Monday, July 25, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

Uh, yes.  And then some.  And I normally like hot weather.

The heat wave that pummeled the Washington DC area over the past week is not necessarily a good thing for the clothing business (the ice cream business and the bottled water business, definitely good for them!)  Especially if you aren't in an air conditioned walking space (like a mall).

Since I had started keeping a count of visitors to the store over the Christmas in July weekend, I decided to continue doing so during the heat wave week.  My data driven friends will be appalled because the methodology is me remembering to make a tick mark in my little notebook each time someone comes into the store.  Scientific, it is not.  Interestingly, pretty consistent numbers during the weekdays.  (Consistent in that there weren't many people).

Fortunately, I only experienced one day with no sales.  Which is pretty amazing considering that it was so hot that the streets were fairly deserted and when people did come in, they were too hot to try anything on.  On Thursday, I had two sets of people come in who had either been sent home from work (internet service was down due to heat) or told not to come in (business was so light they weren't needed).

I do keep the store cool (no AC issues this time around) but there isn't much one can do when it is too hot outside for people to venture out.  Many of my customers over the past week were previous customers who were looking for something new or wanted me to place a special order.  (Thank you, previous customers!)  But I also had the opportunity to meet some very nice new customers from the area, too.  When traffic is really light, you get to know people much better!

Of course, in the midst of the heat wave, my first major shipments of Fall clothes began to arrive.  As lovely as the fabrics, colors, and styles are, I felt confident that most would not be tried on last week.  I was actually surprised to sell two of the items that I had just unpacked!  And I also sold some denim during the week as well - another surprise.  I've learned so far that things are NEVER predictable!

Cher came in on Friday to take advantage of the air conditioning for a while.  I gave her one of my cold ginger ales to take with her.  And I invited my landlord's cleaner in on Friday afternoon - he had arrived early, hoping to get into their space to clean (his card doesn't work until after 5 pm) but didn't realize that they leave early on Fridays during the summer.  No sense in him standing out in the heat waiting for 5 pm to come!

On Saturday morning, I started to rearrange the store to move the remaining Spring and Summer Sale items to be grouped by size.  I hated how it looked (I like to keep things color-blocked together) so I moved it back.  On Sunday afternoon, I did move most of the XS/S/M/L items onto one of the temporary racks and grouped them by size so that I could start to put some of the Fall items out on the floor.  I can't say that I really like it but it is better.  Hoping that everyone will soon be in the mood for some "Back to School" shopping!

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