We often overhear people say "OMG! I would LOOOOOVE to have a store one day. It would be so much fun!" And we silently chuckle to ourselves because yes, it IS fun, but its also a boatload of un-glamorous, behind the scenes work.
And boxes. Lots and lots of boxes (and packing peanuts....UGH!) and broken nails. Your hands look and feel awful until January.
So, what is it really like to run a store during the holidays?
August- Look over last year's sales and review what sold well, how many items sold, what was the best price point and compare it to what has been selling well this year. Many times things sell well during the holidays that don't translate over the rest of the year. Finalize on window and store displays- which merchandise will go where.
September- Start putting together marketing- store events, graphics, email blasts, blog posts, etc. This is probably the hardest part because there are so many daily moving parts at the store- deliveries, customers, solicitors, ringing phone, emails, etc.
October- Have all orders placed, entered into the POS system and ready to go. As orders roll in, unpack, check for damages/ shortages and fill out any necessary claim forms. Cancel back ordered items that will not arrive in time. Order bags, ribbon, business cards, tissue, hang tags, labels... all of the pretties.
November- Likely getting daily deliveries of merchandise that needs to be unpacked, tagged and put out on the floor. This means mountains of boxes and peanuts. And lots of trips to the recycling dumpster. The store is likely in some sort of disarray with stuff everywhere as we unpack. Sorry! :D
Thanksgiving- As we approach this holiday, we are at the store long hours helping customers with last minute gifts and decor or hosting some fun events (you're on our email list, right?!).
December- Organized chaos; hoping that we ordered the right amount of merchandise that lasts through the season without too much carry over. It might mean keeping close eye on stock that can be ordered and received within a week. We often work 6 or 7 days a week, attend or host parties and pop-ups weekly, and just generally try to make it a fun shopping experience for our customers (hello, bourbon!).
Truthfully, its can be very taxing and we often miss out on making our own holiday magic at home, but this is our time to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. The amount of people we get to help and make happy make those under eye bags all worth it!
January- we sometimes hear people say that the store looks lean or bare. That's a good thing! That means that people were shopping and supporting our town! The amount of merchandise we stock for the holiday is double to triple our normal inventory to keep up with the amount of shoppers.
If you come by in the spring or summer, the store will look different. And again, its by choice to keep it open and airy, focusing only on core products.
So, after reading this, what do you think?
Could you hang?
Is shopkeep life what you thought it was?
Whatever the verdict, we sincerely thank you for nearly 7 years of Eclectic.
YOU are why we love what we do.