Special Events

Baby Lock Tech is Tacony Corporation’s largest annual dealer
event.  Several hundred of the best sewing machine retailers from all
across the country attend to see new items, meet their fellow dealers,
and to attend presentations to learn the latest sewing techniques and
ways to improve their businesses.  This year’s event took place this week here in St. Louis.

While we do our very best to provide our business partners with
the latest and best information, we learn a lot from them, too.  Over
the next few days, I’m going to share some of the things that I learned
from our dealers.  Please keep this in mind.  With some exceptions,
retailing is retailing.  What works for a sewing machine retailer will
work just as well for any other merchant.  One of the values of working
with a diversified company like Tacony Corporation is that we can be a
conduit to pass valuable information from one of our industries to

There’s no question that retailing today can be a challenge.  Regardless of what’s actually happening in the stores, the news media love to tell us how bad things really are.  Housing is down.  Energy prices are up.  The planet is melting.  The sky is falling.  Surprisingly, the typical consumer just keeps on buying stuff.  Go figure.

Make no mistake, if you just sit there in your store and wait for the buyers to come flocking in you’ll most likely be disappointed.  But if you make an effort to get people into your place of business and if you take your best shot at selling them something, you will do business.

Sally Cheney is a very successful retailer in the Nashville market.  To get an idea of her business, check out her web site.  She’s about to open a new, even larger store.  Sally took part in a presentation at Baby Lock Tech on successful shows and events.  People love special events.  If you’re not taking advantage of your customers’ desire to have fun, to learn something, or to get a special "deal", you’re leaving money on the table.

Whether your event is held in the store (special sale, workshop, learning event, special guest) or outside the store (home show, state or local fair, expo) the key to success is good planning and good record keeping.  Sally does a number of events throughout the year and she’s always ready to make money when the event begins. She knows if she did make money or not when the event is over.  Obviously, she repeats the money makers and thoroughly analyzes the losers to find out why they didn’t work.

There’s not enough space here to cover Sally’s entire presentation, so following are some key points.  If you’d like more information, click here.

  • Plan for success.
  • Start early.
  • Know who will do what.
  • What will the specials be?
  • Who is the customer?
  • What help can you get from suppliers?
  • Have plenty of merchandise….there and ready to sell.
  • If it’s an out-of-store event, spend the money to get a telephone line and take credit cards.
  • If you offer financing, make sure customers know it.  Have plenty of signage.
  • Pre-promote the event in your store.  That includes asking every customer "Will you be coming to our event?"
  • Get your staff on the phone.
  • If the event is off-site, drive people back to your store.
  • Pre-plan an after the event sale.
  • Create a separate P & L for the event.

Sound advice from a successful retailer.  There’s business out there and it will go to the businesses that aggressively go after it.  If you have any event success stories, fell free to share them with us.

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