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  1. #1
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    Default Viable business or pipe dream?

    I have an idea that I am wondering if it would be viable. I have no idea if there is anything like this in London, but there was ( possibly still is) a similar place in Sarnia. I can not remember the name but it was a store that was opened year round, that sold local peoples hand crafted things.

    Tables/areas were rented by the month, prices set by the crafter and the store took a commission on sales.

    I know a lot of folks on here do a lot of crafty things and sell them online, so I am asking peoples thoughts on a local store where you could rent a space, display your items, and have someone else deal with the actual selling process?

    Here are some ideas of what items I am thinking of, and some other services that would go with the store idea.

    1. Online sales pickup location. A fee would be paid to have the store complete local online transactions. Buyers would be able to pay cash/credit at the store for items sold online, saving shipping time and cost.

    2. Vice versa to above. Once a website for the store is developed, for a fee, crafters would be able to have their personal website links on the site to drive more traffic their way, and let people know that the store could be a pick up location.

    3. Custom ordering for customers. A system for custom orders would be available for those who are interested. The store would take a non refundable deposit from the customer so that even if the transaction does not get completed, the crafter would get some pay for their work, and still have the item to resell if possible.

    4. Crafting mornings. Have an area where crafters can meet, craft and socialize.

    So ladies, give me your thoughts before I go any further with this idea. Thanks!!!!

  2. #2
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    umm...i kind of own this....lol so I agree that its a fantastic idea, but I'd prefer if no one else did it.
    Petal Babies General Store Inc.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKerton View Post
    umm...i kind of own this....lol so I agree that its a fantastic idea, but I'd prefer if no one else did it.
    Yes but you specialize in children's items. There is a market for other things out there.

    That being said there use to be stores like that in London. One in the Home and Design Centre, one in Westmount Mall and one in Galleria Mall. All at different times I believe, all within the past 6ish years. All are no longer there, so I'm guessing they weren't profitable. I'm not saying you couldn't tweak it to make it work (like specializing in children's items, but that's already covered), I'm just saying yes, there use to be stores like that in London.
    Last edited by Spots; 07-30-2011 at 07:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, Crafter's Marketplace in the Home & Design Centre at Wellington/Exeter like a PP said.

    I recall one in Westmount as well. I think they were really popular when the “crafty“ tole painting/sparta candles/country living type of decorating was really popular in the mid-90's.

    I'd be curious to see how well one went in today's economy and with home designs leaning more towards more contemporary.

    However, I never really bought much at them. I went in there for ideas to make my own crafts.

    I wish there was something like that though today though for my own stuff I can do, it would be nice to have a craft store alternative besides micheal's that wasn't too far away and offered classes and artist workspace.
    Last edited by InkyMama; 07-30-2011 at 07:04 PM.




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    I don't think anything like that currently exists in Sarnia.
    "Anything is better than lies and deceit". Leo Tolstoy

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    I'd love that kind of a store. I would make sure the pricing is comparable to Etsy maybe? Of course quality and variety is important too.
    It could be a tricky market to get into, as most can find the same or similar thing/s online for cheaper. However, a lot of people will pay for homemade and local.

    Also.... I sell on Etsy.... so the fees (table rental and commission) would have to be less than what I pay on there selling for it to be worth it to me.

    I still think the idea could work.

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    It may work, but there are lots of other avenues for people in London to sell their stuff. The Met just opened downtown, different concept, but similar products. I think if you really want to do this, you need to find out why the ones that were in London closed, and find one somewhere that is successful. Good luck!
    Last edited by Pomegranate; 07-30-2011 at 08:45 PM.

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    i was so bummed when the beadery closed.
    i thought they had a great concept!
    i know what you are talking about is different, but there are similarities i think.
    i loved the classes there, and the supplies. *sigh*
    i would love an alternative to micheals.
    ~"Just because I have strong opinions, does not mean I judge. Do not mistake passion for judgment. For you might find you are the one doing the judging". ~ Unknown

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    Quote Originally Posted by MKerton View Post
    umm...i kind of own this....lol so I agree that its a fantastic idea, but I'd prefer if no one else did it.
    LOL...I was totally just thinking about you while reading this
    Last edited by Kaiden'sMommy; 07-30-2011 at 09:33 PM.

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    To anyone But Tailbouncer!

    OMG!

    First of all, advertise for your market -downtown, south, east, north, west or outlying areas.

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    Yes, an alternative to Michales would be awesome.

