Archive for the ‘Business tactics’ Category
Every day at Nappy Shoppe, we get the comment. “It is so great to see the diapers in person”. And it is. I like it when I get to shop for products in person for the store, rather than looking at pictures on line. When I started out cloth diapering my son Braden back in 2008, there was no local store that I knew of, so I shopped on line. And some diapers I got were great, others not so much. The not so much ones, if I had seen them in person, I would never have wasted my money purchasing them in the first place.
And while we get the comment about seeing things in person a lot. Not everyone who makes that comment actually shops from us, or some will only buy a couple, and then shop the rest on line. This practice is called “showrooming“. And at Nappy Shoppe, we are a victim (yes I say victim) of this quite a bit. Showrooming, not only happens to small businesses like mine, but big stores like Best Buy have reported it to be such a huge problem, they have actually closed down stores for it. Brick and mortar stores are frequently showroomed for big online giants like Amazon. Showrooming is expensive to the “victim”. We pay wages, rent, utilities, insurance etc, to be able to show you our products. These costs are covered when WE make the sale. When the sale ends up going to the giants like Amazon, then we end up losing money.
Keeping Nappy Shoppe open is a daily challenge. (No we are not closing our doors anytime soon — thankfully there are those who make the effort to support local small business). And we rely on those sales to keep our doors open. When it comes to diapers, we will be the same as every other place who upholds their contracts with the manufacturers. Some other things we may be a tad more expensive, because I don’t have the bulk buying potential of some of the giants. But what I do offer, is customer service. My staff is a wonderful set of girls who are passionate about the products we sell. They want to see cloth diapers on every baby, mothers and fathers wearing their babies, mothers succeeding at breastfeeding, teething babies soothed. While we want to make sales, we also want to make sure what you buy is what you NEED for your family. We want you to go home knowing how to use that baby carrier correctly, go home feeling like breastfeeding is going to work out for you, knowing how to to wash your cloth diapers properly and so on. The big giants like Amazon, do not give a hoot about your efforts to breastfeed, or if you wash your cloth diapers in dreft and ruin them (after all you will have to buy more from them if you do that). If you do not breastfeed, then they get to sell you formula instead, far more lucrative for them.
I know this sounds like a bitter rant, and I guess it is. I am tired of being showroomed. I am tired of seeing on Facebook, a photo of someone who came into the store to be fitted for a carrier, wearing a carrier they bought elsewhere later on. When I sit down to do the books (yes this is what I was doing before writing this rant), and I try to figure out ways to give myself a paycheck for my 62 hour weeks, it is tough knowing that I was showroomed. Showrooming is actually a worse problem for us than theft (yes we do get stolen from).
So my moral of this rant is, buy where you touch. If you want to keep being able to see things in person, support those of us who have taken the risk and invested our time and resources into a business, and buy from them when you go in to see the items you wish to purchase.
Just across the way from Nappy Shoppe is Minnie’s Food Pantry. Minnies is one of the largest pantries in Collin County. They are members of the North Texas Food Bank. They are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT community and people funded. Every penny counts!
At Nappy Shoppe, we try to limit our carbon foot print. One way we do this is with the bags we use for our shoppers. We provide 100% recycled paper bags, or our reusable shoppers. But they cost money, so if we could avoid giving out many of those we would reduce our costs and our carbon foot print.
So what does this have to do with the food pantry? Well here is what we decided to do. If you forgo having a bag for your purchase at Nappy Shoppe, we will donate a quarter to Minnie’s Food Pantry. We have a jar at the register to put the quarters into. The folk at Minnies told me that a quarter buys a meal! So for every dollar we donate to them we provide FOUR meals! So when you decide not to take a bag at Nappy Shoppe, you are providing a meal for someone in need.
Oh and if you want to throw a few extra coins into the jar, that would be wonderful!
We are hiring a Mothers Helper at the store to help look after the children of the employees over the summer. The position will entail looking after a varied amount of children (depends on who is working as to what children will need looking after) that range in age from 4 months to 9 years. The job is on site at the store, in the premises next to the actual store front. Mothers will be nearby if needed. We have a playroom area that the children play in. The mothers helper will be expected to do some structured play with the children, including and not limited to teaching basic reading skills and doing crafts with provided materials.
- Love of children and babies
- Punctual & Reliable
- Ability to create activities to keep the children stimulated and occupied
Position starts Monday June 4th and will run for the duration of the summer vacation. This position is three days a week, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 10am to 5 pm.
If interested in the position, please stop in at Nappy Shoppe, at 3253 Independence Parkway, Plano Texas for an application. Please note working age teenagers are more than welcome to apply.
