11 Jewelry Pieces Perfect for a Bride!


Brides today are getting married on farms, beaches, mountain tops, lofts or their backyards. Their bridal jewelry choices are just as varied. Rustic or feminine, sophisticated or glamorous- there are no rules. More commonly, the choice is to buy something beautiful and affordable that you can wear and enjoy forever.

The category once called “bridal jewelry” is no more, only jewelry that reflects the spirit of the day and naturally, your personality. Do you have a keepsake brooch or ring that you would like to update? The diamond and gold bracelet above was a cocktail ring, now it’s a super vintage bracelet!

We design for the bride, the mother of the bride and her bridesmaids. Why not unearth a few treasures for your special day or come see Pam Older Designs and unlock that creativity? We love making jewelry for brides!

 

Prettiest & Most Popular Earrings Affordable Earrings


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London Blue Quartz on Flower Posts
pearl earring
pearl earrings on flower posts

What’s popular in unique earrings? These babies at $58.00 are the winner of the year! London Blue Topaz, is an expensive but gorgeous stone. To make them at a price everyone could afford, I found these beautiful dyed quartz, so they look natural and organic but cost a little less.  The flower posts are brass with 18k gold plating. The affordable result are earrings any woman will adore- the best gift! My stylish best friend made them ipular by wearing them all over town!

London Blue is the color that sold this year but I make another popular version with faux pearls.They are similar to a pair Leslie Stahl wore on Sixty Minutes when she interviewed Donald Trump. The pearl were my best sellers before I began making the blue ones- women just love pearls! Pearls are just so flatering. So if you have started looking for holiday gifts I think that this is a Perfect idea at a very good price. They will win her over. Both are on my handmade jewelry website http://www.pamolderdesigns.com or at my new store in Newburyport, MA.    Get your order in early and if you want silver or a special semi-precious stone just ask!!

Creating a Website and Social Media 101


Blue Opal & Mother of Pearl necklaces by Pam Older Designs
Blue Opal & Mother of Pearl necklaces by Pam Older Designs

Need a website and want t get started marketing your jewelry? Building a website and developing a strong online presence takes time, patience and a budget. Here are the basics so you can begin to formulate what you can do yourself and what you will need to outsource or delegate to a team member. First of all you will need to register a domain name and sign up with a web host – a company that has many computers connected to the Internet. Once you develop your website, your web pages will be hosted on their computers so everyone in the world will be able to view your site. In essence it is your site’s home and you pay an annual fee to live there. The purpose and complexity of your website will determine the cost to build one. If you want to provide full e-commerce capabilities you will need to invest in a website that will support all that is needed for that type of site. Before you seek a designer/developer, look at lots of websites to see what other companies and artisans in your field are doing stylistically. Make a list of sites with features you like and communicate those to the graphic designer and/or web developer that you will choose. You need to be part of the process or you will end up spending more money redoing your site. After your research, you should begin the process of interviewing graphic designers and/or web developers so that you can see their portfolio of work and what other services they offer. You might want to use a designer for the appearance and a web developer for the technical implementation, or you may find a web developer with designers on staff. Through the interview process you will begin to understand what is possible in terms of design, features, expertise and the cost of your project. Look for designers that can incorporate great design with animation, video and simple navigation. It’s always a good idea to provide an incentive to the buyer on your home page or through out your site; perhaps a coupon offering 10% off for first time buyers, or a message like “sign up for our emails and receive 20% off your first pair of earrings”. Buyers expect and respond to promotional offers, so let the designer know about these needs upfront as well. Once you have chosen a designer, find the best web platform-to build your site upon. The days are gone where someone has to build a website from scratch. Today’s web platforms are really E-Commerce Content Management Systems (CMS) that come with hundreds of sophisticated features, many that you will use. Read the rest of my article – The Basics of Website Creation and Social Media- click here!

Feel free to ask me any questions. If I don’t know the answers I can get you in touch with someone who does!

