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Opening a studio / store

Hello fellow metalsmiths and jewelers!

I have been MIA for awhile. I have been busy making preparations for
my new studio/store that I am opening in November. I want to get
other Orchid members advice and tips on having a store.

My shop is co-owned by me and my business partner. We will be selling
mostly silver jewelry and carry other accessorries from other local
designers and artists (we are all based on the LES in NYC).

I need to get set up for charge cards, I was going to go through my
bank but do any of you use another source for charges?

Any tips for store security?

Any horror stories anyone wants to share?

Thanks in advance


Dede, Shop around with different banks for the best rates. I have been
using Tennessee National Bank through a program that they set up for
members of the American Crafts Council. A fraction of a point can add
up to a lot of money over the course of a year.

The same is true with alarm companies. Compare the systems that they
offer and their monthly monitoring charges. Caveat emptor. Best of
luck with your store. What is it’s name and address?


Joel Schwalb


I don’t have any advice for you. However, I would love to visit your
store once it opens. Would you post theme and address when you are
ready for visitors. I’d also like to know about your experience
acquiring a space today in NYC’s tight and expensive real estate


Dear dede

May I please ask you what is behind these easy-to-write
abbreviations, which you use? What does "I have been MIA for awhile"
mean? And what does ‘LES in NYC’ mean? These are the real
’horror-stories’ for us people. for whom English is a second
language, and I would think that a lot of non-US people also would
like to know what is behind these abbreviations.

Kind regards
Betty & Niels L�vschal, Jyllinge, Denmark
phone (+45) 46 78 89 94

While you can save a huge amount of money by shopping around for
better rates you should remember to look at the overall picture.
First make sure that there aren’t a lot of hidden charges, which
invariably I have found most of the lowest rates offered, carry.
Secondly, remember that you need to establish a relationship with a
bank for all your needs. We work with a small local bank, after
having used a number of larger ones (none of whom exist anymore having
been eaten up by larger competitors), because they all know us and
know our business. When I need to borrow money I just go in and tell
them what I want. There are no forms to fill out, no bureaucracy, no
requests to submit a business plan covering the next ten years. They
know how much business I do because they see it coming through their
hands. While I may pay a quarter per cent more to this bank for my
credit card charges, it is worth it in terms of the overall
relationship. Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794
Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 @spirersomes

Hi Dede, I am in a working studio and retail shop with two partners
and use Novis as my credit card service, since they were offering a
good price on the purchase of a card machine and printer. I think
that I paid about $427 to purchase it outright. It would cost more
to buy it over time. The rate that is charged is based on average
sale, so that will vary and you must agree to a one year contract.
After that time, if you shop around and find a better rate, use that
to negotiate a lower rate with Novis. They charge you only for an
amount based on sales and there is no minimum. One word of advice:
Don’t compare services on the rates only, but on the little fees that
really add up to raise your rate. They will be set up to process
Discover, Visa and Mastercard since American Express is separate and
pretty expensive. I find I can live without it. You will need a
telephone line, but not a dedicated one, regardless of what the phone
company will tell you, unless you have extensions that will be in use
at the same time. The machine will access the line just for
approvals and settlement, for which it can be automatically
programed. I hope this gives you a basis from which to begin and the
best of good fortune in your new venture! Susan Ronan in very warm
and humid Coronado, CA.


We are using Network One Financial for our credit cards. Their
service has been sketchy and I believe they have been recently bought
out by somebody else. I can’t live with out my credit card machine.
It was the one thing we got set up with right away.

If you have a local bank, meaning a branch that you do a lot of
business with, this can be very helpful. Our little Woburn National
was swallowed by Citizens Bank. Many of the long time employees left,
but a few old timers stayed on.

With regard to security, we don’t have any fancy alarms, but you do
have to proceed through three doors to get to our space. We have a
buzzer to let people in the gallery which is useful when you are in
the studio working. We are on the second floor in a very tiny town
where everyone knows you. It is not NYC or even Boston. We are lucky
that crime is not an issue and that our tools are safe and sound.

