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Resale Style: Kate plays store!

Sharon Roy, who together with husband Ron ownsYesterday's Memories, in Venice Florida, invited Kate Holmes fo TGtbT.com to come "make over" a few corners of their consignment shop Yesterday's Memories in Venice FL, was kind enough to let me come to her shop with my camera and some ideas I want to show you all. Kind of an Extreme Makeover, Resale Style!

The Roys bought this shop in 2001. Along with the business, they got Star Staffer Linda Wampner, and with the help of Maureen Maigret (who kept the shop functioning this day as we three played store), these folks run a shop which has expanded into all four storefronts in a double-sided commercial building in downtown Venice. The shop is now 4000 sq. ft., and carries womenswear, menswear, household decor and furniture.

Sharon was thinking, she said when I got there, of eliminating the knick-knacks from the shop. They're just not selling, she said, pointing out the three glass-and-chrome shelving units right as customers enter the store.

Well, as you know, Kate's never one to suggest you stop carrying a category without a fight! So we decided we would try remerchandising those little shelf items to see if, perhaps, we could sell more.

Follow us as we....

Rearrange a focal point....

Standing in the entry to the shop, looking past the glass-shelf area, this is what a shopper sees. The three white shelving units form a wall that "hides" the shop's kitchen/storage area, but unfortunately, the shopkeepers had gotten used to thinking of it as a wall, not as a display piece directly in the shopper's first glance. Under that forest green cloth is a stack of plastic bins filled with several consignors' incoming which had not been checked in yet.

If you must have unsalable piles of incoming in a public area...at least put them in the least usable area!


Consignment shop furniture and home decor needs some staging, and Kate Holmes comes to the rescue

So the first thing we did is move the stuff out of the main area of the shop. The glass and chrome unit on the left of this picture held some of the shop's jewelry, but it's doubtful that was seen often, since the (for-sale) silk tree blocked the view of it.

Making room for work...and for browsers. 

Since there was nowhere to store the extra glass shelving without a major revamp of the shop, we killed two birds with one silk tree: moved it between the two units, which made the jewelry shelves more visible, and the stored glass shelves (almost) invisible. Now let's take a look at what the shop had on this focal-point area:

Picture frames. Priced from $1 to around $6. Boring, inexpensive, and visually unappealing. Let's banish the less-expensive unexciting stuff to some lesser area. Let's figure out what we can put here instead. What will draw customers into the shop, get them involved touching and feeling, and stimulate their browsing hormones?

Color! Bold silhouettes! A melange of things that will draw customers into the midst of your wonderful store and start them thinking, "That's right, I need one of those!"

An hour later, this is the beginning of their holiday department

This makeover was done in mid-October, so the shop didn't have a lot of holiday decor items in yet and we had to make do. We filled in the gaps with white-and-gold china, wine glasses and serving pieces for entertaining. We still had available space, and sparseness is not good. So we added items that would be good gift purchases (on the lower right, some bath products. On the left, pre-boxed Lenox gift pieces.)

We softened the geometry of the shelving with some for-sale crochet pieces and hung the one stocking to break up all right angles.

Notice that we filled the top of the units with merchandise, too. This serves several purposes: more space, more reason for the browser to head deeper into the shop and it distracts the eye from the refrigerator behind. We chose things that wouldn't be dangerous if they fell, as well. Linda really loved the way the sparkly silver top "lights up that whole area!"

We used a plate stand to give one cubicle a bit of height, and stood a dinner plate or two on end for the same reason. With some more time, we could have varied the heights of items as well, using risers to give depth and interest.

The crew still has plenty of work to do in this area (resale shops are always works in progress!) but they also have a good head-start on a brand-new "department" in the shop...one that had been more like a storage area before.

As the holiday items come in, the staff will have to make some adjustments. Things not specifically holiday-only, such as the sets of china, can be moved elsewhere...unless they're already sold, which is our goal of course!

Please notice that we did not, and should not, use "decorations" to create a holiday mood. Use the merchandise that's for sale only. (Well, if you want to add a luxe green velvet bow to the red china, that's okay; the point is, do not distract from your for-sale stock!)


A nice used furniture piece, that needs to have a little resale Shop Sizzle applied to it!We decided to make this for-sale cupboard look more appealing. Shouts European country to me, doesn't it to you? But putting clear glass items and boxed goods on the cupboard doesn't make a browser think I love that cupboard, gotta have it, can't live without it! Much more likelt to sell in this consignment shop, now that we're applied the principles of SHOW it to SELL it!All we did was add brightly-painted pottery and open the top to give the area some depth and show off the shelving feature. We plopped a birdcage on top, and with more time, we'd have rearranged the surrounding pictures to something more primary color as well.

If we hadn't had bright pottery, what else could we have used? Maybe a collection of blue-and-white ware, maybe an artistic pile or two of cookbooks and a basket of kitchen towels. In resale, it's all about Here today, gone tomorrow. That's the fun of resale, both for those who work there and those who shop there!


As we worked together to do something more exciting with the bric-a-brac, here's what Sharon and Linda and I talked about. For more tips, click the book cover to get Shop Sizzle, written specifically for the consignment, resale, and thrift shopkeeper:
  • Like items, displayed together, increase appeal. If you catch a browser's eye with a lamp shaped like a lighthouse, have a lot of lighthouse choices right there. She may not have the need or the room for that lamp, but surely a lighthouse picture frame, coasters, or handbag will fit into her home and budget.
  • Layering and clustering makes space. It was amazing how just a few hours' work made so much more room in the shop. We "layered" (put things slightly in front and behind each other, always keeping in mind the breakage factor), and we clustered like with like. We even took the hand mirrors, makeup selection and manicure sets and put them with the jewelry, which needed some more interest.
  • Adjacencies matter. On those front shelves, which should showcase the best of the best in the shop, was a miscellany of items that would be better played down. For example, there were lots of "guy stuff": the kind of odds and ends that men find more interesting than decorative plates and figurines. But moving this type of shelf item (think poker chips, flashlights, calculators and hardware) to the last room, next to the menswear? Gives the guys a place to be happily occupied for a bit longer than average...while their wives spend money. 
  • What are browsers likely to snap up? Since Venice attracts a lot of tourists, we planned to fill those front shelves with things that might remind shoppers of their vacation such as shells, tropical bird and flower statuettes, or nautical, golf, and beach memorabilia. Even better if these items are easy to stick in a suitcase!
  • Don't waste prime space on slow sellers. Antiques and vintage items aren't big sellers here. So we planned to gather that type of item (the antique rattan footstool, the old boxes filled with old buttons, the 1930's figurines) in the farthest far corner, where they'd look better together for the few shoppers who are interested, and not "waste" space that could be used for faster-turning-over goods.
  • Finally, we figured out just why the knick-knacks were not selling on the glass units right in the beginning of the shop: it was scary to shop there! The shelves, being home units rather than retail units, are flimsy and people were leery of them. And most of all? They were simply too close together! There was no room to move without fearing that your hip or your handbag would knock something to smithereens. So shoppers didn't linger...and some of them never entered...this most-valuable spot in the shop. Sharon thought she might try removing one of the units to give more elbow room, and I agreed that even with less space, she'd probably sell more.
 Linda, left, and owner Sharon.  A lucky break: no cars in front when I went out to take a picture! All four store fronts under the arcade are Yesterday's Memories. Thanks for allowing me to use the shop as our Extreme Makeover, Resale Style.


Shop Sizzle, a TGtbT.com Product for the Professional Resaler


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