Our first question was…how do you even open a store? We had our name and location, but how would we find all the products?
I remember reading an e book, titled “Opening Your Own Boutique.” It talked about how much each square foot of your store was worth, going to market, creating your stores “open to buy” and all kinds of other things that have gotten a bit jumbled thru the years, but that, I always try to keep in mind. And in January of 2008 my sister Abby and I decided to conquer Atlanta’s Americas Mart.
Two things to remember, we hadn’t completely decided that we were going to open a store, so we were attending market, but not ordering…and we had never been to a market, so we had no idea what to expect. We arrived at our hotel late that night, with intensions of being up and on the bus to market by 8:00a.m. As we stepped on the bus, we both kept smiling and giggling at the fact that we had absolutely no idea of what we were doing, what to expect or even if we could get in! The bus pulled up to a group of three huge buildings titled Americas Mart Building 1, 2 and 3…each building at least 20 floors or more! We got registered…which meant…we were in! So now it was time to try to figure out where to start and try to figure out how we were going to remember all these vendors and their products!
We decided to start on the top floor of Building 3. I remember telling the women in the very first showroom we went in, that this was our very first stop, but that we would totally be back because we really liked her products. She just laughed and acted like…yeah right…you only have about 4000 more showrooms to go to. And, sure enough, we never made it back! We learned a couple things pretty quickly, you really can’t spend too much time in one booth/showroom, or you will never make it thru all 3 buildings and more importantly, most of the items you see at market are not your taste and in fact, most things are down right ugly!
After spending 8 long hours at market that day, we hobbled back to our hotel room, spread out all the flyers, brochures and catalogs we had collected and chatted about our favorites. It was then, that we realized we needed to figure out who we were buying for…or better yet, whose tastes were we buying for? After a long discussion on the subject with my mom, sister, nieces and daughter, we agreed that, although we don’t have tons of artistic talent, we do know what we like…and of course, think we have pretty darn good taste! So, from that day forward, our buying habits consist of items that we would actually buy ourselves, display in our own homes or wear!
As the holidays near, please look for “The Be Girl Favorites”… each day of December prior to Christmas, we will add new favorites to our gift list to help you out with your gift giving list!