hyde park village pop-up shop [recap]
Running a successful retail business is a balancing act—between the relevance of your product to your audience, the convenience of your location (point-of-sale), and the ability to instill a sense of value in the course of transactions.
It is an exercise in answering an associated series of questions: what makes our product interesting, unique, or useful? Is is easy to get to our offering, online and/or offline? Are we competitive on price, or are we offering something valuable to our customer because it is interesting, unique, or found only through me? How are we creating a connection with customers such that they favor us over others that might offer something similar?
There are other questions any business-owner should ask themselves, but those are the basics.
Uncommon Finds started with a set of brands that were unknown in the local market, and niche in general. We’d decided that Tampa residents would appreciate non-commercial, independent, and artisanal fragrance, most directly comparable to well-known brands like Creed, Tom Ford, and Jo Malone.
And we weren’t wrong. Sales have only grown since we began operations online and offline two years ago.
The first location in Downtown Tampa was not the most conducive to shopping foot traffic, and so it was mostly a destination store for our own contacts, our followers on social media, and those in search of artisanal fragrance in this market.
With the opportunity to relocate as a pop-up fling in Hyde Park Village, we jumped! It allowed Uncommon Finds greater visibility, a more premium space and look/feel, and a commensurate increase in sales volume.
Many of our visitors and shoppers in the Village were new, having heard about us online, through press releases and signage. That so many of our customers were knowledgeable noses, having purchased many of our peer offerings, and allowed us to introduce them to something new, was encouraging.
We also picked up an additional line this summer (Gallivant), which has been hugely popular. We’ve already reordered two of the four scents in the line. Two more are currently in development in London and Grasse, to be released in 2018.
Alas, nine weeks in the Village passed rapidly and came to a close with a bittersweet realization: that our sales volume still needed to be higher in order to pay a premium rent and not be in the red.
We took a week or so to collect our thoughts and synthesize the data at our disposal. While a permanent spot at Hyde Park Village may not be feasible right now, we maintain positive standing with our contacts there. The website is a sunk cost, fully-functional, so emphasizing that sales channel is a no-brainer.
Additionally, something that indicates our potential in the Tampa market is the constant stream of cold calls we’ve received from brands: from other niche makers in Europe and the U.S., to Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop line, of which there are currently two all-natural eau de parfums.
And so we say, one chapter ends but another chapter will soon begin.
We can’t reveal anything yet, but there is no plan to shutter Uncommon Finds. We have too good a product, a clear passion for our craft, and a commitment to bring scents to the local market that are interesting, unique, and valuable to those who appreciate fine fragrance and individuality.
Many thanks to Gabby Soriano and Sarah Moore for making us feel welcome in Hyde Park Village during our pop-up fling period. And, additional thanks to all our loyal clients. We hope you’re enjoying your Brooklyn, or Absinth, or Love Affair, or Dirty Flower Factory…