Tomorrow begins the tour of the south with my comrades, Jackie and Heidi. What an adventure we are Iooking forward to. From dumpster diving for trash that can be a treasure once more, to hitting the AmericasMart in Atlanta for the summer market (a first time visit for us all), I plan to share every detail. Well, I might leave a few things out…..just to protect the innocent/guilty.
I had likened us to Thelma & Louise, well their trip didn’t end so well, and there are three, not two. Then, there was Charlie’s Angels….hmm, I think they ended up in a Louisiana prison gang and sold into slavery. Not my cup of tea. So, I have now taken to comparing us to the gals of “Petticoat Junction.” Yes, Bobbie Jo, Mary Jo & Billie Jo are about to depart from our own Hooterville and hit the dusty trail. The worst we can get in to is falling in the railroad water tank! So, here’s to a trip full of fun and interesting sites. I hope you will join us and let us know how we are doing! See y’all
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!
How many times do we all stand there looking at things that are being thrown away and think, “there must be SOMETHING useful there.” That is one of my favorite things about attending Marburger Farms Antique show each season; seeing all the great artists who come up with unusual and unique ways of salvaging all kinds of things and making them new again.
From lamps based on vintage pictures and postcards at Found Images, to vintage transit route signs turned into pillows, chairs, ottomans, you name it, at British Route Signs Designs, I found myself falling in love with stuff all over the place!!
Marburger is one of those design events that celebrates the special and I think everyone should stroll the aisles at least once in their life. Now, let’s see how much I brought home….
Find the Kitty!
Lenox, our store kitty always likes to see things from every angle. She helps me see the little things too. And, isn’t it the little things that take a display from a two-dimensional look to one with depth, one that makes you say, “yep, it’s perfect now!”
How often do we as merchandisers shift, stand and look, shift again, stand and look and move one final item just a little to the left? How often is that final move the “IT” that makes it perfect? How often does a little eight-pound kitty come along and shift it again – making it even better! Proving you can’t take this job…and this life TOO seriously!