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Do I take the plunge ?

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  • Do I take the plunge ?

    Hi all,
    Need some advice from like minded people... For years now I have wanted to set up my own American/Country style gift store. I have been all over England and never found a shop that stocks everything I love...We're talking floral bunting...barn candles...retro signs...enamelware...lavender hearts a sort of mix of Prim/retro/country. I don't just want a store, I want to offer an experience...sights sounds and scents of another era. I feel so passionate about it that I am willing to work 24/7 to achieve it. I work,at present, for my mum and my husband works for his brother and It is true what they say...you should never work for family !!
    I've researched wholesale as it would be impossible to make everything myself.....I know I could get a business loan to start off with...but the problem is...taking a risk - which I've never been good at (I am a libra !)
    I just wanted to know if anyone has found themselves in my position and what you did ! I have the chance of a shop and it's not at all expensive, it's also in a semi-rural location which is what I need. Any suggestions will be gratefully apprieciated...Thanks Guys
    Lorraine xx
    Handmade Country Decor & Needful Things

  • #2
    I'm not much good in terms of advice as I don't have any experience in this. But one thing that comes to mind is could you speak to some sort of business advisor? Maybe someone through your local business link, to go through the ins and outs?

    It sounds like a great opportunity, but I know what you mean, it's a big step so you need to get as much advice/info as possible before making your decision.
    Katian Mosaics

    ♥ My Ebay Listings ♥

    My Facebook Page

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    • #3
      I know exactly where you are coming from. My husband has been in the wholesale menswear trade for 20 years and recently decided to open his own shop. He was in the same boat as you - do I? don't I?

      He did take the plunge and we are really happy with it although, of course, some weeks are better than others.

      Your country location unit sounds perfect but it might be worth thinking about the length of the lease (if it is leased). Also if you are bound by a lease can you incorporate a 'get out clause' so if it doesn't work out then you don't have to keep the premises for years.

      There is a farm near Scarborough who have opened a shaker/country style gift shop and they are doing a bomb. They also sell jams/chutneys aswell which are very popular and blend well with their other stock.

      Sorry, I'm waffling now, but if you have the chance of a unit in a good location I think you are onto a winner. What else is near it to attract lots of customers?
      Helen

      www.littlesnuggler.co.uk
      Total warmth and comfort for your baby and toddler up to 3 years

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      • #4
        Thanks Helen....we haven't said yes yet but the lease is only £3200 a year so the letting agents are reluctant to include a get out clause. The shop is actually on a 'rural' housing estate ! ( if there is such a thing !) but the main road that runs along the top takes you to seaside villages like Hastings and Whitstable and is on the way to tonbridge wells...it is a busy road and I thought I could apply to the council to put a sign on the main road.
        Handmade Country Decor & Needful Things

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        • #5
          Sounds lovely! And the lease prices sounds reasonable.
          Katian Mosaics

          ♥ My Ebay Listings ♥

          My Facebook Page

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          • #6
            Hi Lorraine,

            I love the primitive/amercana/shaker styles too. Folk crafts are so appealing, often simple and pure, functional and elegant.

            I suppose at the end of the day the decision is yours. Risk to one person is opportunity to another! I can't advise what you should do but maybe these are some things you might consider:

            1. Does your husband back you 100%?
            2. Do you need to risk your family home to do it, ie would you have to get a loan and use it as security? If so do you both agree with that?
            3. Do you have any £ reserves to get you over the initial phase, it will be hard for definate.
            4. Are you comfortable with the idea of living week to week? Income can be sporadic, it is a stressful thing, there is always uncertainty.

            Ther are loads more issues, business ones, the shop location, the demand for your products etc... but I am sure you have idas about all that.

            I have been through a similar experience. Just over a year ago I left my job in TV (I was a sound engineer in Manchester) to get married and move to the hills with Clare. My plan was to set up a country crafts workshop in my garden and earn just enough to keep doing it!! My outgoings should be small and I had the support of Clare. She still works full time so we have some security, if everything went wrong. I also made sure I had enough to savings to contribute to the household.

            I don't regret my choice for one second. I love my new lifestyle. Am I earning a living yet, nope! I am progressing bit by bit but I still don't know if I will be fully successful. I measure myself on my progress by looking back at where I was say three/six/nine months ago and if I feel good about my development i am hapy to keep trying. It's day to day.

            I have also found these things:

            1. Everything takes at least three times longer than you plan.
            2. Everything is three times more expensive than you plan.
            3. You will find it hard to switch off.
            4. There are so many extra costs when you go 'pro' or fulltime. Get your estimates right, it comes back to bite you later.
            5. Get all the help you can, from everywhere, you will need it.

            I know that all sounds like doom and gloom but it's not. Like I say I don't regret it for a second. Life is very short and regrets are stubborn things, they nag at you. Better to try than not know what could have been!!

            If things don't work out for me, what's the worst that can happen? I have to go back to fulltime work. I still have the skills I had before, and lots more besides. It would be a bummer to be back in a job but at a least I will have tried and learnt lots about myself and about business. It's all good.

            The same applies to anyone who gives running thier own business a go. There are rewards that are far more important than just financial.

            That's my two penneth anywho!

            Hope that helps in some way.

