Stocking Our Retail Boutique

Now that we’ve gotten somewhat settled in our new location and with all of our services, we are thinking about our retail products. The dilemma has been whether to purchase premade retail products or to have our own custom (and private label) products. After careful consideration we’ve opted for a combination of both.
The main things that we took into consideration were:
> Cost of purchase of ready-made products versus cost to manufacturer
> Custom packaging options/private labeling available
> Minimum purchase requirements
> Time requirement (ordering versus manufacturing)
> What would set us apart from our local competition
Creating my own products is not something new to me. Over the years I’ve studied herbal medicine and skin care product ingredients and chemistry, plus I had my own line of hand, foot, and body care products years ago when I owned a different salon. (I still have all my old recipes.) It’s not practical for us to manufacture all of our retail items. But most of the consumables we use on our clients we’re already creating in house on demand in individually sized quantities.
The introduction of our own product line couldn’t be at a more appropriate time. I mean, what better time to introduce new items than at Christmas? Our products will initially be available in small sample sizes and we will add larger size options as we figure out the client demand. The sample sizes will also make our products perfect stocking stuffers. Some of the products we will start off with include cuticle oils, lotions, scrubs, powders, sprays, and nail repair kits.
In addition to our own brand of products, we will also be offering toe rings, polishes, pedi-socks, gift certificates, chocolates, pumice stones, and a few other items.
The most difficult part of retailing was coming up with the required initial investment. Since we’re on a tight budget it was necessary for us to purchase only a little at a time. So we spaced our purchases out from the time we opened until now. Adding a few items at a time didn’t hurt our budget as much. And it offered us a way to keep things fresh every week. 
—Melodie, Tickled Pink Salon & Nail Spa, Clayton, N.C.

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