Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Boutique: Results Are In

Well the boutiques are over and I'm still stocked up on hooded towels.  So as you can guess the results were not too great.  The first boutique felt like it was honestly a waste of time but at least it was free and only 3 hours long.  And I did run into some old friends from my old job.  It was a backyard boutique with the majority of vendors being the multi-level marketing type vendors (that's Utah for you...I think my husband says we're #1 for this in the nation).  My friend and I were two of possibly four that were hand crafted items.  My feeling is that this scared off a lot of shoppers with a more craft oriented target.  Who wants to go to a boutique crowded with pushy and sales strong people.  I would just skip it if it had been me getting the invite or seeing the advertisement.

I sold four towels.  All to other vendors.  Not one went to a customer coming through.  The traffic was so slow and low that I honestly think it was under 20 people who came through...probably less.  So it wasn't much of a win situation but....
Our booth set up for the official boutique

The next boutique was almost worse especially considering overall profit.  The same friend and I split a booth and the cost.  So I put in $30 to be in the boutique.  It was better organized, had much better traffic but it claimed $30 and 13% commission.  Double yuck!  I sold 6 towels at this boutique and as we were wrapping up the show the woman who organized and ran it said the towels had done really well.  I don't think so.  I made more money in hand at the other boutique despite my qualms with it.  Have I learned anything?  I'm not sure.  I like not having to man a booth.  I learned I need to diversify my inventory.  I threw out two onsies I made for myself that were never used at the last boutique for the last two days and one sold...which surprised me.  Maybe I'll try those again.

We are going to try the boutique thing one last time.  This one will be in November so we're crossing our fingers that holidays around the corner will boost our sales a lot.  We are brainstorming what we'll add into our inventory and what might be a hot item for the holidays.  If this were to go well we might try again but I'm not having my hopes up too high (and it would probably be a once a year venture).


Tiffany said...

Interesting to read this. From an organizers end, I can tell you that our boutiques have been declining in successfulness (if that's really a word?) and I'm not entirely sure why. I've speculated on a few reasons but there doesn't seem to be one clear answer so I understand the frustration. I hope you do well at your next one, your towels are super cute!

Michelle D said...

Thanks for the comment Tiffany :)

Yah I think I just overestimated myself based on some luck I've had with Etsy. Definitely need to get more creative and less main stream on items (although still desirable).

Have you found your luck with Etsy going down also Tiffany? Or have you closed up shop for a while with your newest little one and everything else.

Tiffany said...

My etsy shop did quite well over the holidays. I've noticed that most of my customers are back east which I've heard is common for etsy. So etsy success does not necessarily mean local boutique success. I also think that we are in the DIY capital so it's hard to pedal homemade things when most people can make it themselves.

I'm taking a break right now with the baby and I've been helping Nate get his business going. I'm hoping to get things back up for the next holiday season. During the holidays I try to add some kid products into my shop and they do very well. Don't be afraid to give some new things a try. If they don't work out you can always drop them!

Michelle D said...

HAHA No I definitely do not expect the same results for Etsy vs local boutique. Utah is definitely the capital of craft and other marketing schemes. And I will be doing some new stuff pretty soon...lots of ideas rolling just narrowing my efforts. Thanks :)

Glad that you are getting your time in with your new baby and been able to help with Nate's business. That is great. Hope all else is well.