Year 2 has been slow so far. January through March, the store was only open one week a month. In Minnesota, it was one of the coldest in memory of a lot of folks. Blame it on the weather or the economy, sales were slow. Came April, I decided to open for the season every week, hours being Wednesday-Saturday. I even put permanent hours on the doors! Sales probably were at a break even point, so my mood dropped a little. The devil was dancing on my shoulder and making me question what the heck was I doing?! Why did I give up my RN job?? We got to go on vacation to HAWAII when I worked as an RN.
Something needed to change. When 0-6 people come into a store in a day, that’s not what you call making money. I looked at the market and the closest place to purchase the paint I use, was 2 1/2 hours away. I filed taxes and looked at expenses, I spent over $2000 myself on Annie Sloan paint. I came across a new paint with very pretty labels, that my eye was drawn to immediately, Country Chic Paint.
I applied months ago to be a retailer for Annie Sloan products because that is what I was used to and liked it. Having not heard a response yet, I checked into this paint. I emailed an inquiry about 6:30 am and by 10 am the same day, received a personal email back inviting me to set up a telephone interview. By 1 pm that same day, I was chatting with Kris from Country Chic Paint for over an hour I think. I was impressed by their response and personal attention. They are a brand new company with a lot of heart. Something told me I better not drag my feet on this. I felt like they were going to BOOM! Talked to the hubs about it, he, as always, is the more sensible one and asked how I dared be a retailer when I had never tried the paint. I just felt like I couldn’t miss this opportunity by waiting for paint samples to come in the mail!! So I went for it. The next day I called Kris back and signed up to be a retailer!
The paint arrived and I set up my display and I have been selling a can or 2 almost everyday. I put my 3rd order in today for it. I have my first Country Chic paint workshop tomorrow night. If you are used to Annie Sloan, this paint is a thinner paint. It is a chalk and mineral based paint and is VOC free. The colors are rich and vibrant. Now that I am only using this paint, I much prefer it. I had to paint custom pieces to match previous AS old white, so painted with AS, and it felt extremely thick. I guess its whatever you get used to. (But CCP is a little less costly)
I have branched out and added two home decor paints to the shop, Country Chic Paint & Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. This decision was a natural one, except for the investment it required. Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint fell into the mix about the same as Country Chic, very easy company to work with. The two paints compliment each other nicely. Often customers buy some of each paint. I have held two milk paint workshops and sales after these workshops are outstanding!! I think I’m on my 3rd or 4th reorder for MMSMP too!
I have added my website to purchase these products online and of course in the store. The paint has been selling wonderfully in the store, the website, not really gotten any sales yet… I developed the website myself, with the help of the help desk at 3D cart, they are wonderful by the way! So now, I am learning how to drive traffic to my website. I have head hunters, ahem… marketing people calling me several times a week trying to sell me their, I don’t know.. marketing skills? to improve SEO rankings and all that. It’s expensive to hire these firms though. I have been studying ways to improve it on my own. If anyone has tips, please share!!
I also carry some women’s accessories like scarves and cute head bands. I still have vendors I sell for. I learned to say no to some that don’t fit the atmosphere of the store. I have my son work some and another young lady that likes to work Saturday’s, which is nice, who wants to work every Saturday?!
Personally, the past month, one son was confirmed, then 2 weeks later the other son graduated from high school. So the yard is beautiful and the house was clean. WAS…
What’s next? Never settling. Always trying something different. When someone walks in my store, then walks right out, I wonder why, maybe they thought this is really a tattoo shop (which I have heard from 2 or 3 people now). I continue to be busy with custom painted furniture, painted signs and pillow making and of course tweaking the website.
I hope to inspire you and those that come to my store. Even though I had a low point this winter, I didn’t give up, I just looked at how I could improve the store. There is a sign I read somewhere that said “What am I doing?? Oh yeah, living my dream” I can’t forget that. This is what I wanted and what I gave up a solid paycheck with benefits for. Do I really want to go back to work for anyone else but myself? I have to remind myself of that. This is my dream and I am living it!