Cloth Diaper Therapist
If you are…
- Friendly and love to help others
- Passionate about cloth diapering
- Crazy about babywearing
- An advocate of breastfeeding
- A fun work environment in which you can share those passions.
- Ability to bring nursing babies
- Wonderful customers who share the passion.
Experience in cloth diapering, babywearing and breastfeeding a must. Retail experience would be a benefit.
Nappy Shoppe is a store that sells cloth diapers, baby carriers, and breastfeeding supplies. We look for staff who are as passionate about these products as we are. While a sales background is an advantage it is not a must, if you are a fun person to be around and are willing to learn.
Sales Associate Position
Need to be self motivated, able to multi-task, friendly and be able to relate to customer issues. Be open minded about all parenting styles. Willingness to learn about the products and how to use them.
Need a knowledge of cloth diapering, breast feeding, baby wearing and natural parenting products.
- Stocking and Organising Product
- Customer Service
- Product Demonstrations
- Teaching Classes
- Pulling and shipping website orders.
Come in and pick up an application today at the store.
3253 Independence Parkway
Plano Texas 75075
Many of our vendors and suppliers have donated prizes to the event. Every person coming to the store on the day will have a chance to win these prizes. On entry to the store, each family will be given 3 tickets. They can then use these tickets to enter to win the items of their choice (that way no one has to go home with newborn diapers for their 2 year old ;) ).
Every $10 spent will earn another ticket.
Some of these prizes will be drawn every hour. We will be dividing the prizes up into groups. A separate ticket for the hourly prizes will be given to every family who comes in the door to be in the running for those.
Online customers are not left out. Every order placed will earn 3 tickets, and then an extra ticket for every $10 spent. We will ask customers to say in comments which items they would like for us to put their tickets towards winning.
We will draw winners after closing. Locals are asked to pick up their prizes in the following week or two, online customers will have their prizes put in with their orders when they ship out on the Tuesday following our grand opening.
So here is the list of prizes so far (and as more arrive we will update this list). And this photo above does not do it justice.
- My Brest Friend Pillow -Black and White Dreamy
- Custom Tutu by The Lone Star Mommy – Includes a free Dance Class to McKinney Dance Studio.
- Dress Me Up Organic – 1 Small Bib, 1 Large Bib, 1 block, 1 ball, 1 bunny.
- Babee Greens – 12 Pack of Wipes
- Ergo – Ergo Changing Mat in Galaxy Gray
Itzy Ritzy – Regular Snack bag in pattern
Bum Genius 4.0 HL in Mirror.
- Bum Genius Elemental in Butternut
- Bum Genius 4.0 Snaps in Sassy
Thirsties – 6 Pack of Wipes
- Thirsties – AIO in Size 2 in Snaps, Melon, Mud and Meadow.
Little Toader – Chicken Wing Teether
Little Toader – Story Book Pjs – 18-24 Months
Itti Bitty – Ones and Twos – Yellow
Itti Bitty – Wet Bag – Carnivale
Sweet Pea – AI3 in Owl Print
Sweet Pea – Wet Bag in Owl Print
Sweet Pea – Flannel Wipes
Sweet Pea – Half Dozen Prefolds – Infant Size
Rockin Green – Hard Rock Rage against the Raspberries
Rockin Green – Hard Rock Lavender Mint Revival
Ju Ju Be – Be Quick
Ju Ju Be – 2 x Reusable Shopping Bags
Ju Ju Be – Miss Shuttle
Undercover Mama – Undershirt in size/colour of choice
Boba – Backpack in Kangaroo Print
- Bummis Beautiful Basic Pack – Infant Size (8-15 pounds)
- Bummis Swimmis – Small Pizzaz, Medium Clownfish, Large Woodland Animals.
- Snappis - 12 Baby Blue and 12 White Snappis
- Charlie Banana Pail Liner in Construction
- 2 Hooter Hiders
- Ergo Cargo Pack
- 2 Itzy Ritzy Snack Bags
- 2 Bum Genius detergent Samples
- 15 Babee Greens Cleansing Samples
- Mandarin Cleansing Green Set
- Moby UV Wrap
- Nappy Shoppe Medium Wet Bag
Well as you would have read earlier, we found our dream space thanks to the help of our wonderful agent Olin Jaye. So then the real work and headaches began. Sadly it turned into a real headache for me, but thanks to the Dr Vivian of Chiro One, that was soon fixed.
