Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post-mortem of 8 days at VivoCity

A big hello to the 61 people who read my last post.

Me hubs bitched grumbled that I did not write my VivoCity post-mortem. So here it is. In detail.

My table display on Day 1. In the beginning, I had more items than I could display. It takes every ounce of discipline not to display everything I own on the counter.

You know how sometimes what works in one market may not work in another? I had used this Ikea display hanger to display my pouches before and it worked plenty. It is also a space saver. But at VivoCity, it bombed big time. I did not sell a single pouch when they were displayed on the hanger.

Then I shifted them to the counter and they started selling.

The craft market was spread over 3 areas. Mine was in the main area where the cashier is. My counter kinda faces Denizen on the left and Winter Time on the right. So if I look to my left, I want to buy tees and jeans. If I look to the right, I think of Korea. (it's the coldest country I've been to in my entire life)

I forgot to count the number of sellers but it was not too cramped. I was really grateful for that. My counter faced these two counters. The first one had two ancients selling model planes and aviation books. (they wrote the book) You're probably thinking who would buy aviation books at a craft market. Well, from my observation, they had pretty good sales. I'm shocked. Maybe they are aviation celebrities? The second counter was manned by another ancient with her daughter. They sell jewellery. The elder lady is pretty feisty. Do not mess with her. In the beginning the old lady just scowled at me. I have no idea what I did but as the days passed, she started smiling at me and occasionally gave me an approving nod. Gosh, I felt like a young girl visiting my grandma all over again.

I made the most sales on the first 3 days. Okay, I confess. 3/4 of my stock was wiped out in those 3 days. I think my sales only started taking off in the late afternoon on Saturday 17th December. So for a few hours, I was worried sick wondering, where's the crowd, where's the crowd. Once the crowd came, there was not a moment to run to the restroom or have a meal. I had to strategise and "saving my pee" was my solution. I also ate during the off-peak hours.

Although I had my 2 elves to help out occasionally, there were long periods when I manned the counter alone. My kids turned into mall kids. They spent money like they owned the mall. My girl surprised me with her ability to navigate the mall. I'm only familiar with a small section of the mall and once I got so lost after going to buy food I almost gave up and went home. VivoCity is a huge place. The signage is pretty bad too. People asked me for direction all day. I usually ask someone else to help them. Later I decided to find out where the popular shops are so I could give directions. People who approach me for directions - they're usually on the verge of tears after wandering around in circles. Oh, wait. That was me.

I was shocked that sales were good on Day 3 which was a Monday. But really, it was no surprise. You see, when I showed up in the morning, there were 2 long queues next to my counter. See these people  had come to redeem their receipts for a stuffed bear or a ipod nano. I think to get the ipod nano, you need to have spent $5,200. We really benefited from these redeemers.

I had average sales for the next 5 days. My stock had dwindled so much that I was worried that it would not hold the interest of any customers.

So I made more. How did I do it? I think I have superhuman will power. Twice me hubs and kids manned the counter in the evening and I went home. Once to sew and once to sleep.

Believe me. All I wanted to do was sleep. It was exhausting. It was so exhausting that sometimes I would black out for a very short while. I don't mean become unconscious. It was more like time stood still and everything became slow motion. During that few seconds, my brain took a tiny teeny nap and then I awaken again to attend to the customers.

You know how when I make my pouches, I would handsew the gaps last? This I did while at the counter and once a customer spotted a pouch I was working on and bought it on the spot. They actually waited for me to sew up the gap. It was nerve wrecking. And I forgot to take pics of the pouch.

But I did take pics of this houses zip pouch which was sewn at the counter and the sewing machine portion was done at home. It was sold within an hour of putting it on the counter.

I don't want you to get the idea that my bags and pouches were that popular. It was just that shoppers were looking to buy presents and maybe they were desperate. But I felt so happy. I felt like I owned VivoCity.

Remember my upside down bag? I wanted to be sure customers understood what they were getting and informed each interested party about the fabric placement. I was really embarrassed to sell it and feared the customer's reaction. I madly imagined them screaming at me:

Are you crazy? You want me to buy an upside down bag?

On the other hand, I was also very interested to see who this fearless lady would be.

Meet Agnes. (forgive me if I got your name wrong! the chaos, the exhaustion, the black outs...) She is the fearless one and the coolest chick in VivoCity!. She had no qualms carrying an upside down bag and gamely posed for pics too. Plus, she bought a zip pouch which I had secretly been wondering who it would go to.

Yes, my heart with wings zip pouch. I have a thing for heart with wings but I rarely make them as it is hard to sell them. Only a tiny number of women would go for them. Yep, my heart almost burst into song (Abba's mama mia) when Agnes bought it too. Cool.

This was the last bag I sold. It was also a bag that gave me a lot of fun. Take a good look at it. Do you see the skulls? This bag got a lot of attention especially towards the end when I had hardly anything left.

Okay, I'm going to be boastful and say that after 2.5 years of selling since April 2009, I'm a pretty good judge of who would buy the niche bags such as skulls and roses. And I'm basing this simply on the way the customer dresses herself.

Most of the women who came to grope the bag DID NOT see the skulls. They would come very close and admire the roses and wait for it... sure enough, they would jump out of their skin and scream. At first I was a little concerned. I mean, who wants her bag to scare people? But as the days dragged, it became my amusement.

Yes, I'm so evil. Oh, come on. 8 very long days and 12/13 hours daily not including commute time.

Sometimes I would laugh so hard I had to crouch down to hide my face. But I was human too. Once an elderly woman went for the bag and I quickly took it away. I did not want to be responsible for a death.

Speaking of which, on one of the days, a security/police guard shot himself in the head in a toilet on the same floor that I was. I guess Bedok Reservoir was too far. Yep, evil again. I did not hear the shot and we only learnt about it through facebook.

Later alligator.


Sarah@Pings&Needles said...

I'm loving reading your exploits at VivoCity.

It all sounds utterly exhausting, but wonderful!

Happy New Year to you Jane ... Your blog brings me such joy and you always make me laugh where neither of us really should!

Fibrenell said...

Love your stories. Keep up the great blogs, Jane, and a happy new year to you.

Laurie-Jane said...

Just be thankful you weren't the toilet cleaner on that day. Isn't Agnes a sweetie happy to buy and model the upside down bag.

punkychewster said...

Yay! I'm glad you had good sales!! Ganbatte!! Selling so many days in a row is a feat! One day is enough to wipe me out, i really don't know how you do it. Wishing you a great 2012 year ahead and more sales more $$$ in the new year! Yeah!


Bethany said...

Hahahaha--"saving my pee" :)
I would have bought the upside down bag - I'd have said it as an original design called Topsy Turvy. The fabric is so adorable I couldn't have resisted, even with your design "feature." Good job!

Corey Johnston said...

Wow. You have STAMINA!!! Congrats, Jane!! I only hope someday I'll get to experience the success you had at Vivo City!!! Well done!! : )

Chris H said...

So glad it was excellent!

Little Blue Mouse said...

I've loved reading your Vivo City posts, but haven't had time to comment lately!

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