Thursday, February 26, 2009

Retail Therapy: Truly

Truly (White Bear Lake, MN)
+ Sherrie and Samantha, Owners
+ 5 employees including Sherrie and Samantha
+ Work around 30 hours/week
+ Wrote a biz plan
+ Doors opened on October 7th 2006
+ 15% off your purchase with promocode "ihearthandmade"

>> Think you're ready to open up a shop? Read on and find out what really goes on behind the register...

1. Name one thing that completely took you by surprise when you first started the shop - something that neither biz how-to books or any "SCORE" workshop prepared you for.

Sher - all the many decisions that constantly need to be made and you have to make them.

Sam – how you really need to plan in advance, it takes allot of forethought. Holidays are always popping up and you need to be ready weeks before that day which means ordering weeks before that!

2. How long did it take you to set up the shop? Start from the day you said to yourself I'm opening a shop to the day your doors opened.

6 months to the day

>> click here to continue reading about Truly

3. Where there any stand out books, resources or tools that were really helpful during the planning phase or even up until now?

Only our gut…

4. Some say that the best business partners complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. Can you illustrate this balance using 3 points.

This is very true for us:
Sam – the communicator
Sher – the listener

Sher – methodical in her thinking
Sam – impulsive & high strung

Sher – good at gathering information/research
Sam – good at processing and implementing

Sam – a numbers person
Sher – not a numbers person

>> So you think your goods are perfect for Truly?

5. Do most of the other designers you carry approach you, or do you actively seek out new designers/crafters? If so, where?

We actively seek out new vendors and we also get allot of seekers. we look everywhere and anywhere.

Online, on our travels, indie craft shows, some blogs are a great resource.

6. What is your process in choosing merchandise and what 3 things can artists do to stand out in your mind?

First we have to love it… and will it fit in the shop. artist who present their product well (tags, packaging, ect)… understand that the 60/40 doesn’t cut it and are flexible in their pricing, keep up with demand

7. Owning a shop means constantly wearing different hats. Here's how Sherrie and Samantha end up spending most of their time:

10% Buying
10% Marketing & Promo
40% Production & Operations (photos for site, hang-tags, display)
25% Customer Service
5% Fulfillment/Shipping
10% Accounting/Billing/Finances

8. You've been in business since 2006 - was there a year where you felt some kind of sigh of relief and felt confident that you weren't going to be part of a statistic? They say that in the restaurant business, you shouldn't expect to see any profit until your second year - is it the same for retail in your experience? What should aspiring store owners be prepared to expect?

No sigh of relief here… not yet, we started to feel the recession last December. but good news this December we were up!

9. How did you figure out how much inventory to buy for the very first time? What method did you use in figuring out your initial product mix/depth?

It was a difficult thing to figure out but you come as close as you can and just go for it. what we did was cut out pictures of the items and tacked them up on a board to see if we were too heavy in one area and to see our product mix together.

10. If Oprah decided to give you $10,000 tax free for your business, but you had to spend it in one week, what would you do with it?

We would pay down our loan and hire a visual marketing person to help with the outside, hallway and windows. we would also host a big party for our customers with free cupcakes, champagne and big discounts!

Heart Handmade Reader Discount:
15% off your purchase with promocode "ihearthandmade"

1. opal earrings $42
2. spring rings $15
3. little shopping book $6.95
4. chic ceramics $32
5. ducky ugling owls $18
6. handmade sculpture $8
7. made by angie wipe container $29
8. birthday book $6.95
9. book bag $16
10. fabuleux tray $29
11. sukie wallets $28

2175 4th Street
White Bear Lake
MN 55110

Thanks Sherrie and Samantha!!


Unknown said...

What a great little shop and I shall add it to my list of wonderful shops you have profiled here hun!

Learning Spanish at 41 said...

I appreciate their honesty and dedication. Six months to open a shop sounds like a long time but it really isn't. Well done, ladies! Nice interview/profile; I enjoy these on your blog...thanks!

Marichelle said...

Thanks Melis & Tina!

City Chic Country Mouse said...

This is a lovely shop! I am so happy they are in the Twin Cities area, where I am!

Anonymous said...

I have been in Truly and it truly is an awesome array of local and national talent. However, I have found the owners, especially the blonde one to be quite snooty. I think if they became more "people-oriented", their shop would just explode with potential.