May 21, 2012
What do you wish you had known?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t – for our readers, from our readers

“What do you wish someone would have told you before you started working in
this industry?”

Sheryl Oberman
Stationery Station
Highland Park, Ill.
I wish I could relate my message to more business owners that customer service is not just a word. It truly means walking your customer through every step of their order or even just spending a few additional minutes on a simple sale. Successful retailers know that it means taking calls and actually asking what the customer needs, opening your door after hours and so much more.

We are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year with events running for 35 days. What fun!

Brenda Fink
Party Magic
Godfrey, Ill.
I wish I would have know years earlier how fun and fulfilling it would be.

Other than that, I wish I would have know about PCA when I started. Being a part of a buying group helps to compete with the big stores/chains and the networking with other party storeowners is priceless.

Lynn Abdelnour
Halloween Gear
La Quinta, Calif.
I wish someone would have told me is that there is no end to this business! If I decided to do something else I would be saying goodbye to all of my wonderful friends in this industry, and I can’t do that to myself. What would I do without the shows in Las Vegas in January and Houston in March? I keep learning and loving every minute of it. My kids are only 11 and 14 and they want to take over some day. Lets see if I can make it!

Pam Krantz, CBA, CF
Fun Creations Special Event Decorating
Holly, Mich.
The one turning point in my business and my concept of my value was when I took this bit of advice to heart: “I don’t care if you haven’t seen a customer in two weeks and have cobwebs growing off the end of your nose. When a bride calls and asks for an appointment, do not be too eager and take her that day. Make her wait. Schedule a one-hour appointment at your convenience, not hers, and set your prices so you make money. If you aren’t going to make money, then you might as well sit there watching TV with the cobwebs. And if you want a successful event you have to be in control of your design abilities, not the bride, or she would be doing it herself. You are the designer. You deserve to be paid.”

I also started charging a fair fee – not too high and not too low. Too low you have no respect for yourself and will receive no respect. Too high and no one will use you and you are price gouging.

Denise Hagopian
Heavenly Choice Flowers and Events
Montebello, Calif.
That I would be working and exhausted on my favorite holidays, but it’s too late. I love every minute. Instead of deciding my theme and only decorating one Christmas tree, I get to create 20 beautiful designs. And after 29 years, I still love going to work every day and love my customers.

Pat Pippin
Cloverleaf Jewelers and Gifts
White River Junction, Vt.
That when you are the owner, you are always the one to work if someone doesn’t show up – working 10-2 doesn’t exist.

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