I started Blue Labels Boutique a little over one year ago. And it's everything that I've ever wanted to do. I get to shop for fearless fashionistas, report fashion news, work as a stylist, take photos, meet new people. The list goes on and on. At this time, we are strictly an online store. And that's where it is now BUT that definitely isn't the goal. Goals of opening brick and mortar stores, creating my own line are just a few tiny little goals I have planned. And although, I've had the great pleasure of meeting my customers through social media, chat, and phone...I decided that it was time to get out and actually MEET customers. Interact with you, share a tip, personally hand over your purchase, answer questions face to face, etc. How exciting would that be? I decided to find a place a place to pop up where you can shop. So I reserved a spot at a local open market, packed up merchandise, and set up shop. And here's how it went:
The night before the big sale, my fiancé and I went to check out the location. We were unable to get the space number but we walked around to get an idea of what the space would be like. I found one that was open where a woman was loading her stuff into a store front rental. After looking at it I was excited that it looked like an actual storefront instead of being like an parking space style, like the ones on the other side.
The next morning, we arrived at the market at around 7:30am. I went into the office and was given a receipt with my space number. After driving around for 20 minutes looking for the storefront number that corresponded with the space number on the receipt, we were baffled. We couldn't find it. After asking two useless employees who flat out said, "I have no idea where it is ma'am". I finally found someone who was generous enough to hop in a golf cart and show us the way. When he pulled up to a parking spot style rental I thought he was making a pit stop. We waited in the car and he comes to the window and says, "This is it". I'm instantly worried. This isn't what I rented, I rented the storefront style, right? Nope...this is what I paid for. Fear instantly kicked in because I planned on decorating this storefront like nobody else's business. My car was packed with mannequins, signs, rugs, vases...you name it. The Blue Labels Boutique booth was gonna be hot! My fiancé looked at my face, "What you gonna do?" Although my nerves kicked in and I was worried because this isn't what I planned, I answered, "I'm going to do it". My motto is, "feel the fear and do it anyway" Can't back out now, right? We pulled into the spot and started unloading the car. Although there were lots of things that I had to leave in the car, due to my unforeseen misunderstanding, it took a while to unpack everything.
After about an hour and half, everything was neatly folded and ready to go.
My pop up shop was open for business!
The market opened at 10am and I'm ready to go! 15 minutes later...I realized that I forgot to bring chairs. So we pulled out the crates that the clothes came in. Until our nice neighbor came by and gave us some chairs. Note to self: bring chairs next time.
I didn't have to wait too long for my first customer. At 10:46am, I made my first sale! It was great to have a conversation with the shopper. She showed me the things she liked and complimented the inventory. Off to a great start!
It was so nice to actually see my customers and interact with them. I was hooked! I greeted walker by-ers and people "just looking". 11:30 hit and I made my second sale! The next few hours we only had a few people even walk down our aisle. Sale #3...1:39pm. That was the last sale that I was able to take note of the time because business was off to bang after that! Answering questions, bagging new purchases, rearranging inventory, answering questions about our e-commerce store, sizes, etc. I met some really nice people who have been working at the open market and they gave some really helpful selling tips. There was alot going on. Before I knew it, the clock showed 4:30pm and it was time to start shutting it down. I smiled from ear to ear as my fiancé and I packed up the remaining inventory to get ready to head home. Before I finished getting everything up, a woman who previously purchase a top came back over and said, "You have some great pieces! Are you going to be here tomorrow?" Those two sentences right there confirmed what I was already feeling. The shopping experience went great and the customers enjoyed their pretty dresses, tops, nail polish and all of the other fab merchandise that wee had available at the shop. I smiled, "I will be back next week, for sure!"
If you are thinking about selling at an open air market, here are some quick tips:
- Be prepared to sit around and wait for customers to show up. My fiancé was sitting here waiting to help me with customers. It was hot and humid but he didn't make one complaint. Thanks bae!
- Bring a table, unless you are willing to rent one for a small fee.
- The day is long. Make sure you pack a cooler with drinks and snacks. Or bring extra money to hit up the concession stand.
- Wear comfortable clothes. It gets very hot in Texas. My tank, skirt, and sandals were perfect for the warm weather.
- Properly display the prices so there's no question about how much things cost.
- Be prepared for long durations of waiting.
- Be sure to confirm exactly what type of facility you rented. Check it out prior to the day you are set to sell.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. The other vendors around were extremely helpful and willing to answer any questions.
Have lots of inventory. The bigger the selection, the more options for the customer.
Thanks to all of my customers who came out to shop with me! Who's knows where the shop will pop up next. Make sure to follow us on Facebook.com/bluelabelsboutique, Twitter: @shopbluelabels to stay updated on our next location.