Size really doesn’t matter

I went to visit a lovely friend of mine recently – she carries some of my stock in her shop, Yvie Retro and Vintage. We met doing a fair in the Glasgow Barras and she has become a bit of an idol as well a great friend. She has the most wonderful collection of shoes that I have ever seen – beats Elton John anytime.

Yvie's petite shopfront
Yvie’s petite shopfront

She has her own shop on the shore at Kilcreggan which at first glance looks tiny and not in the busiest location. But she knows everyone in the business, has great success online and stocks everything from 1901 onwards – from 1920s wedding dresses to my West German pots – and it works. There’s no particular period or colour, let alone usage theme – there’s just lots of lovely things piled high.

Those who know me know I’m dreadfully clumsy – small spaces are a nightmare for me. I reminded her of this as I knocked over a stool, brought down a day-dress from the rail and stumbled into a pile of hats – nothing was safe.

Yvie behind her counter
Yvie behind her counter

People clearly love Yvie’s shop – they’re almost guaranteed to find something they like. It’s a brilliant interactive experience, a real Aladdin’s cave. Yes, OK, a few things are grouped together – I did see a distinct collection of Art Deco objects in one cabinet – but the shopper can lose themselves and discover wonderful things at every turn.

Homewares, hat and cases
Homewares, hat and cases

Take the plunge and just what you were looking for will jump out at you (or weren’t looking for, in the case of the orange kimono jacket that I just had to have). The curation of the contents reflects Yvie’s taste and interests – yes, in the doorway there was a 1950s cooker, some old curling brooms, a fab poster, a hat (of course) and some lovely cups and saucers.

I’ve been to lots of markets with Yvie and she always does well, covering her costs in no time and making profit while my stall languishes with fewer visitors. Her approach to display is very different to Mo’s (see previous blog) but both approaches work.

My West German pots at Yvie's
My West German pots at Yvie’s

By the way, it turns out that Yvie’s shop is right by the foot ferry from Gourock (which is 50 minutes by train from Glasgow) and footfall includes commuters coming past on the way to their lovely loch-side houses and tourists coming for tea and a walk.

The moral of this story is clearly that there are NO RULES – if it works for you it works for your customers. As a seller with space in other people’s shops, it’s important to fit in with their different styles but I honestly don’t know what to do about markets – probably to have the courage to try both ways.

Both Yvie and Mo also serve great coffee, and neither of them blink when I knock something over!

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