One of the most common questions I was asked at Conference was actually from those attendees who hadn’t yet opened their shops. “How do I let people know I am opening before I’m open?” Here’s what I replied:
Start a blog. As a diary of your opening.
Post (in-focus, captioned, non-date-stamped) photos of what you’re experiencing. From the bare bones of your new location to your leasing agent toasting you in champagne in the local watering hole. From your nephew lugging in racks to your Grandma polishing the mirrors. The overloaded van and the mess you’ve made of computer cables.
Gain good-wishers before you even open.
Everyone loves to peer in on other people’s lives. Witness the reality TV trend. Build yourself a following, a batch of folk who have a STAKE in your success.
Show yourself as a REAL person. Show your vulnerabilities, your concerns, your goals and ambitions. Let your viewers follow your journey.
Let them HELP you.
Need a French Provincial desk to serve as your sales counter? Let them tell you where you might find one. Ask if anyone knows where you can find some slub-silk drapes for your dressing rooms or which newspapers they read. Wanna fill your under-construction windows with glossy shopping bags from classy stores or need a wing-back for your husband chair? Chances are, your audience can help guide you. Heck, they might even be TICKLED to give you just what you need. I got a 4 x 8 foot Parsons table that way… she was thrilled to be rid of it, I used it for 20 years.
Of course, you’ll print up business cards saying “Follow our journey from dream to the best consignment shop in MyTown” and hand them out all over village/town/city.
That’s a LOT more interesting to the recipients than “Opening Soon.”
And just think. A few weeks after you open, you can have a party for your blog followers, to thank them for their support…and of course, to have yet another occasion to point out the community support your new shop has. And to build a core group of advisers to whom you can go, as the months and years pass, for their opinions and support.