Los Angeles Markets 101 Guide (Part 1)
This is a blog about my entrepreneurial journey to build my online décor store
Los Angeles Markets 101
Here’s a little background…..
Paradis Maison is a relatively new store and has been online for just over 1 year. Being a newbie to online store marketing and sales is a tough place to be. If we (as in me) weren’t so in love with designing our masterpieces it would probably make more sense to get a real job. Most businesses fail in the first few years at an alarmingly high rate which makes one wonder why soo many people start a business against these incredible odds.
Having a teeny tiny marketing budget, one must become creative about how to get a product out into the world. Just how do you find ‘your people’ and get ‘your people’ to find you on this very large planet filled with many other fabulous contenders for their attention and rubles?
Being most naïve I thought that moving to LA would present me with many opportunities to flog my flamboyant fares. I researched many of the markets around tinsel town to see where best to set up shop. First stop, the Santa Monica Markets (my thinking being that Santa Monicans are not short of a buck and have some cool houses that probably need some cool décor). Unfortunately it turns out that Paradis Maison is not eligible for a store here as only stores who already own a store front on the High Street can participate in this market. Balloon burst. Wahh
Second stop, Malibu Farmer’s Market. Although this is a farmer’s market they do allow stores to sell other crafts and non-food related wares. Eligibility, tick. After checking out their website much excitement was felt upon seeing photos of Pierce Brosnan and Pink perusing the stalls here. Visions of A-List Celebs buying my creations filled my soul with the joy of possibility. I headed up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) over the weekend to investigate more and was both glad (and sad) that I did. Even though I was there at peak time; crickets. Where were these A-List Celebs hiding? Where were any people at all? As I walked down the aisles of food and passed the desperate faces of fruiterers handing out samples. I couldn’t help but feel really bad for these honest, hardworking, organic vegetable providing marketeers who I am sure did not even make back the rental cost of the store for the day.
Moving on….Melrose. I had heard through my newly formed grapevine that the Fairfax Market on Melrose Avenue (on the school grounds) gets a lot of traffic. After a long queue and paying the entry fee (must be promising if there is an entry fee right?) I began my investigation. Yes, there were a lot of people here but almost every store was second hand. Second hand clothing, second hand furniture etc etc. Customers were mostly youngens starting out, looking for the bargain of the century. The few stores that were selling new items were only doing well if they were selling cheap items such as clothing patches for a couple bucks (I am guilty of buying a rainbow unicorn patch to sew over the tear in my favorite jacket). The vibe wasn’t right for selling a premium product in a place where visitors were haggling over a 50c glass ashtray. It was an experience though- I would totally recommend a visit if you are in the area.
Next Up…Abbott Kinney. I love this street and I live close by at Marina del Rey, so had a good feeling about this location. The boutique stores lining the street are mostly in the medium to high-end price bracket and the clientele are stylish millennials parading about on a Saturday. What could be more perfect? Sign me up already. Then my very clever husband pointed something out to me- which wasn’t really very welcome at the time (but the truth seldom is). Yes, on a weekend there was a ton of traffic that even makes finding a car space a lottery win. However he asked “Do you see a single person with a shopping bag?” I started to scan the street and I noticed that all these very good looking, chic millennials were not holding anything at all…. except for very expensive artisanal ice cream cones from Salt n Straw. Every food establishment on the block was chock-a-block filled to the rafters with customers begging to pay $20 for a coffee and muffin or a vegan wrap. Yet, no one was holding a single shopping bag. It was also then that I noticed that a few of the stores that had been there when we arrived in LA were no longer in existence. It had only been a few months, yet they had closed down and moved out (probably taking their broken dreams with them).
So unless I was going to offer a free exotic ice cream cone made with the tears of virgin unicorns with every pillow sale, this was probably not going to go so well. The thought of sticky ice cream fingers over my precious pillows was just too disturbing to contemplate. However if I ever decide to buy a taco truck- this place is a gold mine!
Stay tuned for more Los Angeles Market Analysis Paralysis....
(photos sourced from Splash News, Lincoln & Rose)