Today I’m on-call, but so far it’s fairly quiet, so I’m spending the day working on my business plan. I spent a lot of time on the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). My friend Amy, co-owner of Stella Says Go, a new shoe boutique here in Austin lent me her plan to look at, and it has so far proven to be invaluable, as I am so very new at this business thing.
It’s so hot out today, and I’m getting sick of wearing shorts all the time, so here’s what I came up with…remind me not to blow dry my hair with these necklaces on. This CHI dryer my best friend Libby inspired me to buy gets SO FRIGGING HOT.
Dress (worn as top): F21
Skirt: CoreylynnCalter, anthropologie
Shoes: Miss Sixty, Last Call
Necklaces: F21, Blue Elephant
The rest of the day, if I get zero calls, will be spent visiting local boutiques in the name of research. This kind of thing is pretty fun. My method is to shop around, count the clothes on the racks to get a sense of the amount of inventory they have, and then strike up a conversation with whoever seems like the owner. Since it’s a busy Saturday, the conversation may or may not be very helpful, but I plan to talk less to my direct competitors, and more to shops in the vicinity of where I plan to start my store. I’m mainly looking for the amount of customers people get in the area around South 1st street, how many customers are walk in, how many customers buy vs. how many are browsers, which days are the busiest, and then finally let them know my hope to move into the area. I want to establish positive relationships with my community to encourage the possibilities of cross-promotion, word of mouth marketing, etc. I guess it’s good to get the word out in any way I can.
My husband Paul was playing devil’s advocate this morning, suggesting I get a job at a retail store to brush up on my retail skills. Yes, ten years as a social worker has kind of driven me out of the retail mindset, but I just can’t wrap my head around working for someone again. Plus, there are very few places here that seem like fun places to work. I immediately imagined myself swiping a timecard at Anthropologie alongside 16 year-old girls, trying to resist the temptation to hang myself from an overpriced vintage-inspired chandelier with a braided leather belt. I just can’t do it. I am going to spend as much time as I possibly can picking my more experienced friends’ brains, maybe asking to fill in a few shifts at Amy’s store, taking online courses in fashion merchandising, and pounding the streets with my guerrilla research. I’m a pretty level-headed person and I am also really afraid of spending money, so I am not going to jump into anything unprepared. It’s hard asking for advice and having to sift through the good and the bad pieces. My instincts are being primed.
June 26, 2010