Thursday, April 5, 2012

h o w   t h e   s h o p   w o r k s

Up to now this year has been a blur. Every week the store has been growing and I have been working really hard. I have had to make some tough decisions about how to prioritize my work.

The first thing I decided on was custom work. I can't do it anymore. I am not booking any more clients after this month. I find myself stressing out way more with custom work than I do stocking the store. It just comes down to lack of time. Several of my shop mates do offer custom work so if you are interested I can forward their info to you.

After this week I won't be doing anymore cosmetic work to my section of the store. I spend so many hours a week moving things around, making more signs, adding more walls, bringing in shelves, etc. I should be done with that this week.

I get a lot of emails about shipping items. I am really on the fence about this. I might adopt a policy if something sits in the store for a few months I might ship it if it is over $200.  Part of having my pieces in the store was so I could focus on stocking the store and having open hours for my clients to come in to avoid taking the time to ship pieces. So I haven't really decided what my policy is going to be. Stay tuned. But as of May the shop will be open three days a week.

Another thing people have been asking me is about posting pieces on Shop Modern Cottage. I know when I had my home studio I posted everything on this tab including dimensions and price. This was easy since I didn't have very much inventory, it turned over quickly. Stocking the shop is a different beast. I really can't put everything on there and manage the site every week. I am a working mom and once I pick my kids up from school at 330pm I need to be there for them {I do sneak work in though}. I know this frustrates some people who want to know what is in the shop before they drive down to see us.  Let me just say, you won't be disappointed if you come down to our shop. It is pretty big now with a wide variety of furnishings.

Lastly, I have been asked a lot about how we manage the shop. 
This is still a work in progress but right now it runs like this-

We have seven shops within one big store. We run it as a co-op with me as the lease holder but everyone owns their own shop and is in charge of their own inventory and marketing. The co-op is great because we take turns working at the store so we don't all have to be there at the same time {or hire outside help} and payments are always separate for each shop. All of our styles are very different so the customer has a lot of choice yet we don't feel like we are competing. Everyone is super supportive of each other and we are just all trying to make our businesses work but also enjoy the process. We don't tolerate copying or mean spirited competitiveness. Since it is a co-op we make store decisions together by vote so no one person is doing a ton of the work. I hope this answers some of your questions about how the shop is run.

Enough shop talk. Want to see what I finished so far this week?

The store walls where moved back even more, can you see the window by the checkout? I added some flowers in the window. I am hoping they won't be dead by next week. I am not good with plants and flowers.
The big blue chalkboard {leaning against the checkout} is actually going to be hung from the ceiling in another part of the store but I haven't done that yet.

I finished this sweet bench-coffee table. It was painted in Old White, distressed and sealed with a polycrylic in gloss.

I am also bringing with me to the store this chest of drawers.
I painted it black, distressed very slightly, and then sealed again with the polycrylic in gloss.

I will have more photos of the shop tomorrow and more inventory pics!