Monday, January 3, 2011

Fresh Start

I don't set resolutions. Probably because I know its unlikely I will stick to them.  But what I do like about celebrating New Years is the feeling of pressing the reset button. NYE is a sort of finish line allowing us to take stock, manage progress over the past year, access what needs to change. I applied this to my business even though Gumdrop Swap's boutique has not been open a full year (opened April 6th). And I determined that I was not addressing the needs of every time of customer that Gumdrop Swap can appeal to.

The key to being a successful small business is being able to adapt. Over these 8 months as a retail store owner I have learned a lot about my community and the type of customers I attract. I was surprised at how many people come in  looking for gift for a family member, co-worker, and friend. I prominently place all new items that have tags out so they're easy to access to those kind of shoppers. And I offer free gift wrap, box or bags. I even showcase samples of gift baskets and socks rose bouquets which can be custom ordered.

I initially designed the business for large families who have been storing (read: hoarding) clothing and other baby wares in their home. I figured they would benefit most. They would be so happy to clean out closets, basements, and attics and be able to get things and clothing the kids needed in return. And these families immediately saw the value in a 3 month membership to the Swap & Save Club.

But I had not anticipated people would be turned off by the commitment. I would hear things like "Well, I need to go home and go through the kids closets" (as if they were unsure if they'd have anything to swap) and I thought to myself, "Um, ok, unless your kids are done growing, they are going to outgrow some things in the next few months." Or, people would say "I wish I knew about this before! I just gave away a bunch of stuff." I had to figure out how to motivate those people to come swap even only a few items at a time. The whole idea is to get you all to stop hoarding and waiting. So, I decided to revamp the Gumdrop Swap business model slightly to hopefully appeal to all.

I got to dust off my arsenal of art/design skils (disclaimer: so out of practice) to create a few simple illustrated steps. So I present them to you here. (click on it to open separately and control speed of slides etc)

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