Diary of a #Mompreneur, Day 13

Date: August 13, 2018

YTD 2018 Product Sold: $1,356

Finished Inventory Currently on Hand: $13,109

So, first of all, a HUGE thank you to all of the friends who visited me during the pop-up this weekend and provided support through hugs, smiles, and a few purchases.  Having the support of my friends and family is what helps keep me motivated.  Also, a big thank you to West Elm for giving me the opportunity of a pop-up shop by hosting it.  This was my first pop-up and I know I will be able to evaluate the lessons learned and leverage them to see improvement over the next several months.

So, let me dive in a bit.  First, how did I get the opportunity of doing a pop-up shop with West Elm?  Well, I follow West Elm Des Moines and other similar, local organizations on Instagram.  I saw a post they shared of hosting a pop-up shop for another local maker and I reached out to them via DM on Instagram about hosting me for one.  We set up a date for me to visit the store to go over details and decided it would be worth a shot.  I picked the weekend, and the rest is history as they say.

As I have been sharing, I spent the last month getting product produced to take to the pop-up.  I chose what product to make by evaluating the amount of time that I had and the type of items that have sold off the showroom floor of the interior designer I work with in Iowa City.  I sold two different product types during the actual pop-up: coasters and glow-in-the-dark necklaces.  There was a lot of interest in the bar stools and the serving trays, but no purchases.  There was practically no interest in the wine and appetizer trays and the wood and resin artwork. 

Now to break this down a little.  For the wood and resin artwork and the wine and appetizer trays, I think the biggest thing was how I had them displayed.  I was not positive prior to the pop-up of the type of space I would be given in the store.  I was put pretty much up front, with a series of flat surfaces.  This lead to the confusion of thinking the wood and resin artworks were cutting or serving trays.  Going forward I will be planning to come with my own stand to hang them on so it is clear that they are artwork.  For the wine and appetizer tray, I did display them with wine glasses, but again it was not clear on how they were used.  I think perhaps if I displayed pictures of how they are used or just set it up a bit different then I could gain more traction there. I think the stools are always something that draw people in, but they tend to be a larger purchase for a “spur of the moment” type of sale.  I intend to still bring at least one along with me just as a means of drawing people into the space and to serve as a good conversation piece and possible conversion to a commission later on.

Visibility.  This is my next big take away.  Like I mentioned above, I was placed toward the front of the store.  However, I did not bring anything with me that clearly defined me as separate from the store or as a local artist.  Therefore, it came off a bit like I was just a random weird person hanging around a certain area and I think was a little off-putting to some.  I felt kind of like the troll under the bridge. So, I plan on getting a large sign or banner or something similar with my logo and tag phrase to define the space better. Also, a bit of a weird observation…I was to the left as you entered the store, however, almost everyone went immediately to the right upon entering.  My theory is they all went to the right because all the sales staff and register were at the left.  Though the sales staff did get to everyone, it felt a bit like they wanted to get in and look around a bit before approached.  So why was this interesting to me?  Because I instantly lost out on the possibility of grabbing them from the start.  Also, once the staff got to talk to them, they were promoting the weekends’ sale at the store and taking them to other sections of the store depending on what the person was looking for.  So basically, within the first 5 minutes the opportunity I had to have a natural organic conversation with a potential client went down to almost zero.  I’m not sure there are any immediate changes I can make for this situation, but I will keep it top of mind when discussing with the next store hosting a pop-up on the where I will be located within the store.

Overall a good experience with plenty of opportunity for improvement for the next time.  I missed my family for sure, glad to be back home with them and having the somewhat chaotic moments of a home with two kiddos.  Wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Biggest wins for the day: Evaluating the experience of my first pop-up and making changes for the next one.

Opportunities for improvement: In this post, I would say see above!

Katie FreemanComment