Tips for Creating an Online Store
Posts Tagged ‘store of the month’
We are excited to announce that our Store of the Month for February 2009 is Haystack, a Chicago-based boutique specializing in vintage household items. Haystack is primarily a real-life brick and mortar storefront, but recently created an online version of the store using Flying Cart as a way to expand sales and keep customers informed about their new items. The store is owned by Erin Liston, John Mokate, and Phil Tadros. The online store design was done by Darren of Doejo.com. I caught up with Erin to ask her about the business.
Flying Cart: What was the hardest part of getting the store started?
Erin: The biggest hurdle we faced from idea stage to opening was staying on time and in budget. Everything cost more and took more time than we originally allowed for. The end result was wonderful, but the build out and renovation was a lot of work. For example, we walked in thinking we had one ceiling, but three ceiling demolitions later, we have our end result. In the end it was totally worth it, but it was something we hadn’t counted on at the beginning.
FC: That sounds a lot like the early beginnings of Flying Cart. How did you come up with the concept for the store?
E: The concept began with two old friends of Phil’s who had a large inventory of things they wanted to consign and approached him with the idea of opening a consignment shop. When I got involved shortly after that, I wanted to broaden that idea to local art consignment. When we started rolling with ideas, we realized that we wanted to sell things that we love, that were previously loved, at an affordable price. We strive to be a positive force in the community, where people can pass on their loved objects to those who will appreciate them. Nostalgia was another idea we talked about.
FC: I think you have to love what you sell because then all the hard work doesn’t seem so much like work. What are some of your favorite things that you have in the store?
E: We had a set of Russian nesting dolls that I loved. We currently have a beautiful 1930′s armoire that I think is just so unique. Sometimes it’s hard to part with things, I grow so attached! I am also in love with our collection of salt and pepper shakers. Of course, if there is something that I just can’t live without, it doesn’t always make it out to the floor. I certainly have increased my personal collection of vintage wears after opening Haystack.
FC: You must always be on the lookout for more stuff. Where do you find the vintage items?
E: You name it! We are always on the look out for new items. We find them everywhere. Consignors, estates, thrift stores, yard sales, auction, back alleys, great aunts, everywhere. Its amazing how quickly things started coming our way once we opened ourselves to the possibility.
FC: What is are your favorite and least favorite things about running the store?
E: My favorite thing about running the store is getting to know the people who come in. I love when they are inspired by what we are doing, and find things that bring a wide smile to their face. I like when people are inspired to be creative. My least favorite thing is keeping track of the inventory, which is very important, but also very tedious. Even that’s not so bad, though.
FC: Yeah, seeing happy customers is very rewarding and then there is always the business stuff that still needs to get done at the end of the day. You are doing well …. how do people hear about you?
E: Because we are a resale shop starting in a recession, we received some great press right off the bat. We mostly function on word of mouth. Initially we ran for months with loads of customers just based on our wonderful location in Lakeview Chicago.
FC: You know you are doing something right when people tell their friends about you and when people want to write articles about you So, why did you decide to create an online store and how did you choose Flying Cart?
E: At this day in age, it just makes sense to have an online presence in order to reach a wide range of people all over the world. By going online, we no longer have geographical limitations when reaching customers, especially since all of our items are so unique. People can shop from the convenience of their couch instead of hoofing it around town. It saves them time and money. Our regular customers can also check up on us and see what’s new in the shop. We chose Flying Cart due to it’s ease of use coupled with it’s lack of fees. It is very user friendly. It’s as easy to understand as Myspace or Facebook, and doesn’t have all of the fees and limitations of Ebay.
FC: I totally agree with you. Thanks Erin and best of luck for your continued success!
|Our featured store this month is The Good Envelope Party, a collective that makes stationary out of recycled materials. I interviewed founder Jenny Rask.|
Jenny: We used to donate it to school fundraisers and had our stationery in a local store in L.A. called O.K. on 3rd Street.
Jenny: We are so lucky! Being published in Daily Candy has been a huge help : )