Last July was my very first trip to market for Treehouse. I looked at the World Market Center towers in Las Vegas with wonder in my eyes. The product possibilities seemed endless. Floor after floor, booth after booth of great products just waiting to hit our shelves. I strapped on my walking shoes and marched in with Cathi, our store manager, Justin, my husband, and Duane, my father. I had recently recovered from pneumonia, so I had to wear one of those masks to protect myself from all the new people and possible germs from around the world. Wow, was I stylin'!
So what goes into planning for these events? Prior to any shopping, of course we always do some budgeting. We look at our gift and home decor categories: home decor: farmhouse, primitive, everyday, seasonal, etc, kitchen, luminary, health and beauty, wedding and anniversary, baby, children, birthdays, special occasions, graduation, sympathy, Christian gifts, man cave, furniture, wall art, stationary, gift wrapping station. We compare our square footage for each area to make sure everything will fit. Now that we have been open for over six months, we can really get a feel for the sales per square foot for the areas and use our reports to calculate the turn of the products to determine weather we should expand a section or shrink it, buy more or stop, etc. Each section has a budget we stick to. We bring our client requests with us and scout out items and brands they are requesting, and hit the floors.
What is our product criteria? We love going to shows because you can as Cathi would say "touch it, feel it, smell it, and taste it!" So, true. We must do a lot of catalog shopping, but when we get opportunities to go to trade shows, we do most of our ordering because we can tell the quality. We don't want to be carrying what everyone carries. We look for the step up qualities and for the unique. We like to carry gifts in all price points so we have variety for our clients. The price point for the quality has to be right or the product won't move. We always ask ourselves, "do we have a client for that?" It's not always what we would buy, but always would our clients buy that product for that price?
We have so much fun hearing all the benefits of the new products coming out and seeing the season's first! We are always ordering several seasons in advance. Now we are already ordering next year's spring products. Most of Fall and Christmas is ordered in January, and we have already started receiving Fall and Christmas.
We have been to the Minneapolis Mart and the Atlanta Gift Show as well. We meet fabulous vendors who really help us make it happen. I will be attending the Las Vegas Market at the end of this month. I will get you all some behind the scenes photos to see!