Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking The Show On The Road

In Monday's post, I talked about my plans to have a "Satellite Zoe" at the Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS) Big Top Country Market event on Saturday, October 15th.  With the exception of taking a few of Zoe's things with me when I spoke to the BIAGO women's group last month, it was the first time I had truly taken "the show on the road".

The first thing I had to do was make sure that Zoe's bricks and mortar location could stay open while I was at the event.  My wonderful friend Janice agreed to take care of Zoe while I was away for a few hours.  Knowing Zoe would be in capable hands, I then focused my planning on the event itself.

Part of the challenge was determining not only what I needed from an administrative standpoint but also what merchandise I wanted to take out of the store for that day.  Of course, my trusty lists with their ever present checkboxes were started as I had quiet periods during the day in the store.

As I made the administrative list, I quickly realized that I was missing a few key things - a sales receipt book (so that I could note what inventory was sold and also give the customer a copy of the receipt), a cash "box", and more change!  It was off to Staples (and a dispatch of Jim to the bank) to take care of those missing items.  Of course, I also had to pack bags, tissue paper, business cards, contact cards...everything you'd have at a regular cash desk.

Then it was time identify the appropriate merchandise.  I wanted to focus on items under $100 (in case people were only paying in cash).  I also considered the fact that people often are starting to look for gifts at this time of year.  I also wanted to have a subset of items that would be representative of the kinds of things I carry in the store.  The list was growing....

On Friday evening, I packed up as much as I could prior to leaving the store.  On Saturday, Jim and I first came to the store so that I could have things set up and ready to go for Janice.  Then we loaded the car and headed to ACDS.  Jim helped me unload and I set up my table.

In the same room where I was located (many of us had chosen to be inside after learning that it would be very windy on Saturday) was a stationary vendor, a woman who made painted pottery, a Stella and Dot table, a woman selling Macaroons, and two women selling flavored nuts.  The event started promptly a 10 am and ended at 3 pm.

Janice checked in with me mid-day with a sales report from Zoe's bricks and mortar location!  I was finishing with a customer when the phone rang and was at first panicked!  What was wrong?  But it was good news and things were going smoothly for her!

At 3 pm, I started taking down Zoe's temporary location (could this be equated to a Pop Up Shop?)  Jim arrived soon after to pack us up and take us back to Zoe.  Unload (again) and catch up with Janice on the activities at the store that day.

The event was worthwhile, especially for a new business like mine that is working to get the word out about who we are, where we are, and what we offer.  I had the opportunity to hand out a number of business cards, tell people about the store, and make some sales of the merchandise I had brought to the event.  An added bonus - one of my in-store customers was wearing a great Sweater Coat she had purchased at the store and people had asked her where she had purchased it!  When she told them, I had several people come to me to ask if I still had it and, if so, what sizes were available?   The best advertising is a happy customer.

Cute moment of the week:  My 2 year old niece, Allison, has a video called Minnie's Bow-tique.  My brother told me that she was recently walking through the house saying "Minnie's Bow-tique, Aunt Susan's Bow-tique."  She thinks I sell Bows.  And that is quite alright.


  1. Great post! I'm so glad you had a successful day (in both locations). I'm smiling thinking of your store filled with bows. :)

  2. Juice, when he told me that story, I couldn't stop smiling the whole day. She also calls the store "Zo-zee".