Visiting my Indian Sister in Jaipur


stone cutters in Jaipur India

The Stone Cutting Factory

Last February,  I went to Northern India and Nepal and stopped in Jaipur to visit my friends Nidhi and Ranjan at their home and stone cutting factory. Nidhi and I connected right away in person as we had  gotten to know each other through our extensive email correspondence over the years. We had gone through a divorce (mine) and a death of  a loved one (hers) and she was my Indian Sister as soon as we hugged each other at the airport.  They met me with roses and gifts and I was overjoyed to finally be meeting her and Ranjan. Later I met their two children and his parents and was shown how their 8 year old son could preform complex mathematics using an abacus. Two feasts were prepared in my honor. The second could not be served because I was still so full from the first one and from the mid morning samosas & chai, one of the culinary highlights of my life.  I was so sorry, they had gone to such extreme measures to prepare, but I could not possibly eat another bite! After our meal, more gifts were bestowed- a lovely book on India and a traditional painting adorned with stones.

After our meal Ranjan and his number two man brought in satchel upon satchel of beads for me to look at and buy for my handmade jewelry business. They had called in their local bead contacts who sent in valise after valise of bead strands for me to inspect and buy. I bought rubies, chalcedony, apatite, citrine, and my favorite- tanzanite.  One of my new handcrafted hoop earring designs for the Sundance Catalog features these stones- take a look http://www.sundancecatalog.com/product/code/56585.do!

After the buying was done, I met the men that cut the premium calipered semiprecious stones that I order for my creations! The crew was so kind – they came in on a holiday to meet me and to show me the sorting, cutting and polishing process that goes into their work. Here is a picture of the small room where they work the top floor of a residential building (Ranjan and Nidhi live below on two floors and renters below that). The center core of the building is open to the sky and on that day we got a wet.  Outside were cows and camels and a man taking a bath in a bucket. This is still Jaipur in 2012.  Go to http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-filagree-drops/  for an example of the beautiful lemon quartz briolettes they made for us.


Selling Your Handmade Jewelry, Part Three


Brass Parrot Necklace
Brass Parrot Necklace

The most effective way to sell my jewelry has always been a face to face visit to a store.  Even once a customer is established, most still want to see your newer items in person.

I started using an online line sheet program recently. It has helped me provide  a “catalog” to my wholesale customers instantly. I input a jpeg image for every item I want to promote as well as a product description and price information. When I am done it generates a web link so my customers can view pam older designs collections online.  The program displays all the items and zooms in on the product when a mouse is passed over it.  It makes for a very neat organized presentation of my handmade jewelry. It has only been a month but a few people have ordered from it and it is a very good lead generator.  I send it to catalog buyers too and the feedback has been very good.  It also functions as an internal database of my jewelry for my company. My assistants and I use it internally for identifying styles, tagging merchandise and filling orders.

For retail sales I usually point people to my website by providing links in emails, Linked In, Facebook and other social media applications to drive traffic.  I am going to explore Google Ads Words and Facebook ads in the near future. If anyone has any ideas or great store or catalog contacts- please let me know! Free jewelry will be yours for any new customers that place orders!!

Do You Have What it Takes To Have A Handmade Jewelry Business? Part Two


earrings_minihoop earth_print

If you think you are a great designer and others do too, then you have what it takes to design handmade jewelry. But be prepared to spend more time than you can imagine endlessly photographing, retouching, organizing stock, repairing, filling orders and most importantly, selling and marketing your handmade jewelry. If you can afford it hire a rep or people to help you do it!  Keeping up with all social media is a job all its own. Selling door to door still the most productive way for me to make a sale but requires lots of time and stamina, attention to detail and heavy lifting.  Charity events are also important but not all are created equal.  Some are juried and all of them require advance registration- sometimes a year ahead!  Trade shows are also very productive but only experience and lots of spending, (they can cost $4,000-10,000 a show if done within your region, more if you have to go far away) can tell you which ones are right for your business.  This is only a partial list of activities that go along with the territory if you are serious about establishing yourself in the handmade jewelry design world.

As I mentioned earlier, I spend hours each week posting to my blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and being part of online discussion groups. Now there is Pinterest to attend to as well. Today I added a new activity to the list- Brandboom- a new line sheet program that will generate online PDF line sheets (a simple catalog)  for my wholesale customers. I also update my website whenever I have a new group of creations to sell. Since you are always creating new things this means work never ends.

