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!

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