“It must be so much fun to own a store like this!” Every week we hear these exact words from our friends who come in to shop. Once upon a time I had that same thought, and now here we are today running our very own store. And, yes, my friend, it is fun to own a store...but… it is also incredibly challenging. Whew! Today in the blog, we wanted to give you a little glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes here at the store.
Right now Michelle (Mom) and I are off to Atlanta market picking out all the treasures you’ll see in the store this Christmas and goodie for next Spring. (We buy Fall & Christmas decorations when we go in January!!)
Our market days start off early, usually 8 am, and don’t stop until they close the doors around 6pm. Mom and I have always enjoyed shopping together and going to Market is like four straight days of intense Black Friday shopping!
There is so much to see once we get to market! It takes a little prep work to be sure we make the most of our time there. Before we head out, I set appointments with our sales reps from a couple of dozen showrooms. The showrooms are like large shops, about the size of a department store, where all the newest products are beautifully displayed.
We spend an hour or two in each showroom selecting the treasures I think you'll love the most. It can be an overwhelming task. I remember the first time Jay and I went to market: I was so overwhelmed by the choices and purchasing requirements of each showroom that we didn’t buy a thing! Luckily, we've learned a lot over the years & now plenty of orders!
The Atlanta Market campus has three, 20+ story buildings in the heart of downtown Atlanta. We'll be in Atlanta for 3-4 days, cramming in as many showrooms as we possibly can. Each floor of all three buildings is about the size of a super Wal-Mart! We definitely won’t make it to every showroom, but we try to visit the best of the best.
One building is completely full of gifts, another is split between home decor and seasonal decor, and the third is primarily clothing. Some showrooms are open to shop owners, retail buyers, and interior designers year-round. Others open to trade professionals only during scheduled market times in January, March, July, and September. We like going during scheduled market times so we can visit the most showrooms.
When we visit Market, we can't shop and take your purchases home immediately. Mostly, we place orders many months in advance with only a small percentage of goodies arriving within a week or two of when we place orders. (These are some of the most exciting things because I generally forget what's coming--so it's a surprise for all of us! I can’t wait to share box openings with you over the next month as the things we ordered in January arrive!)
Success at Market begins with pre-planning at home: before we head out, I'll take a look back at what you purchased last Spring to give me a general idea for the next Spring season. I also spend time thinking about things you’ve asked about over the last few months and researching where to find just the right treasures.
While we're at market, we'd still love to hear from you. If you were going to market, what things would you search for? What’s that special treasure you’re hoping to find for Christmas this year? How can we better fill our shop with things you love? Let us know! We still might be able to find it!
See you again soon,