Then there are the old fashioned routines, calling and emailing my customers to tell them what is new in the line and setting up sales appointments.  I have a total of about 3,500 people to keep in touch with!

To attract new customers plan on doing trade and craft shows to sell to stores and retail and to tell the world you  have jewelry they simply must know about!  If you don’t do well at  first not to worry- people wait to see if you come back- then they will too! I have so many customers that tell me they saw or heard about me years ago. Did I tell you focussing might become a problem? Oh boy- I think I need to hire some more people!!

More to come!

Setting Up a Handmade Jewelry Business- Part One


pearl earring

Setting up a handmade jewelry business involves some things you might not even consider, in fact you may be surprised to find yourself spending most of your time in activities somewhat unrelated to making handmade earrings and necklaces! I think this post may be one of many delving into this topic.

Without question you will be spending time selling your wares. If you are going to be successful, it means selling a lot and keeping your costs under control. Resisting all those gorgeous stones and materials is difficult for us at Pam Older Designs, and it will be for you too, but of course an artists needs materials to create. However, selling is key and you must be creative about how and where you sell to maximize your efforts and diligent about selling all the time.  If you are just starting out you will probably start selling to your friends, local shops and exhibiting at  local crafts shows. Try to find venues where you do not have to pay too much to make those sales.  As your business grows, pay attention to trade shows that cater to galleries, museum gift stores and boutiques.  In the New York area, January means shows where buyers are already buying for Spring.  Christmas jewelry buyers start in August!  Preparation for these shows like the Buyers Market of American Craft or the New York Gift Show start just as your Christmas and Spring peak selling times end.

The single most important thing you need is a camera, proficiency in taking good clear pictures and the ability to retouch images. These are advantages you cannot underestimate. You will need to save images for print, email, your website and promotional opportunities. Eventually you may have a catalog or line sheets. Start photographing- or have someone do it for you to save time.  You will need a library of shots saved at hi resolution for print and low resolution for the web.  Marketing never stops? I have spent more time taking pictures and photo re-touching than I would ever have imagined.  Good photography is an absolute necessity and the sooner you have it the easier it will be for you to get the word out about your business!

What to buy on my website? Try this gorgeous necklace that will add bling to anything you wear!

7 Pieces of Pearl Jewelry You Must Have this Season


Pearl is the birthstone for June but handmade pearl jewelry is truly perfect to wear anytime. Here are some baubles I designed that I think of as essential pieces.

Our Keshi Pearl Lariat is one of a kind Y necklace with an artisan look. Small keshi pearls are laced with dark oxidized silver chain with gold accents. It looks good with an open color or lower neckline, a new mid-length necklace to wear alone or layer with a simple chain.

The white coin pearl clusters are a design that I do for the Sundance Catalog (sold on their website as “Star Shower Earring“).The newest rendition of this earring is my “Sunset Earring” made with pearls of soft neutral shades of gray, copper and peach.

What’s new? A long pink strand that ends with a taupe silk tassle. We take trendy and make it classic! I have one more left online.

Are you longing to own South Sea Pearls? A single shimmering South Sea pearl on leather is an elegant look for every day, I set it off with silver. Or  pearls and diamonds? 18k gold diamond petals over South Sea Pearls are in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful things at Pam Older Designs.

Lastly, a diminutive diamond compass charm flanked by a pearl and aqua chalcedony. It’s a perfect layering necklace and can make it for you in silver too.

Pearls have the special advantage of looking fantastic on everyone! Some of these items are on my website and others are one of a kind available in my Newburyport shop. Hope you like my personal choices of the 7 Pearl pieces of jewelry you cannot be without!

Winter, Jewelry and March Madness!


earrings_apatite_chandilers_hoops_retouched__46037-1360021113-360-360Drat- it is still Winter. After a week of Spring promise it is freezing in Newburyport, MA and there is no choice but to embrace it! We all like a blazing fire and a romantic dinner to make the Winter enjoyable, but why not top it off with a little piece of jewelry to really warm things up?

