Happy Friday:

September 2, 2011

Friends, some of you know I bought a vintage cash register a while ago. I have been wanting to open up my own store, but have just been to afraid to take the next step. A couple spaces have opened up and I went to check them out with Lillian a couple days ago. I am just being super indecisive. They both have some major pro's and con's, and that is why I am having such a hard time deciding.

Does anyone out there own a store? Or have a friend/family member who owns a store? Any advice/thoughts/opinions? As far as location goes: what do you think is most important?

I think probably 95% of friends/family that I have told have said things along the lines of, "Are you crazy?? / Don't open a store! / That's a bad idea" but when I tell people in the creative community (fellow bloggers/craft buddies/etc) they are like, "go for it, that'd be so cool!" heh.

I've heard it all. I know of the huge responsibility it will be, but at the same time, I really don't know because I've never done anything like it - so how can I know the full extent of what it will involve? A million people who have been through it could tell me, "Don't open a store!" but I'll still want to do it. Okay, well if a million people told me not to do it, I probably wouldn't do it ;) Just lots of people have advised me against it, but if I don't try it for myself, I'll never know, and I really think I'll just regret it.

In one of the panels at the Creative Conference for Entrepreneurs, one of the speakers said if you're not willing to take risk in business, you really won't get anywhere! How can you succeed if you're not even willing to try things out and put yourself out there? I think that's valid. If it fails, at least I tried, right? Okay, probably not the best mindset to go into opening up a store, but I've really weighed all possible outcomes. There could be success but I guess in trying to be realistic, I am prepared there could be failure too.

Whew! That was a long post, thanks for reading my rambling. I could go on with thoughts about the whole thing, because obviously I've been giving it a lot of thought. I just want to get your opinions/thoughts :)

I should add my husband is super supportive in whatever I want to do, which is so amazing, he's awesome. and of course am just surrendering the whole thing to the Lord, waiting on Him and asking for guidance with what I should do! So I know there is that aspect of peace in knowing He will be over our plans.

Well - it is a long weekend for Nick & I - we'll be selling at the street fair! What are you up to for the long weekend? I hope it's super fun / relaxing / lovely - whatever you are doing!

ps: thank you so much for all your input and comments on my friday post about painting! You were right. We got some test colors and tried it out on the wall and hated the color! whew. Will keep you updated. You guys are the best, truly.

42 hello's:

  1. What a refreshing change to see someone who actually wants to open up new business, that is what our countries need to continue to grow... entrepreneurs like yourself willing to take a risk.
    I think probebly THE most important thing to consider would be location. As they say Location, Location, Location!!! The interior/layout doesnt need to be perfect. Also a big consideration should be your marketing and overall 'look'. Is your store 'right' for that neighbourhood?
    I absolutely LOVE your vintage cash register... its adorable. I would shop with you just to se it open ! *giggles*
    Good Luck in your venture and i think in your heart it's what you want to do, you're just a little scared right now. Which is absolutely normal. But good planning / budgeting will see you right!. xx

  2. Location is so important. You need to be somewhere with a lot of foot traffic and other businesses. My boss owns a shop as well and at first, the store was located on a residential street in a tiny commerce building that had a bakery, a massage parlor, and a dog groomer. The idea of a neighborhood shop sounds so quaint, but there were (MANY) days that it cost more to be open than was sold (I'm talking like $75 in sales) But just this April, the shop moved to a bigger location in the center of town and every single day since has been great. New people in all the time, old customers coming back frequently, etc.

    If you can find the right spot, in a busy neighborhood, go for it!

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  4. I agree with Laura, Location is key and I'm sure almost every town has those lil community coupon books. Definitely put an ad in there if you are going go through with it! I'd walk in and see what space gives you the best vibes of "Yes, I can do this!". Also I'd see if your local libraries or anything have seminars about opening your own stores or even local colleges! Best wishes!! =)

    Melanie's Randomness

  5. What I love about you and your blog is that you're so real and honest - it's great to see that you don't put up a glossy picture of a perfect life with no mistakes and no doubts. You're so much easier to relate to :)
    That said, I think you have a lot of ambition and a great support network. And the fact that you want it so genuinely is going to help you. Jump in!

  6. Danni, just wanted to encourage you that this situation is definitely in God's hands and I know that he will guide you, so just keep waiting on him :) A few weeks ago, I shaved all my hair off to the horror and shame of my family who had been telling me for months not to do it. However, I just had such peace in my heart that it was the right thing for me to do and I am so happy with the results. When the time is right, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand,"(Philippians 4:7 NLT) so just keep on holding onto him and his promises.


