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Old 05-23-2007, 01:53 PM   #1  
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Default My LSS is closing down...

Can you believe it?

Just this week my DH and I were talking about me needing something to do. My passion is crafts and I wanted to do that. So he mentioned I should talk to her about buying the LSS. So.....today I went in with the intentions of only getting a few things and she told me she was closing!!!

OK, so I know...there are minimum orders, there is rent, there are bills, etc. I know all that. But I also think that if you work there you can make money. If you hire people you lose right? I mentioned to her that DH had told me that....she told me not to. It's so sad. There are a lot of scrappers, a lot of stampers, but yes, we live in a small area and it is hard to support a store.

I guess I am just sad she is quitting, sad I'll have to drive 200 miles or order online, but also keep thinking...should I try to buy her stuff? So many things lately have showed me that I really should just take chances. Would it kill me if I tried it and then a year later realized it wasn't a fit? What do I have to loose? Or am I on a crazy kick?

I don't know...anyway, I just wanted to vent, and I may try to get some steals over there....she's offered me 25% off things right now. So maybe I should just stock up and shut up! LOL...
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Old 05-23-2007, 03:01 PM   #2  
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Whether or not you could make a go of the store depends more on you than on whether or not you hire outside help.

If you can offer classes or demonstrations, services (die-cutting), specials, etc. may determine the interest level. Advertising is crucial, yet discovering the best venue for advertising can be a long, expensive process.

Think about your targeted customer. Young mothers, teens, grandmothers, aunts, etc. Where can you find large groups of these type of customers? Church, women's groups, PTA. Rather than running ads in newspapers (very costly with limited impact), make fliers for the local churches, women's groups (including gardening clubs, history clubs and so on), and the schools, especially kindergarten classes.

Inspiration is necessary to make the store successful. Using the services or special offers from distributors is a great way to promote. Frequently distributors put products on sale to the retailer. A retailer has two choices; pass the savings on to the consumer with a "Sale," or mark the product up the normal amount and make a larger profit from.

Oh, yeah. A welcoming, helpful personality, especially in this type of business, will win you a lot of customers.

Find out what the rent, utilities and other expenses are before deciding. If you can, look for a different location at a lower rent.

If you are serious, don't pay more than 35 cents on the WHOLESALE dollar for the inventory. And nothing for the "good will" except a token, maybe one thousand. If she "can't make it," there is no goodwill to pass on to you.

Good luck.

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Old 05-23-2007, 03:37 PM   #3  
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You need to do a business case.

What would your expenses be?
-- Rent, inventory, labor, utilities, loss/theft
-- You mention being your own labor. What hours do you plan? How many days a week would you be open?

What would your revenue be?
-- What were her sales?
-- What's your plan to keep up with the trends (constant refreshing of stock...)

What is your addressable market?
-- Average income of households within a 25 mile (max 50 mile) radius of you
-- Just as importantly, disposable income

What is your competition?
-- What stores?
-- Distances?
-- Large retailers versus LSS?
-- Online retailers?
-- Idea sites like this?
-- Home workshops?

Class/Retreat facilities
-- About the only thing you can offer to set you apart from the large retailers and low online prices is service, ideas, and socializing. Do you have space for regular classes> Can you run retreats?

Liquidation costs?
-- If you can't make a go of it, what is your exit strategy?
-- How much money can you afford to lose?

Check out http://www.mtinbusiness.com/inbiz-0703/bus07.php
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Old 05-23-2007, 05:39 PM   #4  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rainsong
Whether or not you could make a go of the store depends more on you than on whether or not you hire outside help.
If by this you mean emplyees...I think this is getting her. She has always had help...and I feel that if you want to make a go of it, you need to work at your business. I realize that you need to take a break, but this is basically your job and if you really want to profit you have to work, you can't open a store and hire help to do your work, then expect to be rich.

Oh, yeah. A welcoming, helpful personality, especially in this type of business, will win you a lot of customers.
[/QUOTE]

This is also why my DH thinks I should do it...he says people like me and they don't her. I have heard that people are turned off by her b/c she isn't friendly.


Some other things that DH and I are talking about...rent, utilities, etc are high. If we could find something cheaper it would be better. I would really like to remodel the garage for something like this. He is also talking to a friend who has a building we could possibly look into.

I would also like to expand into fabrics and other crafts as well. My aunt is moving here this summer, retired and loves quilting. I want to talk to her about doing more variety craft. We need a quilting place too. All these would work together very well.
We had a store like this but the owner got divorced and had to do something different. At that time of my life buying the store wasn't something I could do - now however I feel that I am in place that I could do this. My boys will be in school full time next year and it would just be my baby(well she will be 1 year in August. I definatly would have a play area for kiddos anyway, so that moms could shop. However I could get help from family for babysitting when I needed it.

I think my DH really wants me to jump on this, so if may be realer than I think. Ack...wouldn't that be WILD!!

Thanks for the ideas and posts!!
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:53 PM   #5  
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Yeah, how funny. Lots of LSS's have come and gone here, and now I find that the best one that is around is for sale (retiring) ... it would be fun to own it, but I can't help thinking that she wouldn't be letting it go if it was really a gold mine... she could manage it via someone else, even in retirement. I might ask just to see what the deal is. I know running a business is a lot of hard work, though. Wouldn't it be fun to order stuff! Ha ha... I'd be broke for sure!