    Downtown there is already a place kinda like this. It's on Dundas near Covent Garden Market. I forget what it's called, but artists have their own booths set up and they work their booth. I think your concept is a bit different, where one person is in charge and it's more like a Petal Babies store or something.

    Do-able.
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    The brydges street market is kind of set up like I am as well, but not kids stuff.
    If you really wanted to get into something like this though there are a few things

    1. Online sales pickup location. A fee would be paid to have the store complete local online transactions. Buyers would be able to pay cash/credit at the store for items sold online, saving shipping time and cost. They would all have to have a way to sell online for this to work, the fee would have to be enough to cover your overhead as its possible that this option would be more popular then in store shopping.

    2. Vice versa to above. Once a website for the store is developed, for a fee, crafters would be able to have their personal website links on the site to drive more traffic their way, and let people know that the store could be a pick up location.

    3. Custom ordering for customers. A system for custom orders would be available for those who are interested. The store would take a non refundable deposit from the customer so that even if the transaction does not get completed, the crafter would get some pay for their work, and still have the item to resell if possible.

    4. Crafting mornings. Have an area where crafters can meet, craft and socialize. This would take a large space, there for you would probably have to charge for it as a service as space is $$

    Here are some issues we come accross
    -underselling, if you plan to link to their sites then the store and them have to sell their items for the same price, many crafters have a problem with this as they want the store to sell it for more because they have to loose a percentage, also generally crafters don't charge tax where at a store you would again making the price higher, so customers would just go to them and you would be left paying for a website and space.
    -retail space with a large work are for crafting get togethers, the issue with this is why most groups of crafters just rent a space for the time they want it, because if you only have one event a week or a couple a month you still have to pay overhead on a space that doesn't make income
    -variety and quality is hard to find when it comes to home crafting people like to craft with the current trends which is good in a way but hard if you don't want 20 vendors who all make the same things
    -a lack of variety may lead you to want to sell crafting supplies as well, keep in mind the finacial investment and who the competitors are and their price points may be hard to beat
    -then just the regular business stuff, how much personal investment you would be willing to make, things like lease, insurance, business licenses or incorporation, employees (unless you want to be there all the time), employees come with some unthought of costs as well ex. wsib, cpp, ei . what kind of tracking system would you use, create your own or a traditional POS system.
    -you may want to go down to the small business center they can help you with your idea and give you lots of resources
    ...but I'd still rather you didn't lol
    Last edited by MKerton; 07-31-2011 at 10:25 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erica View Post
    I'd love that kind of a store. I would make sure the pricing is comparable to Etsy maybe? Of course quality and variety is important too.
    It could be a tricky market to get into, as most can find the same or similar thing/s online for cheaper. However, a lot of people will pay for homemade and local.

    Also.... I sell on Etsy.... so the fees (table rental and commission) would have to be less than what I pay on there selling for it to be worth it to me.

    I still think the idea could work.
    This wouldn't be possible considering how low etsy costs are and the cost of overhead for a store, so also keep in mind that some crafters would feel this way.
    Last edited by MKerton; 07-31-2011 at 10:45 AM. Reason: ahem..i may have said "cfarters" ooooopps
    Petal Babies General Store Inc.
    Open Monday - Sat.
    www.petalbabies.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKerton View Post
    This wouldn't be possible considering how low etsy costs are and the cost of overhead for a store, so also keep in mind that some crafters would feel this way.
    Yes, I know. That's why it wouldn't be worth it to me.

    I think it's just another issue that may arise when starting a store like that. Nowadays there are so many other avenues to sell homemade goods, it could be tricky. And with online shopping being so big, it would likely be even harder. However, my mom for example, makes a ton of crafty items, but can't be bothered setting up an Etsy store, photographing, describing, then shipping her items. A store like what you're thinking would be just up her alley.

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    Thanks for all the thoughts.

    I have plans on going to the small business center to get some help if I do it.

    Rental would have to be higher than etsy, because of display space. Items themselves are displayed so customers can see the workmanship and quality, which you can not from a picture. Also the benefit of the store is that customers do not have to “search“ out specific ideas, so would be more likely to see something that they did not know that they wanted or needed.

    Variety is going to be an issue, but that would be somewhat controllable based on renting space. I have knitters, crocheters, sewers, quilters and candles in mind already, but am hoping to find more as well.


    Also I am thinking of having a consignment only area where the commission is higher per item, but no rental space is required. For crafters who do not want to commit to a monthly fee.

    I would have to look into the regulations but possibly also have home made perserves as well.

    The idea would be similar to a craft fair that is accessible year round.

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