Saturday, May 8, 2010

Brynne & Laguna Retail

One of the sweetest people you'll meet in Laguna is my friend Brynne. I met her by chance one day at my sister's house; it seems like ages ago, but it was only about a year and a half. She was also launching her business, Backward Prints; she prints handmade note cards made from linoleum presses she carves by hand; we compared some notes, gave each other encouragement, and did a few shows together like the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival and Laguna Green Valentine show. I will do a post on her soon; I am SO excited for her to have her own booth at the Sawdust Festival this year!

Brynne stopped by Corona del Mar today and picked up a green Cap Ferrat for Mom and another large yellow Antibes for herself; perfect match for her scarf:
I haven't seen Brynne in months, but it was funny how she soon launched into a story of how much she enjoys her XL ombre baskets and how she carries all her merchandise in them to shows; the drawstring liner keeps things from falling out and hides extra merch too. She was explaining to me how she saw one of the retailers in town, and he asked her where she got her basket. She went on about me and the baskets and how great they are and told him he should carry them. I had spoken with this retailer at our launch, and his buyer had no interest, per the feedback from the retailer.

I used to wish I had a store in Laguna that carried the baskets; I have offered them on consignment, if that would help; but alas, many of the retailers who cater to the seasonal beach crowd here carry merchandise Made in China. The price point is much lower, but you get a bag that will not be as well made and will not last more than a season. I guess that's good for a disposable bag, and to get your shoppers to return for seasonal merchandise; but mine are used weekly and daily by my clients; it's a different animal. That's why I focus on the upscale resort areas, and not exactly to the tourist crowd, though I have a lot of tourists buy baskets at the farmers markets. I have sold baskets through my website to clients in 36 states, at last count.

I have decided recently to not approach any more retailers in my own backyard; I'd rather sell in CdM and online; meanwhile, I am busy focusing on the people and stores around the country that DO want my merchandise. It was interesting yesterday that the other vendors mentioned that "the only thing that was selling was the baskets." I guess what sells in a retail store is different from what sells at a booth at the garden tour...?

I went to Trader Joe's this afternoon after the market, and filled my large Orange Cap Ferrat with my purchases, including a pink hydrangea; I realized suddenly that all the cashiers had on pink T-shirts, and it was a fabulous contrast to my orange tote; I forgot my camera in the car but got a shot outside the store on my phone, and will go back tomorrow for an in-store shot:

Tomorrow I will be back in Rancho Santa Fe farmers market; we will have our mother's day celebration next weekend, when everyone is back in town....

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