Friday, July 27, 2012

A Real Store

Its kind of weird that even though Josh and I have dedicated every waking minute of the last six years to Tigertree, it still comes as a shock to us when we realize what our little retail baby has become.  It seems like out of nowhere we became a two story, 3,000 square foot shop with departments ranging from stationery to apothecary to vintage industrial furniture.  All of the sudden, a lot of our "aw shucks" methods of business running just aren't cutting it.  No more closing the store in the middle of the day so we can ride bikes downtown to eat lunch.  No more shoving important paperwork into boxes and not looking at it again for years.  And most recently, no more having the worst inventory accounting system possible with barcodes that don't scan and a single register that leaves customers waiting in line when there is a rush.  

This week, we switched the store over to a new Point of Sale system and did a physical inventory of the store.  We also relabeled every.  single.  item.  

(Don't let that teenager Facebook picture face fool you, Brittany loved the tagging!)

What this means for our in-store customers:

-Faster check out times
Our new tag printer is awesome and slanted/cut off bar codes are a thing of the past.  With the old system, we had a habit of just writing out the SKU on tags instead of printing bar codes since they so rarely worked.   Now everything in the store has a barcode that WORKS which means you don't have to hear us mumble "sorry...  I'm just trying to find this in the system.."  Another exciting thing about the new system is that since it is cloud based, we can check customers out from any computer or tablet.  During peak season, we will be able to have multiple registers open throughout the store.  Yeah, just like the Apple Store.  Pretty fancy.

-Receipt Options
This may not sound that exciting, but I think you will be happy to know that if you would like us to create an account for you to store your receipts in our system rather than losing them in the car when you need to make a return, we will be able to do that.  Also, we now have the option of emailing receipts!

What this means for our online customers:

-Real Time Inventory Updates
Our new system links our inventory directly to our website, so the availability of items online will always be an accurate reflection of what we have in the store.  We used to have to update all of the inventory manually which resulted in us sending out a lot of emails apologizing to online customers about how we were sold out of the item they purchased.  I am so glad to be done with that!  Now as soon as an item is sold in the store, the website inventory for that item will be updated. 

I realize that all of this may not sound like that big of a deal, but I promise that it will make the shopping experience for both our Columbus and worldwide online customers a much smoother one.  

Thanks so much for dealing with our growing pains over the past few years as we move ever closer to becoming what we have been often (and excitedly) referring to lately as a "real store."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Travel Bags

We are headed to Atlanta this afternoon to check out their International Gift and Home Furnishings Market show.  In otherwords, in the middle of the hot summer, we are venturing into even hotter terriroty to pick out the gifts that you will give this Christmas.  We will do our best to make you look good, promise.

In the meantime, I wanted to brag a little on how great our travel bags are.  Josh is sporting the Incase Nylon Tech Backpack (left) that he never travels without.  After swtiching bags every trip for years in search of a comfortable, good looking backpack, he landed on this one and it seems to have stuck.  We have this bag available in four colors at the shop, you should really stop in and see them.

I have a little Orla Kiely combo going with the Weekend Bag in Shadow Stem and the Business Bag in Small Car Print.  I really cannot say enough about either of these.  I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of the Weekend Bag, but every time I leave the house, this is the bag I seem to grab.  I used to take day and weekend trips packed into the free promotional totes that are given away at trade shows; I feel so much more organized, comfortable, and just generally less pathetic looking with this!  The computer that I am typing on now is protected on my travels by Baggu's recycled canvas case.  We have these in two colors and the shop now and on a slightly related note, I am so excited about Baggu's new dot print which will be available in the shop later this week!  We will be getting in the iPad covers for the first time; they will be available in the dot and sailor stripe prints. 
More updates on the way soon from the show!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where Do You Get All This Great Stuff?

The easy answer to this question is "Everywhere."  I think people think we are blowing them off when we say this..  but truthfully, we are on the hunt for stuff for the store every day.

We got a tip recently that there was a barn outside of Cincinnati with stacks off old wood soda crates that the owner was interested in selling.  There are a million uses for these things and we were running really low on our stock at the store, so we headed down there last week.
When we arrived, we learned that the majority of the crates were actually in a small building outside the barn. The owner asked that we remove all of those before we took the ones from the loft in the barn.  
Yeah, that's the place.  That weird little mini barn-shed is one of the places that we get merchandise for our store!  Are you seeing what I mean when I say it comes from everywhere?

Josh made two trips in there, retrieving maybe 6 crates before he found one with a snake in it and called it a day.  And by "called it a day" I mean that he dropped a bunch of stuff and ran out screaming.  

We took a minute to regroup and, with the owner's permission, we headed into the barn.  
Luckily, Josh saw the hornets nest in the loft before he climbed that ladder.  It was unbelievable!  There was a pole laying across the top of the stacked crates and the hornets had built their nest hanging off the end of it.

We decided that we would have to come back in the winter when all of the scary stuff was either dead or sleeping. Hopefully the owner will have agreed by then to let us buy that awesome phone booth too.   

In the meantime, we did pick up a few crates which we took home, washed up and brought to the store.  You can pick one up there for $16.  All are guaranteed to be snake free.