  7. I think that, if you do it carefully and considerately, you should go for it. That said, I've worked my share of retail jobs and it's true that it can sometimes cost more to be open than you make--but it's also true that location plays into that on a really high level! In that note, do some research on your area's businesses. I know that where I live, small businesses (especially of the indie/vintage/handmade variety) do pretty horribly in the part of town I live in, but there are a bunch that do lots of business and have been open for years and years in another area that's not more than ten minutes away. Interestingly, all these stores are pretty close and somewhat similar to each other (again, indie/vintage/handmade), but each has a different aesthetic and draws a different crowd.

  8. Here's the thing: I know that if it feels right then you're right, the Lord will guide you so at least you know it will be successful. It just depends if you are willing to do what it takes to make it so.

  9. Hi Danni - I had to comment here because I just went through this same though process about 3 months ago. I had the store name, the drive, I had picked out wholesale companies I wanted to work with (just a few at this point), all of my friends were supportive, family would be somewhat involved, etc., etc., etc. What I didn't have was a prime location for what I wanted to do. I'm right near Lynchburg, VA, and there is nothing in our area where I can say I need a birthday present for a friend, and NOT have to go to Target to get it. We SO needed a store just like I was thinking of opening. And for some reason, the dream got totally lost in the shuffle...for now. ;) I think it was not having that great location that held me back and made me hesitant about taking the huge leap to open a store. I'm not saying this to be a downer at all (I have great feelings about the whole thing actually), I guess I just wanted to verbalize our common passion for someday having our store with our antique register that sounds a perfect ding with that first sale. I wish you all the support in the world - I know you'll do great...look what you've done so far!?!

  10. do it. i believe in taking risks but i also know it's easier said than done. ps. i love the vintage cash register. so awesome.

  11. What an exciting venture! Definitely needs to be the right location with foot traffic. Think of other ways to bring people (and money) to you besides the obvious. Perhaps you can also (assuming you'll be selling the kinds of items I've seen you post about selling your wedding stuff?) consider doing rentals to event planners, do jewelry (or other craft) classes, community events, etc...

  12. If you believe you can do it then you will! It will always be big risk and its never going to get any less risky, so go for it! Im sure it will be a great success x

  13. Danni- Thanks for sharing this! I think it is nice to see someone who is already successful at what you do be real with your readers and share your conerns and thoughts on future ventures. and what a big venture it would be! How exciting to even think about it. The lord will definitely lead you on the right path!

  14. First of all, if you do decide to open up a shop, I know you will be fantastic at it!

    BUT. My friend has a craft shop here in town which is very successful. She sells arts and crafts supplies and gives DIY courses some evenings. She has to work incredibly hard: designing the shop for different seasons, taking care of the paper work and finances, going to craft events to buy and order supplies for her shop, holding DIY classes in the evenings, not to mention just being in her shop six days a week.

    I don't know what you and Nick have planned as far as children go, but that friend of mine friend is pregnant now, and it's a big question mark what she will do with her store.

    Lots to think about!

    Sorry there is no easy answer. Maybe the question isn't if you should open a shop, but if you should open a shop NOW, when motherhood may be on the horizon. It's something you could do when the kids are grown! :)

  15. it is tough work to have a brick and mortar business (I only know because my parents ran their own restaurant for many years) but I think you will find that it will be worth it. The most important thing is what you do with it and what you offer. From what I know of you and your goods you're set from that perspective. Having said that, location is super important and I think it's very justified that you have been hesitant when it comes to making that decision. You want a good place with a lot of foot traffic, but often it's these locations that come with an obscene amount of overhead expenses (particularly in Southern California). You have to take the time to look at a location from all angles before you commit. There is a lot involved in taking the leap, but you have a lot of local support and wherever you choose to open up I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be venturing out to your shop. :) best of luck!

  16. um, I think you should go for it-and that I should be your employee. :)
    It's scary, it's lots of work-but you could totally rock it. Location is HUGE, but if you think you've found a location, and think you've gone as far as you can in craft fairs and things like that (ie, want something new) then do it!

  17. I know that you will find the answers you are seeking as you pray this over, dig into the Word and seek counsel from a few close advisors.

