Hello dear friends. It has been too long since we did a blog post. We hope you have been staying healthy and surviving isolation. So much has happened in the last several months. January started off rough. I was sick, then my mother, then my poor husband. Looking back, I’m sure we all had Coronavirus and just didn’t know it. It took my mother three weeks, two trips to ER and one trip to her doctor to recover.
Then in February, I had a lot of dental work done. I got sick for the second time. I passed it along to my mother once again. I know she is ready to find another caregiver at this point. Then my precious father-in-law took a nasty fall and broke his arm. He was in the hospital for 28 days and then he passed away from complications from the fall. We had to deal with all this during the pandemic and it was heartwrenching. We were not allowed to have a funeral. We had to have a graveside service with only 10 people. No chairs or tent. It was so difficult to not be able to console my grieving family. I hope none of you have had to deal with anything like this. Dawn has had her plate full, too, with taking care of family, etc but she can tell her story later.
That’s enough about what has been going on in our world. How have you been doing? I hope you have been taking advantage of this time and getting caught up on DIY projects. I gave up my booth at the end of December 2019 because of time constraints. I was really on the fence about it, but I’m so glad I did because I don’t see how I could have managed it, kept my sanity and dealt with everything that has gone on this year. Come to think of it…I did lose my sanity. Oh, who am I kidding? I never had it to begin with!
Thrifting During the Coronavirus
I have been cleaning out my inventory and making stacks to go to the thrift store and some of it I will be selling on Instagram or Facebook not sure which one yet. I will have some really good deals on box lots. Then I read this interesting article this morning At Overloaded Thrift Shops, Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc and it has made me rethink my donations. Hmmm. Will it be safe to have yard sales? I’m just not comfortable with that idea.
I know lots of folks are cleaning out their garage, basement and attic. What do you plan to do with your stuff? When the thrift stores open back up will you be comfortable going back? Goodwill posted a message on their page
We have a few folks that follow us that are online clothing sellers. So we wanted to share this article we read last night What Happens To The Unsold Fashion Merchandise Sitting In Stores Closed By Coronavirus? I’m sure TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls will be getting a lot of clothing. So if you sell on Poshmark or eBay now will be your time to stock up.
While I have been spring cleaning this got me to thinking about the state of our industry. Where does this leave us? Will the booth industry ever be the same? Will people be buying as much? None of us have the answers. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
Some of you started doing Facebook Live and Instagram and crushing it with your online sales and curbside pickups. If you were one of those people our hats are off to you. Great job! We are so happy to see so many of you embrace these troubling times. When times are hard we have to do what is best for our business and ride the tide.
Cindy and Trish (sisters and owners of University Pickers have been working their tail feathers off. They have a huge mall in Huntsville, AL with a lot of booth owners. They have been promoting dealers on the daily with live sales. Dawn and I think this is going to be the way a lot of shops do business now. Having a strong social media presence has been a key ingredient for business survival. I think all these young whippersnappers that are so social media savvy will have no problem staying in business. Some of the old-timers like us that don’t do Facebook live will have a harder time.
In the town where I live there are two young ladies that have brick and mortar stores as well as a huge following on social. One of the shops is a clothing shop called Jules and James Boutique and the other one is a home decor store called Pin It Co. In watching their stories I was amazed to see this pandemic has not slowed down their sales any. In fact, it has helped them because more people are at home, bored, and exercising a little online retail therapy.
We heard some store owners are not charging the dealers rent. Instead, they are charging a commission on your items sold. One shop that is doing this is charging a 25% commission on all items sold online. The dealer will get 75%. This is just a thought for those in favor.
Tips on Keeping Your Store or Booth Safe
When your state lifts the shelter in place order will you be reopening? If so, what will you do to protect your staff and customers? Some stores are placing signs outside their door with the rules and only allowing a certain number of people inside.
If you are lucky enough to have found hand sanitizer, wipes and disinfectant spray, place these items at your front door and more at check out. Now that it is spring and the weather is nice, be sure to leave your door open so that customers won’t have to touch the handle. What are some extra steps you are putting into place for your customers? Will you be offering masks for sale?
Unfortunately, we have been receiving messages from dealers that have had to give up their booth or shop. My heart breaks for those that are having to throw in the towel. Just remember if this is truly your passion, there will be another time, another day. This isn’t the end.
In closing, we would just like to say hang in there. These are certainly troubled times we are living in, but we are all in this together. We will get through this and be better and stronger than ever. We would love to see more people supporting small businesses and those that are made in the USA.