Thursday, June 23, 2011

Well, I am about 8 months into this adventure and already it feels like I’ve been doing this forever. We’ve made it through Grad season with only two supplier issues. Both were solved with happy customers. Brides now are coming in for next summer’s weddings. We finally have summer here in Saskatchewan and the word is starting to get out that we have business wear and shoes and jewellery available as well.

As always there are the challenges of owning the business and the building. Thanks to the arrival of summer the air conditioning needed to be serviced. Now we are looking at a new roof and before fall we’ll need to seriously do something about the furnace. So it’s still scary.  
All and all I am pretty happy with how business is going.
Now the retired gown lists have begun to arrive. My primary Bridal and Grad suppliers – Bonny, Venus, Jordan, Mon Cheri, Dessy – have already announced the styles they will no longer support and cut off dates.  Casablanca never retires their gown – thank goodness! I haven’t heard yet from Mary’s or the others. But so far I have about 30 gowns in stock that I can no longer order. On the upside, I have thousands of dollars in new styles of gowns (that have already started to arrive!) to fill in those gaps for the fall season.
Yes, the irony got me also. The first day of summer was 2 days ago, and my fall stock is already arriving. lol That’s retail for you.
Anyway, it leaves the question of what to do with these gowns. And the other stock in the store for that matter. I buy this stock from my suppliers, I cannot send it back as unsold. It is up to me to successfully retail my samples and hopefully turn a profit. So . . . bring on the sale!
Yesterday was therefore spent making certain any new fall arrivals were hidden away, making window signage to let people know about the amazing deals now to be had, changing out my window displays to make the signs work and highlight Canada day and putting up in store signage to clarify what was on sale.

Yes, I know the reflection is bad, but what do you think?
Due to my supplier agreements I cannot put my jewellery or Wedding Star items on sale. But everything else can go. And realistically must go in order to make space for the new fall items.
I promised you a look into the ‘behind the scenes’ workings of this store and things like this are challenges faced by every retailer. How much of a discount is required to entice new customers in the door without losing money. Hopefully still making some kind of profit on our stock, even if it is substantially lower then originally budgeted for. What is fair? 10%? 15%? More?
Since I have a standing policy of 20% off when a bride or grad chooses to take home a sample gown, I decided 25% would work. Is that enough do you think? I really can’t go much higher without dancing on the edge of not making anything on this stock. And going to high really devalues the stock itself.
We will wait and see and pray. My new roof will be about $12,000. This stock needs to sell! J
Oh, and would you like to see my fancy schmancy signs my Cricut helped me create? Yep, being a closet scrapbooker can be a business skill after all!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Borrowed from Dave Ramsey - Financial Peace in wedding planning!

5 Ways to Keep Your Wedding from Breaking the Bank

Going in debt for your big day is not worth it

from on 28 Mar 2008
From engagement parties to bridal showers to wedding dresses to photography and flowers, weddings can quickly spiral out of control when it comes to money. Today the average wedding costs more than $26,000, making it easily one of the costliest milestones a couple will encounter.
Too many couples get caught up with the "dream wedding" concept and end up thousands of dollars in debt. By starting your marriage off on the right financial foot, you will avoid a lot of heartaches and arguments.
If you're one of the thousands of couples planning on getting married in the near future (or if you were recently married), here are a few tips on how to ease some of the financial stresses that a wedding and a marriage can bring.
  1. Talk - No Secrets Allowed!

    Discuss what each of you is bringing to the table in the financial arena. Be very open and honest with one another about your dollars. When it comes to money, never keep secrets. Your future spouse needs to know what kind of financial commitments you have.
  2. Create a Budget

    Once you have talked about where each of you stands financially, the next step is to create a budget. Sit down together and make two budgets, one for your wedding, and one for life after your wedding. Knowing where all your money is going will ease a lot of unnecessary stress and worry. Plus, this will unite the two of you because you will be setting goals together.
  3. Set Limits - Practice Saying "No"

    You must refuse to go into debt for your wedding; it's just not worth it. The average cost of a wedding rises each year, so review your wedding budget often and practice saying "no" to the things that don't work. You may have certain wants for your wedding, but always ask yourself if they are realistic for your budget. Allow yourself to dream about your wedding and then find ways to make those dreams a financial reality. If it doesn't fit in the budget, then you have to say "No!"
  4. Be Realistic

    Just remember that you're planning for a wedding - which is the beginning of your marriage. The wedding is not the "be all and end all" of your lives together, so you need to keep your priorities in check. Too often, couples anxiously await the wedding day and don't put any thought into what comes after the wedding- the marriage! Plan ahead by getting on the same page with money and setting financial goals together. The wedding is great, but that's only the beginning.
  5. Go through Financial Peace University

    Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program will change your life! Start your marriage off right by discussing the topics in the class together! You will learn how to get rid of debt, figure out what types of insurance you need and how to plan for your future so you can retire a millionaire. Hundreds of thousands of families have benefited from the program, which teaches couples to communicate about money, something that few couples do often enough.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Over the past six months I’ve come to realize that most women seem to carry around a cracked mirror. It’s a reflection only they can see and it showcases only their ‘flaws’. It seems to make no difference the weight, age, shape or nationality. They walk into my store and ask for something that will hide ‘the flaw’. They step in front of the three way mirror and see only ‘the flaw’.  Some stand way back from the mirror, not even stepping on the stage. They seem to be almost afraid of what they will see.  It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to watch a woman of any size stress over that flaw.  And as an outsider, there seems to be nothing I can do but help to find clothes that minimize 'the flaw' and maximize their assets.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Some answers are obvious. The bride whose mother says “You can’t buy that dress. Your butt looks huge!” The women for whom the years have taken more of a physical toll then is fair. The teen who seems to be fighting a losing battle with her weight. And some are just simple body shape concerns. You’ve heard the terms the “apple”, the “pear”, the “rectangle”.  These are the women that, if anything, it is easy to help. Gowns with a princess cut to emphasize the waist, tops with blingy detailing to draw the eye upward, skirts just the right length to make the leg look longer, ruched in just the right spot to create that hourglass, an empire waist to help hide a baby belly.

But then there are the girls and women who have the figures the rest of us envy. The 5’9” girl who is frustrated because she’s too tall. The 36/24/36 who is convinced her hips are “huge”. The slender leggy woman who feels ‘shapeless’. The petite woman who feels like she looks like a little girl playing dress up no matter what she trys on.

I’ve had these and more in my store in the past few months. And I wonder, how do I help these women see how beautiful they are when all they can see is that cracked mirror?

 When I decided to purchase this store I made a choice to be the salesperson I would want to deal with. In other words, not a salesperson at all, but to play the role of a good friend you can count on to be honest no matter what. I will never tell a woman she looks great in something just to make a sale.  By the same token I do practice tact and I will not tell you you look like crap lol. But if it’s totally the wrong colour or cut or style I will suggest you try on something different.

When these women come into my store, most especially the ones with the horribly cracked mirrors, we play dress up. We talk about how each gown or suit or dress works or doesn’t work. And item by item I do what little I can to help with those cracks so they can see the beautiful women they really are.

Every woman of every age and body type should have at least one thing in their closet that makes them feel beautiful. And I really hope I can help with that.

The real trick is when they can stand in front of a mirror naked and realize the same thing. No matter what you may think your mirror says, we are all beautiful to someone. And that first someone should be ourselves.