Moving into a store front is a lot of paperwork. Way more than residential I have found. The city had to inspect the place before we were allowed to move in or do anything in the space. And they gave a time frame of 7.30 to 2.30. So I turned up on the day in question at 7 am and unlocked the door. Well the space has three doors, I unlocked the main door. The city turned up and tried one of other doors and failed the inspection because he didn’t bother to try another door and stated it was locked. So I had to wait until the next business day for them to try again. This time I did not leave the space, and unlocked all three doors. However, the problem was we had already scheduled our movers, (3 Alarm Movers — Off Duty Firefighters), and they had to sit in the parking lot with the loaded truck waiting for the city to finish the inspection for an hour. On the clock of course because this was not their fault.
But finally we were allowed into the space. The movers brought in the sewing and office area. The store was to wait for a couple of weeks. Then came the power, and if I thought the citys time frame was a pain … they had nothing on the power company. They wanted me to wait from 8am till midnight!!!! Thankfully they turned up at 2. Not that we saw them, they didn’t even need to come inside. So then the contractor was able to start work. His job was to cut a doorway between the two retail spaces, add a door down the second hallway so we could turn it into a storage room and dressing room, and reface the check out counter.
Once he was done the painters came in. Check out some of the amazing before and after changes of what was done. And stay tuned for more information on the move! Check the website for move dates and the grand opening date.
This is the hallway which was like a dark cave before painting because of the dark red. We will be putting photographers work up on these walls.
This is the main room before and after. Taken from a different angle but the changes are evident. We repainted the beadboard white, and the walls went from white to light purple. We refaced the check out counter area. The floors will stay the same.
The check out counter was a solid structure that would be a lot of work to remove and more money to replace. So we decided to work with it. What was there was in pretty poor condition cosmetically. The beadboard was crumbling and there was a hole in the counter where there was once a sink. So we put new counters on top and extended the front counter by 6 inches all around so that we could use it to display product. Then we recovered it in slat wall. The slat wall looks nice enough on its own that we do not have to hang anything if we do not wish to. We repainted the black to white to match the beadboard around the rest of the store.
So it has been on the agenda for us to move our store from behind the black security gate of the office warehouse location. We get ZERO walk past traffic there, because we are simply not visible from the road. All of our business is from people seeking us out. We have products that are hard to find elsewhere, and one of the biggest selections around the DFW area, so my business has survived purely on web searches and word of mouth.
My first foray into the world of commercial real estate ended in disappointment. I did not get an agent, so I went into negotiating for a space on my own. And the first look over of the space, started out with rent is x amount, and we will give you x amount for fixing up the space. Then I put in an application, and the rent went up to Y amount, and 0 for fixing it up. It became more than my little business could afford, so under the advice of my wonderful staff, we pulled out of that negotiation and decided to hold off the hunt until the end of first quarter 2012.
So much for that plan. When I went to pay the rent for January, our current landlord told us that we had become too busy for our current location. And the sound of children and babies was too much for some of the other tenants. So it was time for us to look for another space. I was a bit worried about not being able to do it on my time frame, but you have to roll with the punches.
So this time we decided to do it right. Some google researches showed that an agent is paid for by the landlord, not the tenant! So that was not going to be an extra cost. So then came the question, who do I know that knows a commercial real estate agent. It’s a whole different ball game from residential real estate. Found a friend of a friend of a friend. An agent who specialized in tenants, not landlords. And this was the best move I had made so far. Olin Jaye had been in the industry for years, and he knew his stuff. He was patient with our ignorance, and was dedicated to finding the right space for us at a price we could afford. I honestly thought I would be at least doubling my rent expense based on my previous experience. So if any of my local small business friends are looking for a good agent, we have nothing but good to say about Olin Jaye.
So he took us around a bunch of places after he toured our existing space. He wanted to get a feel for what we were looking for. We saw some interesting spaces, including a former vet clinic that had some kind of broken pipe that had us running from the building holding our noses. He negotiated with the landlords agents for us, asked all the tough questions for us. Told us if it was going to be a good deal or not. We saw one space that needed a ceiling put in and a floor laid, and he asked if they were willing to fix, no, he told us to walk away from that one. He understood our limited budget and his goal was to get us into space that we could afford.
Then we came across a space that he could not get us to the inside of until the next day. We peered through the windows and said well what we can see looks good, but we need to know if what is behind the wall in the middle it is big enough for the office and sewing. If there is space for classes and so on. He took us back the next day.
This was a space that had stood empty for a while. And for many businesses it would not work because of the way it was divided up. But my business is not typical. We need a large office, we need retail, we need a classroom, we need a sewing room, we need a space for employees children. Walking this space, it had it all. And it didn’t really need a lot of modification to give us all that we needed. A coat of paint, and a door knocked between 2 spaces. It needed a sink for a break room, but the water connection was already there, so it would not be expensive to do.
