Saturday, May 28, 2011

Talking Shop

Having spoken to quite a few people that I know in the retail trade, I think it is fair to say that this year has been a difficult one so far. One person said to me that in their opinion, if goods are in the high-end price bracket, then generally things are still OK, as people with money will still have some spare cash to splash around. The low-end/budget-line businesses are also managing to keep their heads above water, as more of us are having to turn to these outlets for our general buying needs.
Its the middle-of-the-road businesses that are possibly being hit hardest, as those who previously shopped with us are now faced with high utility bills, astronomical petrol prices, and food costing more and more each week. I don't intend to start getting political, but when a government is encouraging us to save rather than to spend, its another barrier to negotiate.
The fact that the items in my shop can't be considered a necessity, makes securing a sale even more precious.
I don't want to sound like I'm whinging, as I know we have it a lot better than many other countries in the world...but I just needed to get my thoughts onto my blog today, so that if/when things turn a corner and they do pick up again, I can look back and reflect that I made it through...
To look at some of the positives this week...
1: I met a lovely lady called Lisa on Friday. She had travelled from Buckinghamshire to visit my shop after reading my blog. (Having read that I had been feeling a little under-the-weather this week, she arrived with a pretty pelargonium plant for me (so sweet!) - I have already planted it in our garden :)
2: Some great news that I heard today, is that after an appeal, enough money has been raised to renovate the ageing Market Cross on Shepton Mallet's Market Place. Wonderful to think that after the work is carried out, it may stand tall for another 5 centuries or more...
3: 'The Wells Emporium' - soon to be 'Somerset Antiques & Interiors' will be opening for business early in June. Hopefully this will give a boost to the town. (I mentioned the shop that they have taken at the very end of this post.)
4: At work I am surrounded by merchandise that I love, get to meet many wonderful people, and can sit and sew to my hearts content. (If I manage to make a 'living' from it, then that will be the icing on the cake.)
That's more than enough to be going on with for now...
Keep happy thoughts and enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Niki x


  1. Oh I so wished we lived nearer! I am absolutely drooling over the wicker vanity...
    Your post read with optimism and just the right amount of nostalgia(and fairly good business acumen). I just know anyone will wish for a peak at your lovely shoppe!
    Since I can only do some "window shopping" from our tiny island, please accept my best wishes for a wondeful season!
    Cheers! Keep the spirit!

  2. It is so hard Niki, I do agree with everything you say. It can be very soul destroying when you put your heart and soul into something. I have been a little downhearted lately too and I don't even have the overheads of a shop like you do. Then on the upside you do meet some lovely customers and it restores your faith in human nature. Keep your chin up and let's hope for some better times ahead. Have a lovely bank holiday.
    Jo xx

  3. I've done a few craft markets recently, selling my homemade cushion, soap etc. for the first time. While I've had great feedback, and seemed to sell more than other stalls I soon realised this was not the way to make ones fortune, especially during a recession. I think people are not impulse buying and thinking do I need it rather than do I want it. I know I do that too where previously I would just snap something up on a whim. Hang on in there. Louise x

  4. THe US gov't is telling people to spend and get the economy going rather than save; typical of our gov't...I am saving but your kind of shop I will spend in. I think the new"made in China" stuff is rubbish! Did not make it this trip to the UK but will look you up in the fall (autumn)! Are your hours posted on the blog?

  5. Oh I just wished I lived closer to you. I would be in your shop all the time. I am planning to visit you this year though. ~c~

  6. Oh Dear Niki, I'm afraid I too must echo the sentiments of those above ~ dearly wishing that I lived closer in order to frequent your absolutely wonderful shop! So often I sit and look through your lovely blog pictures several times over, just trying to take in every inch of loveliness, and wishing very much to be visiting and purchasing from you. If ever I get to visit England (my earnest prayer!) your shop is my first destination! Oh dear, I hope that didn't sound too soppy ~ I feel very much for you, knowing just how much of your heart and soul you put into making your shop such a welcoming haven to Nostalgia lovers far and wide! Am thinking of you especially. Remember those lovely words on one of your beautiful Scripture texts ~ "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you." I Peter 5:7
    Loving thoughts, Brenda

  7. It certainly is a tough climate to be in at the moment. I did a fair yesterday & there was a LOT of "looking"..... xx

  8. Bonjour Niki,

    We are seeing the same thing here in SW France with customers buying essential items. I am hoping that this passes quickly :-)

    Bon week-end a toi,

    Leeann x

  9. Nikki, we are having the same situation here in the USA. Times are so hard, especially for us gals who are in this business. It is a labor of love. I, too, hope to earn a decent living from the things I sell - but for now, I just pray that the days ahead will be more promising.

    I love your shop!!


  10. Everything you say is true. I like that one day you will look back and see you got through it....Hang in there!

  11. Hi Niki that was a very poignant post. We have been doing vintage and retro fairs since last year in the North East and today we were at Gateshead Stadium. It was busy early on but there was a lot of looking and putting back of things. I agree with what you and those who commented say, that I hope you can ride it out you have worked so hard ot get here and your shop is lovely. Hope the comments have cheered you up

  12. Hi Niki, The economy is still very tenative. DH and I were shopping at Macy's and there were hardly any customers. That was so different since this was in Scottsdale,AZ (very affluent population).

    I have wanted to ask you if you would consider having an online shop that ships to the US. So often I have seen something in your pictures and wanted to buy it.

    Take care and best wishes for continued success.

  13. Hello Ann,
    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I know it is difficult times throughout the world. When the US dollar does not exchange well with the GBP, then sales on my website became very scarce.

    I ran an on-line shop for around 8 years - It became exhausting, as I hand make a lot of my stock myself. The work involved in a website is actually more than a physical shop in some ways, as the paperwork and wrapping and despatching takes a lot of effort. I still have the on-line shop (link on my blog's sidebar), but I struggle to find the time these days to add much to it...and I don't really want to spend my days off having to list goods and be wrapping and packing...I need a little genuine time off.

    I'll do what I can to get some more stock available on there and thanks again for your interest.

    Have a great week,

  14. Hello Niki,
    I have just discovered your blog, it's brilliant! I'm also lucky enough to be close enough to visit your shop very soon I hope! I am an Antiquarian bookseller and also deal in vintage and collectable bits and pieces... I shall enjoy reading all about your shop and your finds. Best wishes, Jane

  15. Hi Nikki
    We have a vintage shop in West Wimbledon, London.Please take comfort that you are not alone. We have noticed such a change in people's shopping habbits this year. It is as if the tap was just 'turned off' in February.I have blogged about this too. It is soul destroying when you follow a dream and what we do is so incredibly personal it's hard not to take it personally. My husband and I feel at times like we are throwing a party and nobody has bothered to come but all the businesses in our little parade of shops are battling. This is a time for courage and camaraderie.Please hang in there, your shop is beautiful and an inspiration to so many.
    Much love, Holly Nicholas-Steele


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx