Lisa Evans and Joseph Miceli, co-owners
Willow Grove, Pa.
Have you reduced your inventory levels? What needs to happen before you will feel comfortable increasing your inventory levels?
Yes, we have reduced inventory in some areas to get the proper turnover, and in other areas we have increased inventory. Even in better economic times, this is how we run our business. We review our inventory item by item. The one thing we have been conscious of is purchasing crafts with lower price points and maintaining quality. When the economy turns around we will undoubtedly increase our purchasing of higher-ticket items.
What indicators do you need to see before you’ve decided that the economy is indeed improving?
We are located in an upscale suburban shopping complex next to a Bloomingdale’s department store. In general, the signs we are looking for are increased foot traffic and more upbeat customers in the mall. More concrete and tractable signs that we would like to see are an increase in the number of daily transactions and a higher dollar amount per transaction.
Are you advertising consistently?
We send out an e-mail blast every month letting our customers know what special events, exhibitions and trunk shows we have scheduled. We have an e-mail database of close to 6,000 customers. For us, this has been the most economical and effective way to reach our customers.
What are a few other ways you’re preparing for the rebound?
We are always looking for new, exciting jewelry and crafts to entice our customers. We have a very loyal following, so the gallery must always look fresh and intriguing. This year a number of artists have been very eager to work on a consignment basis with us. Many are also giving extended terms and free shipping. We take advantage of this whenever we can.
What have you noticed in terms of consumer confidence?
This year sales have been about price points. Many of our customers appear to be budget conscious. However, we have seen some higher-ticket items such as paintings, jewelry and mixed-media wall pieces moving lately. Hopefully this is an indication of good things to come.