    I did want to tell you that if I make a trip to So. California, I would so want to visit your shop! I imagine your displays will be unique and fun, great vintage finds will be available, and the shop will have an atmosphere of lovely kindness. Judging by your mail-order packaging... everyone will want your gift wrapping!

    Like Psalms 37:4 says, if you are seeking the Lord and have such a strong heart's desire, He probably gave you that desire and you can trust Him to work all things for good.

  18. First of all.. that cash register.. amazing! Great great find.. I would hv bought it too! Trust me!
    Re the business thing.. I hv the same dreams as you and I know when we are in a bettter place for me to do the same thing, I will hv all the same doubts. I took the iNDIE BIZ 3.0 class from The Freckled Nest and it really helped me define alot of things about my business.... so much content.. it's a great class.. I know they will be offering it again.. go for it.. if u hvn't already.
    There are so many things to consider.. I know.. I always tell my hubby this... I wanna try and do it.. I wanna hv my own storefront one day.. I really do. I told hubby.. that well.. if it fails.. it fails.. I'll still love him, he'll still love me, and we'll still live a happy life.. you gotta try to live your dreams, right? hugs xo

  19. Good for you!
    I bought an existing business - fresh out of college - at 24 years old! I can tell you, people thought I was nuts.
    4 years later we've made it through the tough times with the economy and although I wouldn't say business is "booming" we're hanging in there.
    Coming from someone who doesn't have a "business" background per say (I own a custom picture framing shop/gallery/gifts) - learning the business end was the hardest part for me.
    Learning quickbooks, accounting, paying taxes, filing paperwork - yuck - I really hate that stuff. But I love being my own boss, even if sometimes I feel very married to my work. You can't leave it behind when you close the door at night....it comes home with you!
    I have plenty advice I could probably give you (email me if you want!) But location is very important. I'm in a small town on a busy street corner (high visibility) - and although we always have tons of on street parking in front of the shop, I think sometimes this deters people from coming (they think they'll have to parallel park or something). But for you , being in a "crafty/artsy" area would help probably. But if you are unsure - maybe only lock urself into a 1 year lease. If you are a new startup business and after that first year you can tell the location just isn't working for you - maybe move?
    Keep your costs low to start - don't stuff your store with EVERYTHING. Start small and get to learn what your customers want/like.
    I've learned that creating a buzz around my business is really helpful - I try to do something REALLY unique that keeps people talking (I have horses and shop dog that paint pictures - we've been the talk of the town for years now & my adorable dachshund keeps people coming in the door). I write 3 blogs, have 4 websites, and several facebook pages. The "buzz" is what keeps the lights on!
    Anyway I wish you the best of luck - and go for it - you are right, you will regret it if you don't. I work VERY VERY hard (my husband tries his best to slow me down), but if its important to you, then it won't feel so much like "work". I can't say I want to do this forever - but as long as I continue to enjoy it, I'll keep the dream alive.

  20. Amy - Thank You Cards Shop02 September, 2011 10:47

    good for you for dreaming! even when it's scary. i don't know much about retail in terms of a brick and mortar, except for that it can be very tough, and has it's ups and downs - but i imagine it can be immensely rewarding on the whole. if i was in your shoes i would do as much learning as i could and get as much mentoring as possible, from people who can really give you the straight story. i have to echo what others have said about location - it seems like that is very key to success. i've noticed around here it seems like when a few indie biz's are near by each other that helps a ton, creating a kind of destination area. then some blend selling products with having classes and that seems to work well (check out http://collagecollage.ca/ and http://www.spoolofthread.com/)! whatever you decide i hope you feel God in it :)

  21. hey dani!

    man. a whole store. that'd be awesome. i've kind of wanted to do the same but location is key and rent can be super high. all the overhead costs of a store that you dont have with an online business..... i think it can be very tough these days with all these online shops. look at borders. huge store shutting down most of their locations because they are losing out to online sales.... just food for thought.

    i'm in two shops in LA that are consignment and have very different successes. flockshop in chinatown is a super cute shop but their success level is not as high possibly due to location. it's hard to say. they are in that plaza down there but it's small and tucked away. foot traffic isn't as great. but rent is probably lower. i'm also in a shop in los feliz on vermont next to all the other cute stuff over there and her shop gets a ton of foot traffic. BUT she also probably pays a lot more in rent. so it's hard to say....

    good luck either way! keep me posted on what you decide to do. i'm sure ill see you at the various holiday shows. :)

  22. i think you should do it. if you never take risks, you'll never know what "could have been"!