When guys come to Pam Older Designs looking for a piece of handmade jewelry for their sweethearts it just touches my heart. We start exploring and looking around the shop and then things start to stand out. Sometimes it is a pair of earrings or a charm that will resonate – recently it was a gold honey bee that caught my customer’s eye. He saw it online and came to Newburyport expressly to take a look at it. Bu, alas, he didn’t love it. I suggested we change it up-use the charm on a necklace that he did like- a soft organic Peruvian Opal strand.  So while he waited, I made the necklace. He left feeling it was worth the trip up to Newburyport from Boston! All of us at my shop find satisfaction at making a happy customer.

A Buddha wrap bracelet for a Yoga practicing wife was another recent solution. Our spiritual Buddha and Om charms struck the right chord. A charm that says “Breath Deeply” is popular for a variety of gifts as well.

One gentleman brought in a very elaborate diamond brooch that he said had sentimental value but never left his wife’s jewelry box. We created a simple gold bangle that it sat upon and now it is worn now all the time. A sentimental gift that was a gorgeous creation and exceeded his expectations.

We carry a large range of unique earrings, necklaces and bracelets, all handmade in our shop- you will never know what you will find. We do custom work too but keep in mind you need 4-6 weeks to go that route.

So before you leave Winter behind and you abandon her for MARCH MADNESS, think about a  roaring fire, a goblet of Cabernet and a sexy pair of long  earrings!img_5283__15048-1470600484-200-285

Inspirations


earrings_pink-topaz-long-dusters Each piece of my jewelry is made in our Newburyport jewelry shop or in the case of our rings, designed here and handmade by skilled craftsmen around the globe. I like to discover things made by artisans around the world and incorporate them into my designs as well. It is my desire to pay homage to traditional craftsmanship and the designs found in Italy, India, Bali, and Thailand in particular. The pretty briolettes for these pink topaz earrings were bought on my visit to India. I  made these for Valentine’s Day 2017 and in doing so, brought back the memory and excitement of my trip. I am so privileged to have travelled to many beautiful places- my inspirations.

Designing Custom Jewelry


bracelets_diamond

Jewelry designing is not for someone who finds decision making daunting!  My assistants would say that disqualifies me immediately! The truth is I am a pretty good decision maker after years of experience except when faced with a thousand different gemstones, colors, cuts and other materials! Now add all the possible charms like the special one I use on my Buddha Necklace, our popular Breathe Deeply, our Lucky Elephant, Om and Lotus...That’s the dilemma, but also the fun of it.

So how does one chose? Obviously the prettiest combination and the trending styles make influence your choice, but I just ask myself-would I like to wear that right now?

A new piece starts with a simple design, an experimental color combination, and a choice of metals. Then the fun begins, much to the chagrin of my assistants. I usually like to see it in a few variations. At the end of this process there may be a number of new designs and maybe a coordinating collection of bracelets, earrings or necklaces.

But the process of deciding does not end here. I consider pricing- can I make something most people can afford? Do I have the materials in stock? Should I add diamonds? How long does it take to make? All of these considerations go into the mix.

Then I try it on- uh oh..can we change this to silver and make it longer? What if we….I can drive my assistants crazy.

In the end, my collection of handmade jewelry is affordable, pretty and well made. The final result is well considered. If the design is good my customers are going to like it.

Gifts with Meaning


necklace_buddha-long-doubled I hope everyone has a bright healthy holiday season no matter what your race, religion or beliefs happen to be. It has been a tough election year, one of divisiveness, cyber-bullying and for some it has resulted in a lack of faith in our country and democratic process. No matter who we are and where we are,no matter the degree of trouble we face, we know a positive attitude, cannot hurt and may well help us through difficulties. With this in mind, my recommendations for this year’s holiday gift giving are many of my spiritual pieces in my handmade jewelry collection at Pam Older Designs.