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:26 PM   #6  
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You know Cindy, I see people getting burnt out. Because it is a lot of hard work. I think if the LSS you are talking about has been in the same owner for such along time, and she wants to retire....that's probably it. Maybe she is tired of being there and dealing with it.

My DH is telling me to do this....even as scared as I am I think I may. The only thing that will happen is I flop and loose money...but I have really come to realize that that isn't the end of the world. If I tired and failed it is better to always dream and wonder and regret.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:40 PM   #7  
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Yeah, it is a lot of hard work. I used to talk to this one lady that owned one that has closed and she said that one of her biggest issues was the vendors and their restrictions on selling certain products. I once asked her if she would consider selling Hero Arts stamps (I think that was it) and she said that they were tough, requiring a high minimum purchase and very specific requirements on the store itself (certain size, must be an actual storefront, must send in pictures to prove it, etc.). She said with some of the vendors she simply could not purchase that much product.

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Old 05-23-2007, 08:51 PM   #8  
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I understand that. I know a gal who runs a store about 90 miles from here. She is small and wanted to go in with the lady here and split orders like that. I thought it would work out since we are far enough apart...then you don't have to spend so much and people won't drive all that way b/c they know you see the same things. I thought it was a good idea but I guess the gal who owns the store here didn't.

I would def. look into any kind of stamps!! I want some AMuse and probably try to get Bellas in. I do know that they need certain things. (I have researched this field ALOT!! LOL)
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:38 PM   #9  
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It is so great that your DH is behind you! Many people do not have support for their dreams as it seems you have!! I am very excited for you at this prospect!!

It sure sounds like you have done your homework. Best of luck to you and please keep us posted!!
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:00 AM   #10  
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One thing I would tell you is if the current owner isn't selling for personal reasons than I'd think twice about buying her business. If she can't make it there might not be a large enough market in the area.
I owned a rubber stamp store for 3 years and a few months after we opened someone else opened a store in town as well, one of the main reasons we closed was competition, not only from the other store but from the large chain stores as well. Even though I live in the 2nd largest city in KY we just didn't have the business to keep it afloat. I worked in the store 5-6 days a week, open to close with the help of my partner/sis-in-law and my mom, so we didn't have to pay anyone, we taught our own classes, I did our taxes, anything and everything to save money and it was always tight. We put alot of money, and blood sweat and tears into the store, it was alot of hard work and sometimes I really miss it but I don't miss all the worries that went along with it too I'm not sorry I did it but it's hard (in more ways than one) when it doesn't work out.
I'm not in anyway trying to discourage you, I wish you tons of success but just wanted to give a little insight from someone who has done it
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:10 AM   #11  
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Another thing to think of. In the scrapbooking industry there seems to be a new trend in styles every 3 - 4 months. That means you will be constantly having to buy new product just to keep up and to get people to want to buy. The place we have in town specializes more in just the papers and ribbon and a few tools. They have been struggling even with the business they have gotten. But I also believe that success has a lot to do with the town as well. Could you put a feeler out there with different people to see whether they prefer to purchase in a physical store or have no issues with going online etc.... I think partnering up with that other store is definitely a good thing. As long as you trust the owner to keep their part of the bargain.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:28 AM   #12  
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If you are willing/thinking of setting it up in your garage, I would suggest that you become a demo with CTMH or SU and keep minimal inventory. Perhaps you could work a deal to buy the customer database from her to help you get started? That might be less than buying the whole business.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:38 AM   #13  
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My husband owns and operates his own pet store. This is something he always wanted to do, and when one close to our house went up for sale, we purchased it. We thought long and hard, knowing it is hard work. At this point, I am not yet sure we are going to be able to make a go of it. There has certainly been ups and downs, and when the grocery store that was a major draw of foot traffic into the shopping center closed, our sales fell as well. The 2 largest issues we've seen are getting the customers through the door and having to deal with employees. Employees are a huge expense and a lot of work, so if you are able to do it on your own you will have an advantage.

Given all that, do we regret buying the store? Not for a minute. When we were deciding if we wanted to do this I talked with a friend who is self employed, and who I knew has had rough times. His advice to me was that if this is something you've always wanted to do, and you think you can make it work, then don't pass up the opportunity. If you do, you'll always wonder if you did the right thing. What I would add to this is know going in what your financial limits are, and don't get in over your head - know where the point is that you will call it quits if necessary.

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you need to do - research and see if you can come up with a plan you believe you can make work. Best wishes in whatever endeaver you choose!
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:50 PM   #14  
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If you have the capital and want to give it a try, I say go for it! The personality of the store owner and/or their employees is a big reason people go back. If your personality can increase sales and you are the only store around, go for it. You'll just have to work to keep things fresh in the store to keep it going strong. Fresh ideas, techniques, stamps, paper, accessories. Good luck on your decision!
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:17 PM   #15  
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I bought a T-shirt at eBay Live last year that says "Don't Quit Your Daydream". Like someone said in another post, if this is something you have always wanted to do and you have the means to do it. You should. If you didn't you would never know if you could or not. That is my theory, I sell on eBay and that is my day dream, I've gone to part time at my job so that I can fulfill my dream and my theory is "If I don't try it, I'll never know if I can do it". Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. However, do be cautious and do your homework. Talk to the store owner and find out how her sales were, if you are buying her business she should open her "books" up to you so you know what you are buying.

