Successful shopkeeping means paying attention to so many details.  For example, what does your restroom say about your store? This one, at a branch of the women’s clothing store Chico’s, says: we will never, ever run out of paper towels.   Is this really the main message they want to convey?  By using the customer… Read More


I have just ventured to the seamy side of the wholesale gift market…a closeout show.  Have you ever wondered where the dollar stores go to buy their merchandise? It certainly isn’t the Atlanta Gift Show or the New York Gift Fair, where vendors try to outdo each other with the newest, brightest and best merchandise.… Read More


Forget New Year’s resolutions, the Rose Bowl, or black-eyed peas as New Year’s traditions.  In our shop, New Year’s means one thing: inventory.  It’s all hands on deck to physically count everything that is still on hand after the holidays.  To avoid a mutiny, we now do inventory on the Sunday after New Year’s Day,… Read More


The home page for lululemon athletica, a chain of stores selling technical clothing for yoga, dancing and running, does not show any of its products. Instead it features rotating images of its customers talking about what what inspires them in life.  This type of relationship retailing, rather than hard sellling, is typical of the creative… Read More


Every family has its holiday traditions, and many of ours revolve around working at our store.  Although Katrina doesn’t look very happy at the prospect of being part of the Christmas season at Orange Tree Imports in this photo, as a young adult she’s actually quite nostalgic about all the time she and her brother… Read More


We entered the social networking world of Facebook last week, and I’m slowly watching the number of “fans” of my store increase. I hadn’t really thought about using Facebook or MySpace to reach new customers, but we’ve taken the plunge (thanks to my son Erik, who created the two videos on our page while he… Read More


What I want to know is, why do so many retailers act as if they are in a witness protection program when it comes to showing their face on their store’s web site? We know that successful independent retailing is all about forming personal relationships, so it stands to reason that you need to let… Read More


Three of the top factors in choosing a line of merchandise today may be that old retail adage: location, location, location. The cost of freight is of course one of the considerations in giving preference to a supplier that is not on the other side of the country, but another major advantage of buying from… Read More


"Thousands of jostling, combative women began lining up at 2 a.m. at Sainsbury’s stores one night for the chance to buy £ 5 shopping bags that had been advertised in various fashion magazines and were printed with the words "I am not a plastic bag,"  according to Sarah Lyall, author of The Anglo Files.  It… Read More


Does Etsy.com get your vote as one of the most innovative marketing web sites? That probably depends on whether they are competing with your shop for customer dollars, or allowing you to find new and unusual sources for handmade merchandise — and perhaps even a new way to supplement your store’s sales.  I recently discovered a… Read More