Sometimes our arrangement drives me crazy. Just when I want to work,
people with nothing to do like to come in and talk up a storm. But
patience wins out, and I take them around the gallery and the studio.
They like to see all the tools and that people are working at what
they love to do and make a living. A few of these long winded talks
resulted in a two gift certificates for grandchildren for classes. So
you never know.

After two years, Jennifer and I finally collected something we
thought we would never see - a paycheck! It wasn’t much, but the
classes at Metalwerx are filling fast.

Good luck on your venture. You will face the hardest work in your
life, but it is also the most rewarding.

Let me know how you are doing.


Hi DeDe: Seems to me you have the last minute shivers. It sound like
your in New York City. Well there was a Governor, later President
who said it best! “All you have to fear is fear itself”. I believe
we all experience a case of the nerves when a new shop is opening. Do
I have enough capital to last during the first year to weather the
rough times until the cash flow is great enough to pay for the shope,
wages, insurance,etc… The one area, two areas often not thought
through are slip and fall specialists and theft. To cheat the
slippers, make sure that the traffic flow you’ve set up is clear all
obstructions. A video camera or cameras should take care of most all
of those. Nothing like a camera in plain sight to prevent slipper
pros. from hitting the jackpot at your expense—Also wards off most
thieves. The other thing I think is highly over looked in all retail
is that owners like to use their windows for displaying expensive
items. while this appears to be ok and a good draw for the public.
It can sometimes does lead t attracting the nasty little buggers. You
may know them as the smash and grab thieves. these are not many
things to worry about and they may never happen to you. They do
happen enough to other shops that it may behove you to at least remove
the more expense items back and out of sight, or at least make it
more difficult on them. Good luck in your new enterprise and may it
bring you and your partners a good profit! Just watch for the little
stuff and you will do fine.

Richard Blahnik

Dear Loevschal, Your comments about our unthinking use of acronyms
instead of complete words is well justified. Sometimes we do it just
to be trendy, other times we do it because we are lazy and
inconsiderate and still other times we do it because we Americans are
victims of a lousy educational system and don’t know how to spell !
In other English speaking cultures, especially those with a Brit.
background, abreviations are used to connote the monumental academic
and social achievements of an individual. His or her business card is
apt to be appended with half the entire English alphabet. Nobody ever
quite knows what this alphabet soup means ,but the net effect is
meant to induce spontaneous genuflection in the beholder. In the
former British colonies in Africa the use of acronyms reaches its
highest and most incomprehensible attainment. A typical newspaper in
Zambia, for instance, is so full of acronyms that no one can
understand what is meant…even the writers of the article are simply
faking it. A typical headline might read " ZAMTEL moots 'AID and opts
for UNICEF proc. in order to propitiate expats. Nobody knows what
this means so each person can twist it to his or her own purposes and
everbody is happily confused. You complained about the use of LES in
NYC. Now I really don’t quite know what that means either! However, I
would suppose that logic suggests that it means “lesbian in New York
City”…who knows! Ron at Mills gem, Los Osos,CA

Hello Amanda: I will definetly post the address of the shop when it
opens. I got a great deal on a store front space only because I spent
most of my life living in my current neighborhood and I know the
landlord - who is a buddhist and is renting space to me and a buddhist
in the store front next to me temple. However, the real estate market
has become so insane here that now I may be losing my apartment ( and
the building I live in!) so a new condo can be built. Oh well, at
least I have my store in NYC and I am moving my butt to Williamsburg
brooklyn to live!


Dear Ron and Loevschal,

I didn’t see an answer to your questions. So, I’d like to
clarify the acronyms.

NYC = New York City This one is a little surprising. I’ve
heard NYC used all over the world. But, maybe I’m understanding
it because I live in NYC! :slight_smile:

LES = Lower East Side This is a neighborhood on the lower
east side of Manhattan south of Houston Street.

I think acronyms come about with familiarity. But, this is a
global site. So, we should remember to spell things out so that
assumptions are not made. Obviously, assumptions about the
unknown are not usually accurate. As was the case in this
thread. I hope this clarifies your questions.

A New York City local.