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Thread: Shop advice

  1. #1
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    Default Shop advice

    Having worked flat out all year on making and selling jewellery at craft fairs, galleries and online, I'm beginning to wonder whether life may be easier if I had a shop and made and sold from there. I'm so tired of lugging my stuff around to fairs, only to find that yet again I've picked the wrong show for my work. I've been doing this for nearly 10 years now and it's not getting any easier.

    Does anyone have any useful advice on the pros and cons of running a shop please.

  2. #2
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    I seem to remember that Nic put some alarming figures on a post about the cost of running a shop...it may have been someone else...but it was way back in the early days of the forum. I know it shocked me though!

    Found it!! http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/5667-post3.html
    Last edited by Solunar Silver Studio; 01-11-2009 at 08:20 AM. Reason: adding link

  3. #3
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    I have this same thought process from time to time if I see a nice little empty shop up for grabs - but having had a fabric, haberdashery and craft shop for 6 years (the term of the lease, I couldn't wait to get out when it was up) I swore I would never go that route again. I lived in a perpetual state of stress. Looking back on it now, I was incredibly unhappy then.

    I would however like either an art market stall, one or two days a week, or one of the little workshops in a complex - but there's nothing available near me and I'm on various waiting lists, so that won't happen any time soon.

    The problem with a shop - as Nic pointed out in that post linked to - is that you have regular costs every month that you have to cover - rent, rates, insurance, utilities etc. and they're alarmingly big numbers. If you have a couple of days of bad weather, or there are some roadworks nearby that divert traffic - any little thing can make a huge dent in your takings and make it hard to cover your outgoings.

    My shop was doing well in the first year, it was a little town with 2 banks and a selection of typical small town shops. First one bank closed that branch - that hit me tangibly immediately. Then after 6 months, the other closed. That killed the town. Totally dead. I was one of very few business that actually survived, I was surrounded by boarded up shops. I only survived in the end because I did sewing alterations and was an agent for a dry cleaner.

    Imagine your household costs - your mortgage and utilities, rates and insurance - add those up and add some - that's how much more you have to sell just to stand still. Then add to that the commitment of having to be up every day to be there - you can't ring in sick unless you employ someone - you can't fit in trips to places like the dentist etc. without making arrangements and if you want to go on holiday - you either take a huge hit in your takings for closing, or have to make other arrangements - and trust someone with your business.

    Sorry to sound all doom and gloom - I just want you to think about the huge commitment and undertaking that it is - having done it, I wouldn't want to open myself up to that level of perpetual daily stress again. And I have to remind myself about it every time I see a cute little shop with a 'to rent' sign up.

  4. #4
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    Birmingham, UK
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    Default

    I don't have a shop as such, but running any business has its drawbacks. It can rule your life, become a millstone around your neck, be stressful and be a huge commitment as Boo commented - but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

    The downs are low and the ups are high - it's challenging but look at the alternative, working for somebody else? - stuff that! (for me anyway!)

  5. #5
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    That was a useful link, thanks.

    At the moment I do online selling (notonthehighstreet and my own site), selling in galleries, both local and "up country" and selling at craft fairs and from my studio. I also do jewellery classes and jewellery parties. I just feel I'm spending my whole life running around from pillar to post. The only thing left that I haven't tried yet is my own shop and I think it would be great if customers came to me rather than the other way around.

    Living in this part of the country I'd be certain of good trade for at least 8 months of the year. In the quieter winter months I'd need to be making for the busy Christmas period, so I think it would work out OK. I've seen a cute little shop in a local fishing village and the rent is quite reasonable. There's a room at the back for making as well. My hubby isn't too keen though, so I'll need to think long and hard.

  6. #6
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    I've just re-read my last post and deleted it, as I felt I wasn't qualified to answer the question. Gaffe of the day I think

    I'll get my coat...
    Last edited by Petal; 02-11-2009 at 11:06 AM.
    Jules

  7. #7
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    Sweden
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    This is an interesting thread. I have only just started and every place I've tried selling so far seems hard. I sell on Etsy (=hard to get noticed), tried one art fair (my jewelry seemed to upscale for it), tried to sell in shops (got many no's and one maybe), and sold to friends and colleagues.

    I still think the selling in other shops has possibly the highest potential, with the least time spent. Art fairs or Christmas markets too, if you manage to find the right ones, as others pointed out. What I haven't tried yet are jewelry parties. Our house is located a bit off, not close to a subway or anything. I don't think anyone would come!

    Your own shop sounds nice, but is probably a lot of work..
    SilverBlueberry.etsy.com

  8. #8
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    Hi Carole
    If you want to ask me about anything in particular about running a small shop then feel free to PM me. Once I've sorted out the back log from being away for a week I can go through my past few years account statements and help you with costings
    Nicx
    Monthly FREE entry giveaways on Blogs!
    Shop Blog: http://muranosilver.blogspot.com/
    Silver Clay Blog: http://pmctips.blogspot.com/
    View images of my work on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/muranosilver

  9. #9
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    Oct 2009
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    This went through my mind earlier in the year, I also had a great deal of experience in looking at craft fairs etc back in 2002, I decided back then that I could not be doing with all the lugging about and hassle not to mention the "tat" that is now on sale claiming to be handcrafted a numerous events. I took the plunge in March this year and I have to say was the best move I ever made and should have done it 10 yrs ago. I am having the time of my life in terms of daily satisfaction. The only thing I intend to do is get a bigger premises once (if I ever) grow out of the one I have. I have a 750 sq ft unit on a new business park , there are 50 unit's / offices in our little complex and it's like a small community in itself. In addition to which it has the largest cafe/ diner for miles around thats open 6 days a week . It's right next to the local swimming pool and post office and I get terrific foot fall even though its not a high st shop. The overheads are great and I had worked it out to do 6 fairs a month + travel expenses etc. I'm quids in. I now teach workshops and classes most days and hold regular taster nights and events.
    As an offer to any forum member ~~ If you are ever passing or want to arrange a Southern Cooksons forum meet then just shout # details are thru my website ~~ light refreshments on me. Be brilliant to put some faces to names

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the offer Nic. If I do decide to take the plunge, you may live to regret that offer!

    That was interesting Carl. It's good to hear some positive news. I agree that for the price of a few good shows, I could pay the rent on a shop.

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