Now that I’ve signed a lease for a physical store, I’ve decided a lot of the upcoming posts on my blog will be about how I’m getting Needlepoint Land ready as a brick-and-mortar shop.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up turning them into a book that of course becomes an instant best seller! In fact I already have a title in mind: The Adventures of Erin in Needlepoint Land.
Okay, back to reality.
To start off, let’s mark a couple of key dates on the 2014 calendar.
I’m planning on a “soft launch” on July 1. Doors will not be open before then. The Grand Opening, or “hard launch” shall be on October 1st — the start of the season here in South Florida, when all the snowbirds start flying into town.
Right now, there are four priorities on my To Do list:
1) Turn on the electricity and get the AC going before mold sets in my beautiful store carpet
2) Get the keys to the store mailbox
3) Get the water turned on
4) Lock in my liability insurance
Okay, that’s pretty basic stuff, and I should have all this done by mid-week.
The next big step is to figure out what to do in terms of accepting credit card payments. After agonizing over this long and hard, I finally decided to join the 21st century, and get a smartphone.
I’d actually been using an AT&T pay as you go clam shell GO phone. The less said about that, the better: lousy reception, and very few apps or functionality that might help me in my business.
So this past Thursday, which was the day I decided that I found the perfect space for Needlepoint Land — the store, I went to my local AT&T outlet and bought a Samsung Galaxy S5.
As luck would have it, a really easy-to-remember number happened to be available that day.
I absolutely love my new phone!
First of all, the national coverage by the AT&T network is excellent.
This will be important to me as I travel, say, to trade shows in other states. It has a really high-definition camera, which I can use to take really cool pictures of my merchandise.
It’s nicely integrated with Google maps, so I can do some nifty, location-based marketing. The display is larger than that of an iPhone, and the cost of the plan I chose with AT&T is not too unreasonable.
The biggest drawback I found, though, is that it is a pain to get it set up to connect to email servers other than Gmail, Yahoo Mail or any other email provider than is not already preloaded into the phone.
I’ve had to contact the registrar that handles my erin at needlepointland dot com email account. Definitely not fun, and I’m still waiting to hear back. Humph. Not happy about that.
The most important thing about my Galaxy S5, however, is that I’m going to use it as part of my sales process. This means I’m going to get a credit card reader, and use it this summer as my Point of Sale credit card processor.
Now I’ve never done this before, so I contacted my friend Nenah of Nenah Stone Designs fame, and she wrote back to tell me that she already uses Square Up and is pleased with it. They charge a low percentage rate. There are no hidden fees. They don’t charge you a minimum flat fee every month, and they deposit directly into your account in 2 days.
Like everything else, however, there are gotchas. Here’s a clear and simple explanation of some of those in terms of using a credit card reader for a retail store.
Well, despite the warnings, I’m probably going ahead with Square Up.
My strategy will be this. First, I’ll hook up my smart phone to a credit card reader during the relatively slow summer months. Then, come the Grand Opening in October, I’ll have a regular credit card swipe machine up and running in the store.
Sounds like a plan. I’ll write a post about Square Up when I get all squared away by July.
In the meantime, call me Thoroughly Modern Erin, or better yet, call me on my new smartphone!
© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016