came to Silver Barn two years ago thanks to a chance meeting at a conference where I had a booth. So, remember when you are presented with a fabulous opportunity, don’t let it go by without at least putting it out there for the universe. I did and Debbie came our way a few months later.
Sydney also came along thanks to a chance conversation where we were looking for someone additional, someone special. We were very lucky….again. She has kept us moving even when we feel like sitting!
The only one missing in the picture is Karlie. Like Sydney, we were lucky to have her land in our lap. She has a flair for display, she has a love of fashion…and she likes TCU as much as we do!
As for me? I’m just the lucky dog who has an eye for talent when it walks in my door. I’m the lucky dog who got to realize a dream thanks to this awesome group who make the Silver Barn as cool as it is. Come by and say hey to the greatest group of people I ever knew. Imagine what this team could do if we organized the Astros team. Well, hmmm, we may be a team but I think we’d look more like the Little Sisters of the Poor on the field! Well, alas, I can’t fulfill all dreams with this dream team!
In our travels through life we meet many friends. Some we see over and over and they become a part of our memory of that area. I have “met” and fell in love with, we’ll call her Marsha, the concrete pig just outside Mason, Texas. We see her every time we make the 5 hour trip from Columbus to Brady for a little R&R. I have a friend who collects pigs so the third or fourth time I finally stopped and got a picture I uploaded to Facebook for my picture-perfect-pig-princess.
On my last visit “Marsha” was missing. It was a blow to my heart. What could’ve befallen my concrete omnivore? Had someone stolen her away to the big city and made her an attraction? She was too large to be nimbly transported from vacation spot to vacation spot for a photo essay for her family back home. I feared something horrible had happened and she would no longer enjoy the wandering deer and tipsy teens adding beads to her bovine frame.
Alas, this trip I was pleased and surprised to report. She has returned. She has had an obvious lift of some sort and she added a few piglets to her locale just West of Mason. The break did her well. She and her babes look fabulous and now she won’t have to sit out there along the highway by herself. She can now share all the sights and sounds with her darling little ones. Welcome home my dear friend. Mason, and I, have our friend back to mark our miles and seasons. I’m glad things are back to normal and I won’t have to go through life simply remembering this really cool milestone along the route of life.
After, mom & family
While the Oscars are running across the TV, all the thank you’s inspired me to do my own thank you’s for one of the most fun events I’ve ever put together. Thanks to The Columbus Christian Women’s Organization, specifically my dear “Pug” for asking me to let the store be an auction item in their annual luncheon. Thank you to Lori, Tanya, Belinda, Stephanie, Carol, Jeannie, Teresa, Janell & Paulie for wanting to dine at the barn enough to buy us in a heated bidding war. And, most importantly, thank you to one of the greatest teams a store could have to help make the “magic” happen…Debbie, Karlie, Sydney & Cydney….and Bill for being a part of the “dream” even though it’s not his dream.
So, what is all the thanks about? Last night, the Silver Barn broke new ground by hosting a dinner by candlelight, a fashion presentation by good friend and author, Sarah Shah, and a night of shopping. We served a smoked mustard crusted pork tenderloin, corn casserole, fresh asparagus & for dessert, Peach Pecan Amaretto Cream Pie. Thanks also goes to our good friends at The Vintage Shop for helping select a great assortment of wines for the evening. I’ve never felt so wine intelligent before! Thanks also to Abigail Hornik and Westerware for donating the fabulous dinner dishes which will now be passed on the this same charity for them to auction off next year.
What fun. What a nice feeling to do something that benefits so many. What a night!
...to a great dinner