I am currently reading a very interesting book entitled “The Specialty Shop: How to Create Your Own Unique and Profitable Retail Business” by Dorothy Finell. The book is an ideal read for those dreaming of starting their own retail shop as the author talks about a wide variety of topics from pre-planning and finance, to merchandise selection and display, promotion and customer service.
One good approach of the book is that it provides interviews with successful small retailers – those who have done the whole specialty retailing business successfully. The owners of the Juel jewelry boutique in Sydney, Australia and the Henning’s Cake Shop in Santa Barbara, California, among others, share their insights on various topics such as:
- Selecting which products to carry
- Developing a business plan
- Choosing the right location
- Hiring and training personnel who will provide great customer service
- Creating an inviting ambience and choosing the right display materials, props and shelvings
- Planning an advertising and public relations campaign
- Navigating the world of trade shows and gift fairs
- Organizing a unique and memorable grand opening
- Developing a website and understanding ecommerce
What I also liked about the book is that it lists where you can source and buy your products – from the most important trade shows to contact information of buying offices. “Where can I get my products” is one of the most common questions of any would-be retailer, and these listings are invaluable.
The book will be available at Amazon on March 30, but definitely get a copy if you are planning to start your own retail shop.