            Steve
            Handmade woodcrafts - relaunching soon.
            www.kipperworkshops.com[COLOR=Blue]
            Best range of wooden craft shapes and cutouts.[SIZE=2]

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            • #7
              Hi I know what you are feeling as that was me a year ago. I was working in a part time job in a chippy, had been there for a few years as it fittedin with school hours, and i was also sellin my cards on the market one day a week. The owner of our local craft shop approached me one day and asked if i would be intested in buying the business as she was moving away. She had known about it for some time and had unknown to everyone been running the stock down as she was coming to end of lease.A lot of customers had drifted away including myself as nothing ever changed in the shop. Any way( i am a libra also) i decided as i was so passionate about my cardmaking that this would be enough and i decided to take the plunge and go for it, when would i get an opportunity like this again, a business so cheap. Business is slowly getting busier and lost customers are starting to return commenting on how much better the shop is now. Its a lot of long days and never getting a break but it is worth it.
              Thats my story hope it helps and good luck if you go for it!!!

              Heather
              www.craftyaddicts.co.uk
              for all your cardmaking and scrapbooking needs!!
              www.craftyaddict.wordpress.com
              craftyaddicts blog site
              www.heatherbees.blogspot.com
              My personal blog
              http://twitter.com/craftyaddicts

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              • #8
                Wow Steve, you make me want to become self employed (well, of course I want to but now I believe it can work)! You should go into marketing!
                Katian Mosaics

                ♥ My Ebay Listings ♥

                My Facebook Page

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                • #9
                  i also totally agree with evarything steve just said.
                  www.craftyaddicts.co.uk
                  for all your cardmaking and scrapbooking needs!!
                  www.craftyaddict.wordpress.com
                  craftyaddicts blog site
                  www.heatherbees.blogspot.com
                  My personal blog
                  http://twitter.com/craftyaddicts

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                  • #10
                    I say go for it....
                    Sounds like a fab shop idea and in a good location...
                    Maybe one of you could keep the 'day job' like Steve then you will at least have some wages coming in for a bit. (you may fight over who though!!)
                    If life isn't how you want it to be.... Change it!!

                    Think of all those tourists that will come and buy from you, then go home and shop on your website!!
                    Good luck, we will all be rooting for you thats for sure!!
                    http://icecreambird.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone...how much do I owe you Steve for that wonderful advice ? Tried to give you some rep but it won't let me ! A couple of things have stuck in my mind and that is...life is short and it's better to try rather than wonder what could have been. I really feel now that I have to give it a go...I have been given hope ! And like you say...whats the worst that can happen !
                      I really can't thank you all enough...I feel really lucky to have found this forum and all of you...hope I'll be able to return the favour
                      Thanks...thanks & thanks again
                      Lorraine xx
                      PS; still thinking about the prim/shaker thing steve...got a creative block...will definately get back to you this week !
                      Handmade Country Decor & Needful Things

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                      • #12
                        Nay probs. Sounds like you have a lot of thinking going on at the moment, enough to block any crafting creativity. It's all good though!

                        Keep us all posted on your developments.

                        Steve
                        Handmade woodcrafts - relaunching soon.
                        www.kipperworkshops.com[COLOR=Blue]
                        Best range of wooden craft shapes and cutouts.[SIZE=2]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am really late in commenting on this thread but I just wanted to add my support. I took the plunge last year too, well actually I was pushed really when I was diagnoised with MS and my company 'made me redundant' when I was off sick... a whole other story!
                          I agree with everything that Steve said earlier, it's hard work, you never switch off and you live everyday as if it's the first day of your company again wondering if you will make a sale. Reading this makes it sound awful but it's not it's the best thing I have ever done in my life. I have a wonderful partner Ian who goes out to work every day and brings home the cash to pay the mortgage and never once questions my business ideas (except if they totally stupid of course!!) just supports me all the way. I have not replaced my old salary yet which is my goal but it's going in the right direction. More than that I am happy in my work, which is something I didn't realise I was lacking in my old job. If you have the support and the opportunity then I say go for it.. even if it fails you can always look back and know you had a good go!
                          Good luck
                          Anice xx
                          Funkyhand x
                          my website
                          http://www.funkyhand.com
                          my blog (updated 09/06/10)
                          http://funkyhand.blogspot.com/
                          Follow me on Twitter
                          http://twitter.com/funkyhand

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                          • #14
                            Ill go along with funkyhand on that as well, i have not yet replaced the wages i gave up when i took over my shop but i am getting there slowly and i am lucky also that my husband works fulltime so we have been managing without it, but i am eager to pay my own way which gives you drive to succeed!!!
                            Heather
                            www.craftyaddicts.co.uk
                            for all your cardmaking and scrapbooking needs!!
                            www.craftyaddict.wordpress.com
                            craftyaddicts blog site
                            www.heatherbees.blogspot.com
                            My personal blog
                            http://twitter.com/craftyaddicts

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Heather & Anice, I really do appreciate your advice and will go all out to put my dream into reality now. It comes to a point when I'm walking home from my day job (smelling of fry-ups!) and thinking 'I just can't do this for the rest of my life'. We all want the good life...doing our dream jobs and as was previously said, if it fails at least I can say I gave it a go.
                              I hope that all your businesses really take off as you all really do deserve success (a business built out of passion and love as opposed to just thinking of the amount of money to be made from it definately deserves to be a winner) Of course the money matters...although I can honestly say I haven't thought realistically about profit...thats probably bad isn't it ? I just want to be able to spend my working day doing what I love doing and I don't care if it enables me to buy a convertable car or only just pays the mortgage !!! As long as we can still have the lifestyle we have now...which isn't partically great...we don't have regular holidays or renew our car every couple of years ! But hopefully I will be happier and therefore my family (hopefully) will be happier !
                              I sort of know where you are all coming from as at the moment I am sort of running my parents business as they have got to the point where they don't really want to be doing it anymore and you are right, you never get a break...the adrenaline keeps you going....but I want to do this for me.
                              Thanks all...your so great !
                              Handmade Country Decor & Needful Things

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