Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Decisions, Decisions, Part 2

Those of you who have been following my blog know that I've been trying to decide whether I follow my heart and focus on my shop (Mr. P's Emporium) full-time or whether I go back to work full-time.  As I talked about in this post, having a vintage shop has always been a dream of mine, but I'm trying to also be practical. 
Many thanks to those of you who have offered advice and encouragement.  Right now I've decided to give it another six months, while also seeing if I can pick-up some freelance work. (If you know anyone who needs some marketing done, send them my way!)  I'm going to be in the Lucketts Spring Market in May, so I will be spending a lot of time in the next few months finding and painting furniture anyway.
One thing I have definitely decided is that my current location just isn't right for me.  Although business has picked up since I moved to the more visible spot, (I just sold a dresser that was up front) in the long run the mall just does not attract my target customer.  I also don't like the way my space looks crammed in with no definition from my neighbors (other than the backs of one of my neighbor's display units!). 

And the fact that I stock a lot of "smalls" because that's what sells in this this mall, makes the space look cluttered since I have no room for a big display piece. They have to be on the furniture,  and I can't highlight pieces the way I'd like to.
So, I've decided to move. But here's where my current problem:  I've found two, totally different, great spaces to choose from--and I'm having a hard time deciding which would be best for me.
The first is a beautiful new location that has opened near Lucketts, next to a shop that is already a destination for painted furniture.  A former vendor from my current location has moved in already and loves it.  The space would be a bit more than twice the size of my current space, and about $200 more a month.  That's a big leap of faith.  And although the store is definitely targeted to my customer, there is a lot more for the shopper to choose from between the new store and its neighbor.  My pieces would really have to stand out.  Plus the store is brand new and has no track record.  But it is gorgeous, the woman running it is extremely talented, and it's in a great location, so I'm sure it will be successful.
The second is much closer to my home (Lucketts is about an hour away), and draws from a good demographic area.  It is a combination antique mall and home store with new furniture (two sides of the same building).  They also offer upholstery services.  There are a couple of painted furniture vendors in the mall, and the owner keeps them up front because they attract in customers.  (There is nothing like a Lucketts anywhere in the area, which is why people travel the distance to go out there.)  There are two spaces I am looking at.  One is right in the window and is bigger than my current space and $60 cheaper.  The other is up front,  and is about the square footage of the space in the other building I'm looking at, but the rent is the same amount as I'm paying for my current space (for more than twice the size).  The lease is just month-to-month, so if it doesn't work I'm not stuck in the space for a long time. 
So, you see my dilemma?  I'm weighing the pros and cons of each -- and any of you who would like to weigh in with advice I'd love to hear it!  I need to make up my mind in the next week or so.

Decisions, decisions ... again!



  1. I say go for the space near Lucketts.. if you need a "partner" just let me know! Also I just picked up a nice primitive display shelf, no back, if you need a piece to display your smalls... I think you have a wonderful talent and you will be successful no matter what! - Susan

  2. Hard call. I say follow your heart. I have never had a booth (although I'd love it) so I have know idea about the costs. You'll do fine where ever you go and it seems like a positive move no matter what. Look forward to a follow up!

  3. My choice would be to save capital by taking the window unit close to home. Pour your profits into pieces for a successful showing in May at Lucketts Spring Market. Since it’s a month to month you have no risk and may end up with two booth spaces in six months. One close to home and one an hour away near Lucketts. Talk about a leap of faith . . . yeah baby.

  4. I agree with Lynn! I have a booth in an antique mall and I'm in the hole financialy....moving out shortly. It's just not my market. I have a place, it's a home store in the opposite direction that is a combo of new and used home furnishings..part is owner occupied and she has several rooms she rents. She has sold 12 of my tables in the last 6 weeks (on consignment) I'd love to get a room there but she's full. It's all about finding the right market for you. Good luck.

  5. I vote for the one close to home! I like the sound of it. I surely wish I lived close. I think I love the table in your book that is a kitchen one with the drawer. The month to month deal is very seductive, plus the close to home aspect. It will be easier to keep it stocked and refreshed. Mary in Dallas TX

  6. It sounds like you have a lot of options and would offer this, no matter where you are located you are going to have to market yourself and give your customers time to find you. Is the merchandise you offer priced higher at one location or the other? If so you might want to take that into consideration along with the gas and time it would take to get to and from your booth space. Having been a booth renter in many malls I can tell you that the location and size/configuration of your booth can have a great impact on your sales if you keep it interesting and freshen it up each week. It sounds like the mall close to your home has a market for painted pieces but then again what is 'a lot' to a mall owner might not be to you. I am currently in a mall that is quite stodgy and am having to work hard to keep the mall owner in check about my 'different'inventory. Its not fun but I have a great booth space now and will work at it to see how it goes. It is difficult to make good money at a mall unless you have tons of inventory or are the owner. Good luck.

  7. I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons as to which spot is best for you all around, recognizing that very few of us are getting rich in this business. However, we do want to make money and it might take time to develop a following. I need to stop by your current location and check out your booth.
    Mary Alice

  8. Thanks to you all for your advice. Still weighing the pros and cons of both locations, but have to make a decision next week!

  9. Hi Deborah. I gotta say, I'm leaning toward Lucketts. That area has such a following. I'm not sure of your second choice. Somewhere in Fairfax? I can't tell from the description. Hmmm, wonder why I don't know about it, and if I don't know about it, my antiquing friends don't know about it either. Inquiring minds... But on a whim (tee hee) I'd say go with Lucketts!

  10. Good luck with your decision! That's a hard one. :(


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