Yes this was our space. Could we afford it? Well it is the cheapest of the spaces we were looking at. Well nice!! And that was before Olin negotiated a deal! By the time he was done, we came out with not having to pay rent double to what we had before, but rent the same as before but 1000 more square feet than we had before, and more importantly a space that was easily found and not behind a security gate.
Then the nitty gritty of lease signing, getting an attorney to look over the lease. And then on January 25th, I had the keys in my hand, and we were ready for getting utilities connected, city inspections and so forth …
And it is located on the South West Corner of Independence and Parker in Plano. Behind Half Price books, next to Covinos.
So here are the before photos of the space …
This is the store front. All the windows you see here are actually ALL of it. So can you see mannequins with baby carriers in a window? To the right is Covinos, a popular restaurant in Plano. We negotiated into the lease, the right to reserve two of those parking spaces in front for pregnant and new mothers. We will be getting a big lit sign saying Nappy Shoppe up on the facade.
This is the front room, the main retail space. It has a cash wrap already in place that needs a little bit of paint and repair to make it work. But it has power in it for our Point of Sale machine. Space for us to store our reusable bags that everyone loves. The floors are in good condition, so they need no work. The walls will need painting and the red feature on the ceiling will get painted purple and some pendant lights put up. On the right is where we will punch out a doorway to the space next to it. The door leads to the bathrooms. Out of view on the left is another door that leads to office/breakroom.
This will be the office and break room. It has a tile floor, and there is water connections. So we just have to put in a sink. The door with the light leads to a storage room with the back door.
This room is a small storage room. It will be wear we will store things like extra bags, extra product, all those things we don’t want in the way :) It has two large double doors for any fabric roll deliveries etc.
Three bathrooms! Mens, Ladies and Staff. We will get rid of the red here, and get our signature purple going here. And there is a nice long wall on the right to feature our wonderful photographers. Can you see it? A wall of photos of babies in cloth :) To the right of the bathroom door that is open, is a door that leads to a “staff only” area.
The bathrooms are actually nice! Nice tile etc. And I promise to keep the toilet roll holders full :)
This is the hall on the other side of the staff only door. Down to the right near the window, will be where we will cut open the wall to the retail space, so that what is near the window will be retail too. We will actually block off this hallway at the end, and it will be converted into the dressing room. To the left near the camera is two doors. One leads to sewing, one to the homeschooling room.
There was no power connected when I was taking these photos, so we had to do all this with the flashlight. This large room will be our sewing room. No more drafty warehouse for the girls! A floor that will be easy to clean.
This room is right next to the sewing room. It is for the children of employees. Some of us homeschool, so it will have space for children to study. It will have a TV and DVD player, and a couple of little comfy chairs. And of course toys. And that little room off to the left there, that will have a pack and play in it for naps. And another desk for any child that needs a quieter space to work.
This room, we are super excited about. To the left is that long hallway. And the wall on the left will be where the cut out will be to join the retail spaces. So the front part will be retail. This room to the right will be our class room/community room. It will start out with folding chairs, but as money allows we will get some comfy chairs in there. If you ever need a space to come and breastfeed baby, this space will be available for that while empty. And we will have another space in the main retail area for mums to sit and feed in.
So we are pretty excited about this space. It fills all of our unique needs, from retail, to office, to sewing, to classes, to homeschooling. And located pretty centrally in Plano as well :)
Stay tuned, we will be taking plenty of photos of the changes that we make :)
Nappy Shoppe is Moving Soon!
Our Destination is still up in the air, but we are getting ready for the big move by reducing our inventory! And you get to save BIG!
Take an extra 10% off anything in our Clearance section.
Use coupon code “clearance10″ for an extra 10% off when shopping the Clearance section on the website. In store we will take an extra 10% off the marked price for items on our clearance wall.
50% off Melissa and Doug Toys for a limited time
And an additional 15% off the following:
· Diaper Bags
If you would like to donate a toy into our box or the box at the front office of Advantage Storage, please feel free to come and drop it off. Also if you purchase the toy through Nappy Shoppe, we have the following offer. Any Melissa and Doug toy purchased through Nappy Shoppe and donated to the Toys for Tots program will be 30% off, and any Melissa and Doug toys that you purchase for yourself will also be 30% off.
We now have a class room at Nappy Shoppe. It in the office next door to the store, in Suite 101. It doubles as a play area for employee children, and a nap space too. But it now means we can offer classes while the store is open. Keep an eye on our new calendar (see the link on the upper right of the blog), to see when new classes are coming up. We are offering more and more natural parenting classes all the time.