Posts Tagged ‘success’

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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Wow, look at these GREAT results, only 40 minutes into a shop’s live Facebook video!

40 minutes into a Facebook video

The shopkeeper wasn’t actually selling, as in “drop your email”… in fact, she wasn’t even mentioning prices of the goods she was selling, but rather showing us some really nice pieces.

I’m guessing she wanted  to spread the word 


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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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What’s In It For Me?” is the question everyone has. We’ve written about this a lot. Here’s an overwiew of the concept.

And a great example of how to put your WIIFM (more…)

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3 reasons YOU need a swing shop:

1- You can focus attention on specific categories or styles to keep them moving

2- A swing shop keeps 


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The next stop on our NARTS Conference Bus Tour was a bonanza of ideas from two shops owned by the same company, Turnstyle.

First, their clothing shop. It’s on the inside elbow of an L-shaped center, within 100 feet of their home furnishings store. Although there is excellent overhead signage for motorists, pedestrian-level signage is missing in both cases, and I did actually hear some of my bus companions exclaim that they totally missed the tucked-away clothing store.

Remember, click any photo to enlarge.

A whole wall of accessories, neatly arranged. Notice the narrow mirror, hung sideways above the jewelry.

Wall of accessories in Turnstyle, photographed by Kate Holmes of TGtbT.com

Notice that scarves and jewelry are hung not on straight arm slatwall fixtures, but on waterfall faceouts for easier browsing.

Scarf rings on a waterfall arm. More on TGtbT.blog Brand-imprinted jewelry cards on a waterfall fixture, as seen on TGtbT.blog

I loved their devotion to colorizing. Don’t the belts look great… and colorizing shoes is something I seldom see!

Colorizing anything, even shoes, makes the selection look more appealing. Turnstyle's take on this as reported in the TGtbT.com blog

A rainbow of belts on an end cap is a marvelous touch, says Kate Holmes of TGtbT.com

The shop does carry a selection of childrenswear, sizes 2T and up, and some menswear as well. Plus size womenswear has its own floor space as well.

Periodic markdowns are done by hand, in red marker, as prescribed by the Manual ♥ (or maybe they just realized this was best practices on their own ♥ )

The cleverest idea I picked up at the clothing store was this: Spring-summer clothing is tagged with green tags, fall-winter with red tags. This makes it simple, at seasonal clearance time, to simply say “50% off all green ticket items”, without having to rearrange the shop or put stamps, stickers, or hole punches on each tag.

Here’s the shop’s post-dated consignment goods awaiting the seasonal switch. Note they have red tags, allowing the shop to intersperse some transitional goods into stock without affecting the green-ticket clearance event.

Back room stock awaiting its season, as snapped by TGtbT.com

Next door to the clothing shop is the home furnishings store. Here, colorizing makes the assortment of knick knacks look so much more appealing:

Smalls are more attractive when arranged by color, says Kate Holmes of TGtbT.com

What to do with too much wall decor? I’ve seen plenty of solutions, but these carpet-covered, stepped units are elegant in looks and function!

Handling more wall decor than wall space is a perrenial problem for consignment and resale shops. Kate Holmes loves this idea!

Soft goods get their own department, The area rugs are displayed on a large sturdy table for easy browing (and a bit of undercover storage as well.)

Area rugs elevated on a sturdy table make browsing easier. Photo by Kate Holmes, TGtbT.com


Stay tuned to our blog… Part III of the Resale Bus Tour at NARTS Conference coming up soon… and another shop a few of us were thrilled to visit on our free evening!

See Part I of the Resale Bus Tour.

Visit turnstyleconsign.com for more on this company.

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One shop is concerned with slumping sales, saying that the mom trade groups on Facebook are causing her shop to lose sales.

Yet there is nothing

Buying stuff from strangers in a rainy parking lot?on her Facebook page or her web site motivating folks to shop with her rather thanwith some stranger in a parking lot. If her assessment of the battle facing her is true, wouldn’t she be wise to gather some ammo and fight back? She could post, often and charmingly, of

all the advantages her shop has over stranger-dealing…

from A (we’re air-conditioned, shop in comfort!) to Z (Zounds! This shop has ah-mazzzing selection, you’ll be able to choose the perfect item rather than settling for less!)

Another shopkeeper complains that “people don’t know I’m here”

yet there is nothing

TGtbT.com helps thrift shops become profitableto make the eye of a motorist or pedestrian glom onto her store front. The store’s just one in a row of identical frontage.

Grab their attention, stand out!

Would a large silk tree that she could wheel out onto the pavement every morning make people notice? Or vinyl lettering on the glass, or a bright and well-lit display changed every week?

A third resaler says “they just want sales and deals before they’ll buy.”

And yet,

Free Smile sign from HowToConsign.com

he doesn’t take advantage of his software’s ability to add a line on every tag with the original retail value of that armchair or dresser that will underline the values inherent in his merchandise.

Nor does he add value with some personalized signage, the kind you’d only see in a real-life, bricks-&-mortar, shop-local type of situation.


Fight back! Don’t stand there and take it… better to stand out from the crowd!


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