OK like just about everyone I wish we had had a summer worthy of the name. But for me predictable weather isn’t just about walking around with bare legs, no jacket and no umbrella, it’s also about knowing what the hell to offer customers.
The boutique is not a large space and so we want to offer a selection which is constantly changing but always seasonal and relevant – but what does that mean right now? Over the past 8 weeks we have sold a variety of items including leather jackets, blazers and knitwear as well as Chanel sunglasses and a large variety of sundresses. We want to offer what people want to buy and so have been rushing around changing the stock as the weather has changed – sometimes hour by hour. At times the rails have looked a little more full than is ideal in order to be able to offer everything which might be wanted. But the real challenge has been the windows!!
Your shop window has to attract people and persuade them that this is a place where they are likely to have fun shopping. Of course we want to sell the items in the window (and often do almost as soon as they go up) but we also want them to say – this shop stocks what is relevant to you so come on in.
Now I like changing the windows. I don’t know if I didn’t get to play with dolls enough as a child (or too much). I like to change the window at least twice a week if I can. I often find my mind wandering and visualising various items in the shop in a display. Sometimes if it’s a simple change I just text whoever is in the shop and ask them to make the change. But if it’s a more drastic change I wait until I get there to do it. Both because it’s fun and because sometimes the reality just does not live up to the idea and it needs to be changed again!!!
Last week a fantastic client left left a huge bag or lovely goodies for me to look through. I didnt have any time that evening but when I popped in at lunchtime I saw a fantastic Wheels & Dollbaby black and cream skull shirt dress – very Alexander McQueen and stunning. I immediately visualised it in the window and so called the client and arranged a price on it there and then and we changed the window. Bliss.
The rest of the client’s items were sorted at the weekend with other items taken in that week. She had some fantastic pieces – at least three of which (including the vintage Louis Vuitton satchel mentioned in Damn Damn Damn) sold within 48 hours.
While none of the sold items were said Wheels & Dollbaby dress (which is now back in the window) one was a lovely vintage 1980s layered skirt by Mondi which was in the window at the time. I had paired it with a yellow vintage top by Paul Simon which I am beginning to think is destined to be a bridesmaid all it’s life. That is the third time that top has been in the window and each time the bottom with which it was paired (a vintage 1980s Escada skirt and a 1950s pair of check cropped trousers in addition to the aforementined Mondi skirt) have sold from the window.
In fact it’s the fun of dressing the windows and getting to see the random treasures brought into the shop each week which is keeping me going at the moment. Business itself is absolutely grim. So here is wishing for some decent and predictable weather. Both so people want to go out shopping and so they can have some confidence that they will have an opportunity to wear whatever they buy!