One thing about me is that I’m nosy. If there’s a car accident, I slow down to assess the damage. If my neighbors are arguing outside, I’ll peek through the blinds to take a look. So the day I saw the ‘361 Pop Up Shops’ sign cover the old Bealls building I had to investigate. My partner and I pulled up and went to the door to read “Victoria’s Largest Flea Market.”
FLEA MARKET? I love flea markets. Immediately, I snapped picture of the door.
That’s when I noticed that the lights were on. Going back to what I said before, I’m nosy, so you could probably guess what happened next. I pulled on the door, and sure enough, it opened.
Little did I know I was opening the door to my future.
After a year of selling clothing online, I toyed with the idea of opening a vintage clothing store in our community, but it came with lots of anxiety. 'CAUSE WHAT IF IT FAILED? It was when I walked through the doors of 361 for the first time, this overwhelming sense of relief washed over me. I was looking around in awe like, could this be the answer to my prayers? While exploring all the booth spaces, we unexpectedly bumped into friends of my partner, and had the pleasure of meeting with the owners of The Back Patio of Port Lavaca, Texas. Our conversation not only provided us with valuable insight about what 361 Pop-Up Shop was but also the confidence to take that leap and reserve a booth.
For those who don’t know, 361 Pop Up Shops gives entrepreneurs, new or experienced, an opportunity to establish a business by offering a variety of rentable booth spaces that fit their needs at a weekly, or monthly rate, with no long term commitments or commission required.
It was here that I had the opportunity to learn about what it takes to run a business. After just three months, I made the decision to close down our shop and relocate to Downtown Victoria. There were a few factors that ultimately lead up to this decision and in this blog post we will go over the main reasons I left.
From the beginning, I had a vision of what I wanted Iconic to become and started to strategize about how to make it a reality. It was after our second month that I knew we were onto something much bigger. Our customer return rate was high, our social media was growing, and the word about us was starting to get around.
We had a few of our TikTok's gain traction that made our online sales spike. Fast shipping is key to a great customer experience when shopping online. Operating out of a shop that we didn't always have access to interfered with the ability to do that. Which leads me to one reason we decided to leave. Suppose someone bought a t-shirt online that was showcased at our pop-up on a Sunday evening after we closed. In that instance, I wouldn't be able to ship until Thursday, when we were allowed to come in and restock. Now if you're a potential vendor reading this, listen, they give you two days to restock, Tuesday and Thursday. I go out of town to get inventory for the shop and Tuesdays interfered with my sourcing schedule. Besides, if you do not have an online store this isn't something you should be worried about.
In general, the hours of operation were a little too early for me. When I was there, they opened at 10am, and at that time, I would still be out at Garage Sales. I felt so bad because I would receive an email every other day like: "Hey team, y'all are still not open at 10am, let's change that!" He was always nice about it but I was a bad apple that never listened... Sorry, Joseph. If you do consider opening a pop-up, make sure you can commit to it. I completely understand the importance of having as many booths open as possible at the time opening, no one wants to visit a place where everything is closed. That is another reason why I felt like I had to go, I couldn't commit to their hours.
You know that scene in movies where the guy is breaking up with his girlfriend and is like, "it's not you, it's me." That's kinda how I felt in this situation because the reasons for me leaving had nothing to do with 361 Pop-Up Shops. From my conversations with the owners, and their daily check ins, and Sunday inspiration emails, I knew their mission was to be a stepping stone for business owners and provide a place for them to flourish. Which is what I did.
Now, I am native to Victoria and fellow attendee of events like Bootfest, Cinco De Mayo, the Christmas parade and so on. I understood that having a location in the Downtown area would give me access to the traffic from these events. The main reason I knew I needed to leave 361 was to get in on the action before the big boom. Easier said than done though. This idea seemed like a far off, "keep dreaming kid" sorta ordeal.
The day I found my brick and mortar is nothing less than pure magic. I quite literally felt the urge to drive around downtown, we saw the building, I texted the number, we toured it, I talked about my vision with the owner of the building. The next day, I put the deposit down and got the keys. Like wow, I couldn’t have imagined this would ever be my reality, but here I am. This is a testimony to any business owner that believes deeply in their brand, to take that leap of faith and trust in God and all his glory. It would be a complete lie if I told you I had it all planned out. From the moment I walked through the doors of 361 to the moment I walked out, it was all God. My story comes down to divine timing and being at the right place at the right time. God works in mysterious ways and I feel in my heart he led and continues to lead me through this journey, where ever it will take me.
If you haven’t already, take a day to explore our thriving Downtown Victoria and all the wonderful places there are to enjoy. Stay tuned next week for our Iconic Itinerary: A Day of Fun in Downtown Victoria.
Our Journey Through Photos:
1. Picking our booth
2. Grand Opening
3. Switching to our new booth
4. Finding our Downtown Location
5. Getting the keys the next day
6. Getting ready for our Grand Opening
7. The Grand Opening of our Downtown Location