Our new GlamTribale shops at Building Character in Lancaster are evolving — but not according to plan. In the process of having a major crisis last Thursday night — when we had 24 hrs. to open for First Friday — my strategy for the spaces has changed quite a lot.
30 Dreadful Seconds
Imagine this. I was sitting on a chair painting the back wall a golden mocha color, engaged in a bit of a nirvana moment. Painting is almost as therapeutic as mowing the lawn — there’s something very tidy about accomplishing the task at hand with such clear signs of progress.
The table top was sitting on the pedestals away from the wall. Two full cups of coffee, a half-eaten muffin and a full gallon of paint sat on the unsecured table top — an action I will never repeat again in life. My business partner Robert was assembling the allegedly freestanding shelving units that went on the aisle when I heard a burst of profanity that wasn’t music to my ears.
The shelving units which were destined to house the majority of our inventory weren’t freestanding at all. We bought them unassembled and just in to Ikea that day. The website made no mention of screwing them into the wall, nor did the illustration.
Not believing what I was hearing, I turned around to see better what was going on, resting my elbow on the table top. That action sent the board flying into the air, taking with it a full can of paint, coffee and Robert’s muffin.
I was horrified as my lovely vision of our new shop dissolved before my eyes. There was nothing to do but punt. On Friday I grabbed everything that I could from our brief stay at Hidden Treasures, including the bench that Robert bought — one I had no intention of using in such a small space.
Disaster Strikes; Reconsideration Follows
In short order, my sense of what to do in this space took a major turn as I sat on the bench now covered with a quilt from my loft. The design boards as interchangeable wall segments created a strong sense of sanctuary. I could see clients sitting on the bench looking at jewelry and other gifts when we’re not there — which is most of the time. “Pad the bench, Anne!”
We were ready for business on Friday evening, and I was thrilled to meet so many great people at Building Character. I have no doubts this will be a significant success for us, although I will be changing the space around yet again.
I must bring clear collection statements to the space without cluttering it. Two gold towers covered with the stripe fabric will replace the planters in the back. The gold plant stand on the aisle isn’t working effectively as a display, but I like the idea of being able to sit and pull out trays of jewelry from underneath the table. We will have a special concierge and special order service operating out of Building Character, so now I love the idea of the bench as a place where people can review the total product collection while sitting down.
I’m a person who likes to have everything perfect before I show it — but that’s not the case in our new shops in Lancaster. Give us another 2-4 weeks and we will be a total jewel out there. For now, I’m just emitting a sigh of relief because we look lovely and very promising and we will only get better with the signage and marketing that I’m working on.
The photo of the bench and stripe fabric display is the first view coming around the corner and down the aisle. On Thursday it was a guy who turned the turned, stopped dead in his tracks and then smiled as he walked towards the space. The look of total pleasure and delight on his face was all I needed to know that we are on the right track.
GlamTribale At Building Character Is A Love Affair in the Making
The other challenge is balancing out our inventory in pricepoints. When we first showed the GlamTribale Collection in Lancaster end of July, 2012 people were not only thrilled but mentioned that we are so well-priced. Since then I’ve developed our lower-priced Tribale2 collection and I feel that at least for now, we must lead on the aisle at Building Character with the lower-priced product. I want our reputation to be that of a destination for gifts in every price category — from a $25 present to $250.
The most important consideration in any retail decision is traffic — as in clients and customers. Building Character has excellent traffic and it will only increase with the arrival of spring. The mix in the space is changing as Marty adds more artisans like GlamTribale to the mix. There’s a great opportunity for perhaps 7-10 of us artisans to band together as a group who expands the reach of Building Character’s current clientele. The great news is that several of us are already brainstorming possibilities of what we can do together. I will be writing about my new friends at Building Character because we can help each other succeed while nurturing joint projects that harness all our energies.
Truthfully, I am in love with the gem of a spot in Lancaster. Next week, I’ll share photos of our small shop in the doorway of Building C. It will be a feeder to this larger space but also the primary location for our coasters, planters and upcoming collection of poured candles. ~ Anne