It’s been quite a week. Getting the Pop-up Shop ready to go was hard work. Carrie Rubin asked what a Pop Up Shop was and I flippantly replied that it was a shop that popped up and popped down again. Perhaps I should have gone a bit further and said we have a shop available to rent on a weekly basis by crafters, artists, charity fund-raisers and people who just want to sell their jumble. It’s a great idea begun several years ago by a lady who has since died. That shop has gone, but the idea has been resurrected in another further along the street. It gives people somewhere to showcase their work and make a bit of money, whilst the changeable nature of its contents brings people into the town out of sheer curiosity to see what is going on inside this week.
Each year, I think it will be easier to set up, but no two years are ever quite the same and different challenges arise. This week’s lessons (so far – still have today and tomorrow before I take the shop down!):
- Plan, but be flexible. Be prepared to change. This year we were in a different place. The shop was a different shape and it didn’t have a stick of furniture in it, so I planned what to take, what we would need for display and how it would look. But then I had the bright idea of asking a friend to bring in some of the furniture that he restores to display and sell. I had no control over what that might be and the end result was very different to the way I pictured it originally.
- Be patient. I am inclined to be impatient (No!). Waiting around for the previous shop to ‘pop down’, waiting for someone else to come out, waiting to get the keys – all very difficult. Well tough! Man up! (Woman up?) Smile and just wait, will you!
- That old adage ‘You can’t please all the people all the time’ still holds true. But you should plan to please some of them. Give them what they want, what they expect to see. They’re used to a shop that sells fairly cheap things most of the time. So put that stuff up front. This is all new, but the prices need to reflect what they’re used to or you will frighten them off. Hence the Bargain Box. A box for rummaging. Put the scary, expensive stuff nearer the back or up high in the window. Don’t put off the punters by trying to be too clever. And some of them are going to hate it all – you can’t please everybody.
- But stick to your style. Give them what they expect, but do it your way. Put some things out there which are more outrageous, pricier, stuff that challenges their ideas of what they want. And warn them via the window of what to expect. Give them a chance to take a deep breath before they stumble over the wilder ideas.
- Don’t panic – see yesterday’s post where I did. Thank you to all of you that commented with your words of wisdom and of encouragement. I was beginning to thing I’d gauged the market wrongly. It is a more difficult place. Money is tighter, things are harder, but usually I do well in my Pop Up week, taking my rent in the first morning. This year took longer. To be honest it was like pulling teeth – making that money from the Bargain Box took time. But we got there and I needn’t have worried. You were quite right. One really good morning makes a huge difference to the end result. See, I told you I was impatient!
So there are my five things. And they don’t just apply to selling my felts and silks. There is a lot here to take away for everyone, especially us as writers too. I think you can work out what I mean!
So what 5 things have you learned this week? Do share!