Start looking here-our Long Pyrite Buddha.This shiny 18k gold charm is a lucky buddha on a long pyrite chain. It is a subtle and happy way to signal belief that goodness and knowledge will prevail. Buddha necklaces might bring good luck and in this case it is a fashion statement too.

emily wickersham Another idea is the short version of the Buddha necklace and I have the honor of having charismatic  NCIS actress Emily Wickersham modeling it on my website! Emily is a childhood friend of my daughter and she agreed to model a few things for me!  This handmade necklace is the same Buddha charm on a sparkling pyrite chain that looks like rough diamonds .The simple result is magic with anything you wear!

necklace_multi_lotus_530__01303-1416347557-1280-1280      buddha-postal-stamp

Pamolderdesigns.com has many, many bracelets with buddhas, lucky elephants, lotus flowers and OM charms, all gifts of peace and hope, purity and rebirth. They resonate with me and have been popular with my customers for many years.

peace-signsAnother optimistic gift might be a silver or vermeil peace sign necklace. I can personalize one for you to wear plain or with colored semi-precious stones and pearls. It is an inexpensive gift that will please most women and younger girls too. With the current fashion of layering necklaces, this is a present that will be appreciated.

bracelet_breath_deep_45-00__62071-1341959876-1280-1280 There is also a personal favorite, a silver charm with meaning and significance that says “Breathe Deeply”. I use this silver charm on necklaces and bracelets.

I love the idea of giving gifts with meaning. A small symbol, a few words of wisdom might help our friends see the forest for the trees.

See www.pamolderdesigns.com  for more gift ideas with special significance.

 

Things to do In Newburyport


IMG_9694 copyNewburyport is a friendly small city that feels like a gem of a town. Its surrounding areas are treasures as well. If you are planning a trip to Northern New England Newburyport is a central spot to stop on your way to New Hampshire or Maine. It is only an hour from Boston.

What do I like in Newburyport itself? I love the tight little streets and historical houses, the Merrimac River and Atlantic Ocean make it feel very fresh and nautical. My handmade jewelry store Pam Older Designs is at 42 Merrimac Street and of course that’s a must see!  I love living here and hope you will come visit us.

Walk around the town and get a coffee at Plum Island Coffee Roasters and see the dock activity on the Merrimac River. The spot is my all time favorite place to star the day or to relax in the afternoon (that’s me with my coffee in the picture above!) The nearby boardwalk passes the park and the Firehouse Theater then goes on for quite a bit as you weave in and out of paths near the river. If you do it right you end up at scenic Joppa Flats with comfortable benches to rest your tired feet.

The Atomic Cafe is great for breakfast or Commune if you like crepes. Angie’s is a diner that has everything you could want. For lunch and dinner I am partial to the Purple Onion on cute Inn Street, or Loretta or Oregano. All are clustered nearby.

For me, the highlight is the beach. On your way, stop at Joppa Fine foods for a picnic lunch with sophisticated offerings of homemade dishes, charcuterie, fine bread and fine cheeses and wine. My quirky favorite Mad Marthas is on Plum Island and opens for breakfast and lunch. Have Mum’s Mix  or their artichoke and chicken sausage omelet- and sneak in a fluffy pancake with real maple syrup or fresh corned beef hash (insider tip- during the Summer months they serve dinner on Thursday nights). It’s in a beach shack right across from the Northern part of the beach.

Plum Island’s southern side has a natural beach and nature reserve 3 miles out of town. You will find a beautiful sandy beach strip 7 miles long with marsh land on one side, dunes on the other. For birder’s and nature lovers it is paradise.

After the beach, go to the bar at Plum Island Grill for the BEST sunsets overlooking the fantastic marshes. On your way back to town Bob’s Lobster is a cool restaurant for seafood. In town, the Grog is a Newburyport pub with very good food-try their Ahi Tuna and or classic New England Haddock and clam chowder- dollar oysters too. The Black Cow deck overlooks the river and out to Plum Island- it is also a very pretty spot to dine.

Near the river are boats that give frequent river tours and others that go out to the ocean on sunset tours. If you are on bikes or foot the Newburyport rail trail is an easy walk or ride. Heading South on the trail will bring you to Halley’s old-fashioned  ice cream shop!

We have a little screening room called- THE SCREENING ROOM! It is on State St. and always has great films in the evening. Along that stretch on Upper State Street are many antique markets too.

Finished with your tour? Head north to Kittery Foreside for super cool restaurants like Anjou or Anika Jans and a host of artisan shops. Portsmouth is an area I am still exploring but will report back!