  23. @Jennie Louise+ @Laura + @Melanie's Randomness + @Prerna + @londonshapedheart + @Katie + @Dancing Branflake + @petaline. + @Corissa + @Karen + @Rebecca + @bri kim + @country girl + @LO FI LOVE + @Laura Wynn + @Melissa + @Bonita Rose + @Kyley from Painting Pony (and Studio 3) + @Amy - Thank You Cards Shop + @jen / plastique + @Melissa ::

    I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to each and every one of you, for taking the time to leave me some of your thoughts. Your comments mean so much and your encouragement makes me feel like I can open up a store tomorrow ;) Thanks to all who have emailed me their thoughts too. I truly feel super blessed.

  24. I don't have any personal advice but I would check out elsie's blog at http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/ if you haven't already. She has a store and talks about it alot. Good luck!

  25. Hi Danni!

    That register is super rad. As long as you got the register, the rest is downhill from here! Ha!

    I'm in love with all the work you do on the blog and all your products and creativity in them stand out so much, I can't see you not being successful!

    However, instead of jumping into a lease and a brick and mortar situation, which is very daunting for very good reasons, have you considered having a cart? Indoor or outdoor in a cute little shopping area? I love visiting those and they really give you a chance to chat with your customers in a non-invasive kind of way. Then you'd be able to really gain a little following (not like you don't already have one) and get to know your customers a little better. After doing that for a while with very low overhead, you should be able to make the decision on whether or not opening up a shop is right for you.

    Hope that helps!


  26. wow i think i've never seen sooo long comments:D! that great…well, i am often thinking of opening a store in the future, most because we want to go somewhere else to live ( back home to bolzano). right now i have a good job, but dreaming about beeing boss of yourself is not bad too. I´ve never had a shop so that´s why i think talking to who HAS one should be the best for you. diffrent one, also who you don´t know thaaat good. ask around the web as well. i think it will be quite hard but a very special work. I think i would love the creative part and the part working with lots of people as well. i think you wont have problems with the but the bookholding part would be my horrorside… i wish you all the luck and take the time while taking a decision.

  27. I think, being a SoCal resident, that location and access is key. People need to be able to park easily, or they get deterred. Also, I think it really depends on where your business is at right now - will you keep your Etsy store running for supplemental orders, will it pay to have the store open only half the week, would it be smarter to open a location with someone else (like Elsie did with her sister), etc.? My first job was at the Wagner House, which is a wedding resource center in Yorba Linda, and I watched the couple who ran it work their asses off every day! There's definitely no such thing as office hours. :)

  28. Hi Danni!

    First of all I'd like to say that I think it's so exciting that you're thinking about opening a shop! I honestly think that any shop you open would be a huge success! A good location or not (though a good location is always better!) you have a great following online, fantastic taste and have already proven yourself to be a savvy business woman - you're good to go!

    However, owning your own store is a whole different ballgame from making things at home and selling at fairs, shows and whatnot. At times it can be incredibly fulfilling, fun and rewarding, but there's also a lot more to consider and things that will take up your mental energy when you own your own store. Not only paying rent, utilities, etc, but staffing too. Staffing is something people don't always consider, but it's important. I'm guessing there's a good chance you won't want to work every day all day and if your rent is expensive (as most good locations are) you want to be open as often as possible to sell things to pay that rent! So you have to consider if you actually want to manage people (because some people don't). There are lots of other little things that pop up and take your time that you don't really think of, but that's like any independent business - I think for you, going from working (mostly)by yourself to working with and managing people would be the biggest change.

    I could go on and on, but for the sake of not writing a novel in the comments section, I will leave it at this: Don't worry about the store being successful, but think about what you'll do when it is successful. How much time do you want to dedicate to running the shop? Because it requires a lot of time - A LOT of time (for the first few years anyways) but it's pretty great most of the time too :)

    Anyways, I'm sure you'll make the right decision. And at the end of the day, if it's something you feel you'll regret not doing - then do it!

  29. Hi Danni,

    I know several people with stores and the thing I hear them complain about most is all the overhead costs of running a store. There is rent, electricity, insurance, wages, tax etc. I think those that do the best also have an online store presence to bring in the extra income. It will be hard work but I know you wouldn't be afraid of that, you wouldn't of got where you are now with out putting in extra hours.

    Also that quote about taking risk in business is absolutely right, but I like to take it one step further and say 'calculated risk' you have to take calculated risk.