Also, don't go too crazy at first on buying stuff and don't let it sit around getting stale. If it doesn't sell in a reasonable amount of time, mark it down and move it out.

Also, if possible, consider a website or even eBay. You could help supplement your sales with online sales. It might be too much work but if you have "down time" in the store you could list it online.

Good Luck!!
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:07 PM   #16  
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If you have a husband who is backing you then you need to act upon it. If you can remodel your garage then do it. Its a tax write off if you are really going to operate a business. You'll always be home when you need to and if its your passion then don't pass up the chance.

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Old 05-25-2007, 03:22 PM   #17  
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Are you zoned to have a business in your home? Many communities are not.

Something to think about, when your rent is, say, $800 per month (low in the retail world) and you're selling .65 scrapbooking paper, how much do you need to sell just to break even? That's 2460 sheets (82 per day) JUST for the rent, once you consider the wholesale cost of the paper alone. You also need to pay for utilities, taxes, displays, demonstration materials, etc....

It's REALLY hard for a scrapbooking store to make it. We only had ONE within 40 miles of us, and it just closed.
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:27 AM   #18  
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I love LSS and also think it would be an awesome opportunity to own my own store! Lot's of hard work but if you go in with your eyes wide open, then do it!
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:16 AM   #19  
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I've got no experience at all, but can pass on what our LSS does. They do a monthly newsletter that is available as a .pdf for download from their website. They write about new products, store events, etc. and also include some coupons at the bottom of the page. They used to offer customer appreciation punch cards (every $5 after tax gets you a stamp in one of the boxes, fill so many boxes you get a gift certificate for $5), BUT they just discontinued that this month after who knows how long of offering it. Whenever I go in there, I can see they've stocked the latest punches, papers, embellishments, etc. Older stock gets marked down or advertised in the flyer as a sale item for a specific week of the month. I think it's nice that they give customers a chance to get items at markdown prices rather than shunting them straight off to ebay. I think ebay is a fab option to keep your store from feeling stale to your customers, but it is nice to acknowledge your live customers and give them a chance at a sale.

One of my former LSSs (it's since closed, and I've since moved) a while before they closed would package items up into gift style baskets, especially for Xmas and Mother's Day. They also offered wish list services, where shoppers could make a wishlist and then the DH would come in later on and shop from the wishlist.

A third former LSS (still open, but I've since moved) that I have gone to a total of three times didn't do much to draw me as a customer. It was way the heck across the other side of town in an industrial area, and on the same street there was a strip bar, some equipment-type places, etc. This store had poor hours (something like 10-4 when I moved) and the last time I went there with my mum and sister, we were there fifteen minutes past closing without realising it, and the owners started turning off the lights and then said, "Oh! We didn't realise anyone was in that room!" The stock in that store hadn't changed one whit between the first time I went to the last time (about two years later) except that it got smaller as people purchased the old stock over the years. The place was spread out over five rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second floor (it is an old converted house) and kind of hard to browse. I never saw any enthusiasm from the staff there for papercrafting.
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:17 AM   #20  
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That was my thought. It takes alot of .65 cent a sheet paper to pay the bills. Our LSS closed also and I overheard the owner telling someone that customers would come to scrap sessions, classes, etc. with stuff they just bought at Hobby Lobby even though the store had the same stuff costing only pennies more....Everyone wanted to save a nickel vs. supporting the small business owner.


Quote:

Originally Posted by phunkymamaView Post
Are you zoned to have a business in your home? Many communities are not.

Something to think about, when your rent is, say, $800 per month (low in the retail world) and you're selling .65 scrapbooking paper, how much do you need to sell just to break even? That's 2460 sheets (82 per day) JUST for the rent, once you consider the wholesale cost of the paper alone. You also need to pay for utilities, taxes, displays, demonstration materials, etc....

It's REALLY hard for a scrapbooking store to make it. We only had ONE within 40 miles of us, and it just closed.
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:41 AM   #21  
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Katie, I wish you lots of luck if you decide to do this. I just might surprise you and drive over to check it out when you get up and running. Follow your heart.
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:09 AM   #22  
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I should add that my current LSS carries single sheets of ie Basic Grey in 12x12, but not any of the collections in pads of 12x12 or 6x6. They do carry Bazzill in both letter and 12x12 plus 12x12 collections in packs. It seems to me that there is some cost-benefit calculating done there that determined they would be better off carrying individual sheets instead of sheets plus packs with the patterned paper lines. I think the PP sheets cost 80 cents and I am happy to pay that price even if Hobby Lobby carried some of the same stuff for 65 cents. Saves me bussing around town just to save 15 cents a sheet, and for 12x12 I'm not comfortable ordering that through the mail.
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