 

Newburyport Jewelry Shop- Pam Older Designs


 

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It has been two years since I moved up from NY to open my Newburyport jewelry store and the experience has been terrific. I opened my shop Pam Older Designs in May 2015 and I can say it was an excellent move. Lots of people in town are loving our organic handmade jewelry and referring their friends near and far. This Summer we had shopping visitors from all over the world! Through the shop and local Newburyport activities I’ve developed  very nice friendships too. the town is very hospitable to small business owners and there is so much to do here. We are one of the more unique Newburyport shops since we produce 90% of our own original designs in our studio. The shop sets its self apart as a sophisticated space for discerning buyers that like style, fashion and good design. We make it easy for people to shop local! I shop local too knowing how important it is to keep unique places in business!

Shop- Opening Day Image

We recently started doing more custom jewelry pieces for our customers and hope to expand that service as we grow to bring more of my unique jewelry designs to life. We are open most days from 9:30-5pm. Christmas jewelry shopping has begun early this year. This week we sold a gorgeous hand carved labradorite necklace, a diamond halo necklace and a pair of 18k gold lotus earrings. I am thrilled that we are getting a reputation for elegant jewelry and gifts at all price points! My goal is to keep something on hand for everyone. And if you are not shopping in Newburyport- find us online at http://www.pamolderdesigns.com!

SO thank you to all our customers who have visited us and discovered our semi-precious stone jewelry and personal service. You have given us a wonderful welcome and hope you will continue to think of us for all your jewelry  purchases. #Newburyportjewelry

The Handcrafted Jewelry Design Process


Pam Older Designs custom Diamond and Yellow Gold Bangle Bracelet

After 15 years of making jewelry, I’m still obsessed with creating new designs everyday. I still love the process of design whether it is a room or a building, a sculpture or a graphic but particularly when it involves my jewelry. The question that is asked of me all the time is “Where do you get your inspiration?” I think the answers to this question are fairly universal but I will share my personal experience.

Let’s start with the basics, I am inspired by old or new materials like silver, unusual chains and charms and gemstones. Materials are to me like an artist’s paints. The play of color is probably the most obvious beginning of creation, so how the colored stones look next to each other is usually the starting point for me. I also look at the textures, shapes and metals along side the stones to enhance the colors or the design. For instance I love Labradorite and I think it usually looks best with silver, but sometimes a slice of gold next to Labradorite looks amazing! I came across some pale pink stick keshi pearls recently and paired it with silver faceted nuggets and a bright sterling chain and together the random pearls became a gorgeous confection.

Being a practical sort, there are other inspirations of a more personal nature. A new outfit that I need to accessorize gets me playing with materials and styles. A look or fashion trend will find me experimenting and improving a good idea. A person on the street wearing a fun piece of jewelry gets me thinking. All of these factors fall in the inspiration category.

Very very often, the inspiration for a new design comes from a customer. I can easily latch on to a good idea and run with it. The the design challenge is to surpass the original idea, making it even more beautiful and exceeding the customer’s expectations. Experience is why people come to a designer. The bracelet on the top of this article was an antique diamond broach that a customer brought to me for ideas. The design inspiration for this piece came quickly. I proposed keeping the setting in tact, making is horizontal and marrying it to a yellow gold bangle.  Both the customer and I loved the idea of combining the platinum setting with yellow gold, but many people might have opted for a white gold band. Either way, it was a great re-purposing of the ring. Now the piece is out of the safe and worn often.

 

Creating for myself has always proved a good litmus test. If I like it others usually do too. I usually wear a new design for a couple of days to see how it looks, how it moves, lays, and feels. Is it comfortable? Is it versatile -I love it more if you can wear more then one way. Does it look better in gold or silver? Should the finish be shiny, matte, or oxidized? Would many customer wears this and pay the price for it? What if I changed the stone? These are all common considerations in the design process, probably as true in jewelry making or as in any art form.The process is not simply a matter of an inspiration but rather many inspirations, artistic preferences, practical considerations and experience. And most importantly, the love of beautiful objects.

