Why not? Tell me. Why not?!?
So, I own an independent retail store. And I personally choose and order all the stuff I sell. That makes me a “Buyer”. (I only know that because it’s what my name tag says when I go to trade shows.) Big giant chain stores have professional Buyers. Buying is their job. They went to school for marketing. They know spending trends. They track market demographics and geographical trends and make quarterly buying decisions a year in advance blah blah blah.
I run a small independent business. I wash dishes and balance checking accounts and shovel snow and pour whole milk into sippy cups. When I get a chance, I do some “market research”: I talk to moms. I surf the web. I talk to other business owners. In my own way, I am a Professional Buyer. In my years of Professional-Buyer-Awesomeness, I have learned many things. I have learned these things in My Own Way.*
Yet, some things I apparently refuse to learn. Ask my staff. They almost refuse to let me go to buying shows any more. Last time, they made me bring my mom and TWO sisters with me as a safety net. And my team did talk me down from some seriously ill-advised new products. There are certain products that just won’t sell. But that I just will not give up. So, I’m throwing this blog out there so all you readers will hold me accountable. I need to stop buying…….
1. Shoes (specifically SeeKaiRun)
2. Clothing (specifically Zutano)
3. Diaper Bags (specifically ANY)
There I said it. These things do not sell. At least not in my store. No matter how much I want them to sell. No matter how awesome they are. No matter how pretty they look against my brick wall. I can’t sell them. Professional Buyers learn their lessons the first time. I learn my lessons the third time. (The “charmed” time, if you will.) Why don’t they sell? They don’t sell because my customers are thrifty and they are smart. My store is not a boutique or a high-end registry store. My store is more like a hardware store. I pride myself in having really useful, really high-quality, really important baby products. I stock things that moms tend to buy for themselves, because they need them. And they know it. You people are thrifty. And you are smart. Smarter than me, apparently. If you want fancy expensive clothes and designer diaper bags, you will find them in Excellent Used Condition on Craigslist. I love that about you. You people use cloth diapers, for goodness sake! You don’t want $45 booties for your pre-walker. I know this. But I forget…….
I came home from the last trade show with a huge order for Newborn clothes from Zutano and a strong (but unconvincing) argument for why THIS time would be different from the first time. And second time. That we got burned on Zutano. Dang, I love Zutano. SO SO SO cute. And, when you go to the trade shows, their booth is so pretty and colorful and welcoming and they play nice music and they serve ham and brie crostini and brew espresso right there for you and offer you a chair and you’re so tired from walking and…………..see what I mean? They get me every time. I love Zutano. You love Zutano too. But you don’t come in to Mom and Pop Place to buy Zutano. You need Snot Suckers and giant nursing bras. That’s cool. We’re not a fancy boutique. We don’t want to be a fancy boutique. We want to offer useful, quality products we can vouch for. I can vouch for Zutano. That stuff is adorable and solid. It will last you through 14 children. You will cry over the cuteness. But the outfit is $56. You will also cry over the price. I can’t, in good conscience, suggest to your mother-in-law that she buy you that size 0-3 month outfit for $75, when I really think she should get you a Moby and a Sophie Giraffe.
You should ask my staff about SeeKaiRun shoes. I love those shoes. But, like I said, third time’s a charm. Or a curse. If you’re gonna sell $45 shoes, you have to have every size and every style and every brand. Oh well. We still get the catalogs. I like to wander around the store holding the SeeKaiRun catalog to see how long it takes before a staff member rips it out of my hand. Cute.
Diaper bags still mystify me. I’m having a harder time letting go of diaper bags. We should be able to sell diaper bags right? Well we can’t. But we should, right? Right?! That third time was close. We did sell a few. And, when we clearanced them out, they sold out in 1 day. (See, you people are smart. You’ll wait for the sale.) It was the Third Time Burn………….But, since then, four people have stopped in asking about those diaper bags we used to have. Wishing they would have bought one when they saw it. Wondering when we will get more.
These people are not helping. My resolve is slipping. Maybe I need to bring back diaper bags. Maybe THIS TIME will be different. Fourth time’s a charm, right?
*”My Own Way” is to repeatedly buy large lots of ill-advised things on impulse only to regret them the moment that arrive by UPS and then try to talk them up on Facebook only to end up marking them 70% off and finally throwing away the remaining items just so I could stop them from taunting me from the back of the store.