Yipee!!! We are in the middle of our application period for our Spring Penelope Lane Boutique and we are thrilled with the outpouring of talented vendors who are applying! Applications will be accepted HERE through January 28th.
We thought it might be fun to hear from one of our long-time vendors about what it's like to be a vendor in our boutique, so we asked Heather from "Stuck in the Coop" to share her thoughts and ideas about "vendor-hood" in the crazy world of Penelope Lane Boutique!
What do you create in your shop?
In the sTuck in the Coop shop I create personalized, hand stamped jewelry and gift items. Most of the designs in my etsy shop are jewelry items that can be personalized with names, words or sayings of the customer’s choice. I love coming up with new designs using mixed metals and different textures and shapes. A lot of my designs have an eclectic feel, which I think makes them unique and versatile. When I am selling at boutiques, my booth is a “create your own” style set up. Customers can put together something personal for themselves or for a gift, with charms I have created. Initial charms, word charms, stones for a splash of color all available to design your own necklace, bracelet, or even keychain. I also have a variety of bracelets, rings and gift items that are stamped with special words, phrases or bible verses.
What is the inspiration behind your shop name?
I must first start by saying that I started this business to stay home with my boys (who are 15 months apart). They were 1 ½ years and 3 months old when I started. I was a teacher prior to having my boys and couldn’t bear to leave them and go back to work, but I needed to find a way to contribute to my family while staying at home. My shop name is sTuck in the Coop (yes the “T” is capitalized), my son’s names are Tucker and Cooper, so when I started this business of mine it was to literally stay “sTuck in the Coop” or at home with my boys Tuck and Coop.
What is your favorite part of being in the Penelope Lane Boutique?
There are so many things I LOVE about being a part of this boutique. I adore this craft community! I have made some very dear friends while being a vendor and shopping these boutiques. The family of women that work so hard to create Penelope Lane (Nancy, Sarah, and Sandy), are the sweetest. They make their vendors feel so welcome and are so supportive.
What would you say is unique about Penelope Lane Boutique?
I would have to say that Penelope Lane Boutique customers are unique, they are so very loyal and faithful. Without fail I see some of the same customers come back every single show to support this handmade community. It really is so special to get to know your customers in person and see them time and time again.
Something special to me about Penelope Lane Boutique is that it was my very first real deal show (other than small church and home shows). I had been selling solely online for a few years and decide to take the plunge and try this whole Boutique thing out, and I’m so happy I did.
Describe an average “night before the boutique”.
I live about an hour from Penelope Lane Boutique, but my grandma lives in Seal Beach so my mom and I normally come down the day before and stay the night at her house. We get some dinner and maybe do a little shopping, but as soon as my grandma is in bed it’s crunch time. I normally have some prepping of displays that has to be done, charms and beads to add the final finishing touches to, and bracelets to shape and form. Since I’m away from my workshop I have to bring my tools and set up a little work station there at her house. I’m lucky if I get 4 hours of sleep the night before (2 hours is about the norm). I always feel like I’ve forgotten something, and am always a little nervous and anxious the night before, but super excited once the day comes and it’s all set up.
How has selling your product at the boutique affected your business?
Since I was solely selling online it was nice to have a place to sell and meet customers in person. I think when people can connect with the creator of the products they buy they feel more secure about making more purchases in the future. I’ve had customers that came to the boutique and contact me days later saying “I wish I got…, can I order it from you and have you ship it to me?”. Seeing the products in person makes a big difference, so it’s nice for local customers to be able to stop by and see the items they are thinking of purchasing. Also, I do have some items that I make for boutiques first that may never even end up on my website. It’s nice for the customers of the boutique to have the first exclusive chance to buy something they may never see online.
Say “Hello”. Get to know your fellow vendors, they are your best resource for information, not to mention a support system. The day of a show can be very stressful setting up and such, if you need help kindly ask your neighbors. Bring a helper if at all possible, or request your booth to be next to someone you know to cover you for restroom breaks and lunch (we all must eat at some point). I have my “volunteer of the year” (Mom) come with me whenever she is available and she has been a life saver. Don’t get discouraged, we were all new at this at some point and the info I learn from each and every show only makes the next boutique that much better.
A big thanks to Heather from sTuck in the Coop for being such a wonderful vendor for the Penelope Lane Boutique. We are so blessed to have such amazing, talented, loyal vendors.
For more information about how to become a vendor at our Spring show, click here.