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Archive for the ‘Mailbox: 1-on-1 Advice’ Category

A reader wrote:

Any ideas for display windows with small panes? Sooo hard to create colorful window displays with the checkerboard across both of my front windows. I am also on the inside elbow of an L-shaped plaza. I have to work extra extra hard to be seen in the corner for 6 years. To make it worse, my new neighbor is a womens clothing shop that has SEVEN display windows using jumbo colorful Chinese lanterns for her pop of color, seasonal window displays.

Kate replies:

I think it’s great that your new neighbor is calling attention in your direction! How about playing up (more…)

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This situation, sent to Auntie Kate, is challenging. How would you handle it?

Messy buns are cute and au courant. Messy clothes? Never.

Messy buns are cute and au courant. Messy clothes? Never.

I have an employee that is making me so frustrated I can hardly keep from sounding off. She’s been with me for six years, but this problem has been getting worse over the past two years. She’s very dependable, likeable, self-motivated, the customers like her, there are many good qualities about her. However, she comes to work every day looking like a bum. She admittedly shops

(more…)

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Resale shop coupon in Welcome Baby Basket at TGtbT.comJudy asked: I have just contacted our community’s chamber of commerce with the idea of including a $5 Gift Certificate to my store for the “Welcome Baskets” which are given to Moms in our hospital –about 25 baskets every couple of weeks.

Does this make sense as a

(more…)

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A shopkeeper asks:

Is there a polite way to tell our consignors or sellers that their clothes or decor items are out of date? It seems so rude and blunt.

Auntie Kate answers:

First, you have to delete (more…)

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I write a monthly column called Growing Your Business for the NARTS newsletter. One of them was about being a customer who should have gotten a thank-you note but who didn’t, and the not-so-good taste it left in my mouth.

In response to that column, Kerri asked a good question:

I have question for you Kate–how do we decide WHO to send a thank you to–whether it be a gift, a card, a gift card, etc? With an average of around 40-50 sales per day depending on the time of year, how do I decide who to write to? As you said, your purchase might not have been the biggest sale of the day, but it would still be nice to receive something. Any words of wisdom greatly appreciated–thanks!!

My thoughts on the ROI (Return On Investment) of thank-you notes follows. After all, we can’t write thank-you notes to everyone, so where will it (more…)

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Armloads of incoming consignments!

Could refining your acceptance & pricing procedures make this a less-scary sight? Click!

A question from a shopkeeper that’s pretty pertinent at this time of year:

Q:  I need to limit the number of drop off we get (just too much inventory). I am leaning towards ‘quiet hours’ and stop taking drop offs an hour before we close, and maybe no drop offs on Monday…

Here’s a pretty no-holds-barred reply. If you are easily bruised, please skip this message.

Kate says:

If consignors cannot drop off after THEIR work hours, you’ll lose those who work (and who tend to change out their wardrobes more often than those who don’t.) In many cases, the ideal “drop-off” time would be after 5pm… depending on local office business hours, distance from work to your shop, and so on.

Limiting the number of drop offs does only one thing: Limit the selection from which YOU can select the items which will sell fastest ( = you have the clientele for them)
… which gives you rapid turnover which leads to more frequent visitors/ buyers coming into the shop. Making it less convenient for consignors is not the answer.

There really is no such thing as “too much inventory”… all there is is “too much inventory that is as yet unsold.” Limiting incoming means you are limiting yourself to consignors who can fulfill YOUR needs… and I think the most experienced consignees on this group will tell you that the “best” (most salable for the most $) stuff usually comes from women who are not able/are unwilling to work their drop offs around a shop’s limited schedule.

(Side note: If there was ever a day NOT to choose as a “no drop off day“, it’s Monday. Doesn’t EVERY woman clean out her closets on Sunday? And who wants that pile of stuff cluttering up the bedroom past Monday morning?)

If your shop fills up, it’s because your turnover is too low. Try pricing so that things fly out the door… not so low as to be unprofitable to you or the consignor, but low enough that most items sell before that 20% off at 3 weeks guideline.

If drop offs are driving you crazy, try altering your handling procedures and staff who are handling the goods. Some shops actually have processing personnel who work after the shop is closed for the evening… so next morning, sales staff come in to a shop ready to be freshly stocked with recorded, tagged, rehung goods.

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Armloads of incoming consignments!An interesting approach from this consignment shop owner:

I received this near the end of July from someone who had a concern:

I had a lady who is not a consignor yet but said that she wants to become one and that she has a lot of [fill in whatever fall goods your shop could sell the heck out of.] She was very insistent on getting to bring her fall items in now. We would like to give our current consignors dibs on what floor space we have. We told her (more…)

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