Setting up a New Shop


From start to finish, setting up my handmade jewelry shop in Newburyport last May was a project I did by the seat of my pants. Probably not uncommon for small businesses. I thought it might be helpful for you to have a list of things to do if you have plans for a new shop! So here is my list based on last year’s experience.

The Basics

After construction, which included a new floor, new moldings, built in shelving, lots of track and pendant lighting, a new doorway and barn door, it was time to move in. When in this phase be practical- think about how you are going to use your space. No one could picture how I was going to fit a bed in a 200 sq foot shop- but I had a vision and it was important to work it into the layout. I installed vinyl flooring that no one can tell isn’t real wood,will withstand traffic and is easy to clean.

Provide heat and air conditioning systems that are adjustable in the shop, workable windows, energy efficient glass and doors, a screen door, locks on all doors and an employee bathroom.Install fire and carbon dioxide detectors and the necessary fire alarms and fire key boxes required by your town. Install phones and internet service.

Things to do:

-Officially register your business in town.

-FIRST THING: Research ADA access and requirements for store access, aisle size and check out.

-Install a security system for windows and doors and a camera to prevent theft. I use a Nest camera and find it to work quite well.

-Find your employees and start training them and have them help with the myriad of tasks that are going to overwhelm you!

-Find a good handyman and computer support person to help you keep up with your opening schedule.

– Develop your signage/branding. Use you logo and choose strong images to brand your shop. Make sure you love it your image to prevent extra spending later. Employ a graphic designer whose work you admire to save your time and money in the long run.Do this at least four months ahead of time so ordering can be done 12 weeks for the following items: shop signs, gift certificates and envelopes, boxes,bags, gift wrap, ribbons, tissue paper, price labels, business cards, mailing labels, a flyer and promotional signs for the store telling shoppers what makes you special. A-frame “sandwich boards” for your sidewalk and flags will attract foot traffic. Have the designer make an email signature that includes a logo and perhaps a few thumbnail images to go at the bottom of every email you send out.

-Research and ask other store owners about point of purchase registers and merchant services accounts (credit cards). Find one you want to use for your sales transactions and inventory. We use Square on an apple ipad at Pam Older Designs and it works for us, but a larger store may need more bells and whistles. A chip reader,card scanner and receipt printer are part of this system and it is easy to set up and use. I also use quickbooks for my wholesale  and pamolderdesigns.com orders.

-Create a check-out area with the largest cash wrap counter that will fit your space (note ADA requirements for length and height). Stock it with bags and boxes, wrapping material, labels, polishing clothes, post-it notes, scissors, box opener, calculator, marking pens, keys, cleaning supplies like glass cleaner and a shelf for orders being held for pick up. Build a separate station for check-out if your space allows. Mine cash wrap has plenty of glass display area as well.A separate register stand will provide more storage and use less of your cash wrap counter space. If you have room add a table or counter space behind your main cash wrap.

-Buy store fixtures and displays for your jewelry and other items, and shelving, cabinets, hooks, tables, baskets.

-Take hundreds of pictures of your shop and your products. You will need them for future social networks and advertising.

-Buy a nice email sign up book and put it on the counter. Collect those emails! We also have a wish list book and a gift certificate book for tracking customer’s needs.

-Learn to be proficient in Mail Chip or Constant Contact so you can reach your customers with important sales information. Develop your social media pages and blogs. It takes a long time to develop, if you are not proficient hire a marketing savvy person to do this part time.

-Install awnings,window boxes and plantings. Have a broom and hose near by. Hire a service for planting if you can not do it yourself.

-Hire a cleaning service if you cannot do it yourself

-Hire a bookkeeper and/or account depending on your needs.

-Subscribe to Pandora or Spotify and find a nice little sound system.

-Move into your space and display your wares. Post shop hours and have an open/closed sign for the window and open your doors! Add your personal touches.

-Join the local Chamber of Commerce to keep abreast of business in town on many levels including promotional offerings and hiring services they sometimes provide as part of being a member. Connect with local merchants. Keep holidays and special town events in mind for store scheduling and staffing.

Any additional comments? Would love to hear from you. I am sure I have left out many but I will update this as time goes on. Hope it was helpful.