Starting my own shop - Part One: Six Months Trading
Six Months Trading
Starting up a business is tough and Rosewill Cottage has been no exception. Whilst its loyal customer base is growing steadily it certainly has a long way to go to becoming a profitable business in the sense of earning enough money to pay a chunk off my mortgage or towards a holiday. It is however important to remember that it has only been open for nearly six months and we have made a load of progress in leaps and bounds.
October (last week of) - Whilst most of October was fraught with pushing through the lease signing and getting the shop fitted. We opened on Saturday 23 October and it was well worth the reward of a satisfying super first day. With support coming from friends and family alike and making the front page of The Journal’s business section.
November - With the gear up towards Christmas you’d be fooled into thinking that trading would be great but in all honesty it wasn’t. The economic downturn and pinch on household spending as the credit crunch started to catch those who had luckily escaped the first wave seemed to have kept the shoppers away. The most annoying part of November was the barrage of cold calls offering advertising, utility services most of which were swindling/time-wasting liars using fear tactics to get you to part with your money.
December - Most disappointing month of the year! With the snow making Park View a literal skating rink for cars and the paths treacherous it was no surprise that we had a slow beginning to this month. This was then hampered by everyone’s desired to get their presents for Christmas in one place and resulted in them ditching the local trader for the likes of the Metrocentre or Newcastle town centre. To say that worry had set in was an understatement but never-the-less we had enough money to pay the bills and wages so we plodded on to what would I predicted would be for small retailers like me, the traditionally bleak….
January - I was amazed to find that the people of the jewellery making brigade of Whitley Bay came out in force to spend their Christmas money on what they wanted….beads! I was glad to have bought in the Valentine’s themed heart beads and charms early on and found the second week of January was my best week of trading to date! The format we used for our workshops wasn’t quite working so we moved to a one day a week format, that day being a Tuesday.
February - This month was full of birthday parties, workshops and a project which had taking me since November to plan in fine detail as well as a negotiation process which placed me in the position of bidding for tender for the first time. The Apprentice workshops which took place in the half-term school holiday were a huge success and meant I had become an Educational Partnerships Business Ambassador for North Tyneside Council. Even though the council will probably cut this service the links I have made have meant that there could be a chance of reviving this project with a different objective and audience. Watch this space is all I can say!
March – Came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. This was a busy month for me personally with lots of funerals to attend which meant the shop managers were left to literally manage on their own. We had a record sales week with Saturddays picking up fantastically. The ‘Pins and Needles’ craft show took place in the first weekend of April which meant we were more quieter on the bead sales front for the last two weeks of March, but luckily we had ample potential Mother’s Day gifts such as our handmade jewellery items and our jewellery stands which softened the blow of lack of bead sales immensely. Whilst we missed our regulars madly, it was lovely to see a lot of new faces and make new friends.
April – Magazines start arriving in the shop and leaving just as quickly. The nicer weather is bringing more footfall to Park View which is great! More people are attending our workshops and the format of them is received very well. We have a lot of large birthday parties booked with the diary filling up with slots in May through to September. It seems that we’ve gotten the mix of products right now and we’re looking forward to the next six months.