Do you ever have days where you start out happily bobbing along, thinking that you have a plan for the day and that you know what needs to be done, and then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, something quite unexpected happens and sets you off on a different track?
But in a good way, though (no disaster movies here thank you!)
This happened to me last Monday. I was merrily going about my day when, out of the blue, an email popped in to my account, which I knew instantly was going to be very good for my business.
It was from The Penicuik Storehouse inviting me to stock my products with them. The only snag was that I had to be able to stock my shelf on the Thursday, just three days later. Was I interested, they asked. Absolutely! Yes!!
For those of you who don’t know (and why should you) getting a shelf in a shop to sell your items is such a great step forward for a small business. It puts your product in front of customers every day and they can touch and feel your items and get a much better idea of what’s on offer. On-line is great, but even with the best product photos and most detailed descriptions, buying in person is so much better.
But shelf-rental (as it’s known) is extremely competitive to come by and is rarer than hen’s teeth! I’d made it my goal for 2022 to get a shelf somewhere and had been applying to various cafes, galleries, and venues in recent weeks, but without any success.
The email from The Storehouse wasn’t completely unsolicited, though. I had approached them at the end of 2021 but they were full-up at that time. They must have kept my details on file – and I’m so pleased that they did – and I was so chuffed that they thought to approach me when they had more space available.
The Penicuik Storehouse is a community-run wholefoods shop and cafe and they’ve turned a large area over to local artisans and creatives to sell their wares. They spent a few days last week reorganising the space and moving the cafe to the front, so that it now looks out over the high street. It has lovely miss-matched tables and chairs and real homely-feel to it.
When I arrived on Thursday afternoon they were still deep in organisation, but my shelf space was clearly marked up just for me. Yay! It hadn’t been a hoax dream, this was real and really happening. I set to, placing my things on the self, using some props to create interest and height. I’d taken a few of everything – egg cosies, purses, tea cosies, etc, to try out on the shelf and see what customers are interested in buying. I was careful not to over-fill the space and made sure that it looked good and had some cohesion to it. It’s an area that will grow and develop over the coming weeks as I see what items sell well, not so well, and try different looks and layouts. It’s like playing at ‘shops’. But for real!
I’m heading to The Storehouse tomorrow, for my first visit after setting up. I’m excited and nervous to see what’s been bought – if anything! And looking forward to seeing how the store is developing and what other artisans are now in place.