    But in life I think passion is the main drive that will make business succeed and you are doing something you are passionate about, so even if it is tough I know you will make it work!

    hope you are well lovely.


  30. life is about risks!! if you do good great... if not at least you'll have one more experience to share with your grandsons!! its a huge investment of both time and money ,.... and soil... but if your wanting it... it's worth it!!!

  31. HI a good friend of mine opened a bead/jewelry shop last year. She is awesome. What i've seen in her case, is that you need a lot of foot traffic in the area-people willing to spend money. She is in a tourist town. You also need a good online presence which she doesn't have yet. There's a lot of money that goes to rent which if you just did things online you wouldn't need to pay for. But she also has been approached to do a lot of custom jewelry projects which may not be as easy to do through only an online business. Just wanted to share. : )

  32. Dani,
    I know what a big decision this is! When I signed my lease I felt sick to my stomach and scared out of my wits. But, also, I had never felt so alive. It's daunting, for sure. And you'll get a ton of opinions pointing to one direction or another. But listen to your gut. Do your homework. Reach out to other shop owners for advice.

    I can tell you that it will be a ton of work. But if it's your passion, it will never feel like work :)

    Good luck with your decision! I have no doubt that you can and will succeed at anything your set your heart and mind to.

  33. Creating a business plan might help with making your decision :) It's a lot of work, but is a great reality check... plus it will help with getting a loan from the bank. If after doing it and seeing the feasibility you still think it's a an okay risk, then go for it!

  34. I will pray that the Lord gives you peace about it with whatever you decide. :) hugs.

  35. @Kat, I totally agree with the business plan recommendation. It's a lot of work but WORTH IT in the knowledge you gain by working out all the details on paper.

  36. I think that's a good idea! And you have such an aesthetic taste that I think it would definitely be successful! I mean, just look at your blog! I'm sure plenty of people would say that about having such a successful blog and following. It's something everyone tries but very few are good at. I think you have what it takes girl!

    What kind of shop would it be? Have you seen the consignment shop: Dots &Loops? (http://www.facebook.com/dotsandloopshandmade) They just opened and have been doing well so far, they post lots of pictures online and seem to be getting a whole community together of local/online sellers to support them. Also, by doing consignment you can open a shop that doesn't have to put in that initial investment on inventory. Just an idea~

    P.S. that cash register is beautiful !

  37. I have no advice or experience to help, but I would love to open my own store one day too, I just think it would be so much fun! PS amazing cash register...

  38. @Jennie Louise

    Taking a risk is what business is all about.
    Just be sure it is a Calculated Risk.
    You should know what to do if everything goes to pot. Can you pick up the pieces? Will that put you in the poor house.

    I have owned more than one business. The ones that did poorly were the ones that I did not dig into deep enough. When I first started out.

    Rule #1Follow the advise of successful business owners only. Nobody else. Please repeat that. If you don't do anything else.
    Do #1

    Getting into a long lease, if shop closes you still have to pay rent or some sort of buyout. Know those $$$Numbers ahead of time.

    And if you were to ask me, be sure do not do a partnership with anyone. I have not read anywhere in your plan about a partner, but just in case I missed it. That's a quick way to end a friendship.

    That's all of my rant.
    Well except I have also learned if you make a business out of what you love, you more than likely will hate it in the near future.

    Rule 2 if you want to have less stress. Do a business where you personally do not have to be there, for it to make money. The choices are endless. Your blogging comes to mind

    Ok, I'm done now.
    Mark retired at 45 years old. Traveling the USA in a motorhome.

  39. If you're one day going to regret NOT opening up a store, then you should definitely go for it. You have a lot going for you, too - you're young and don't have kids yet to support, so you are in a good place in your life to take this risk! I know you'll do well!

  40. I'm in rural ny, and one thing that i've seen make or break a business is parking. But I say go for it. My husband and I are currently making out business plans to start a Christian coffee house (also often viewed as a business sure to fail!) But we feel we'd regret it if we didnt' try. Also, the counties in our area offer business classes for a small fee. Definately worth it!

  41. Have you been to the OC Mart Mix? When I went there it totally made me think of the type of stuff you sell! I think they still have some open spaces since it's relatively up and coming: http://www.theocmartmix.com/


Friends, Thank you so much for reading + supporting my blog, and for taking the time to leave me a comment. Your comment support truly means so much to me. Have a lovely day! xo, danni