Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mall Kiosk Time Machine

I remember calling the Lycoming Mall back in 1994 to see about leasing a kiosk for the holiday season to sell my clay bead jewelry. Brand new carts were coming in and I was the first to inquire. What great timing!  In my previous life as a buyer for 400 card and gift stores I had been to many malls coast to coast where carts were common. It seemed a logical step to try since the first six months had been a thrilling success at shows. The scary part of course was the cost, but I had to try.
This must be circa 1995 judging my Savannah to be about three here.This was the original cart design. All natural wood with wheels. It had a big drawer for storage at each end on wheels. I actually had a toaster oven in there to bake the beads. Start to finish everything was made at the cart. An all day long demonstration which captured attention, started conversation and helped with sales. This cart style lasted quite a few years then was put out to pasture to sell apples or who knows what, as the mall purchased a  new model.
This model came around 2003 with its bright white laminate finish. I made the "lovely" sage skirting to cover up as much of the stark white as possible. I tend to go with a natural look for display. Wood, cork, tile, burlap...you get the picture. At the time, the skirt looked sooo good. Now, change of mind...
For 2004 it went skirtless. A soft suede overlay, more cork and natural fibers to cover up that drastic white. Better than the skirt? Maybe... Is anyone ever satisfied with their display?
 
The end of the cart view with the bamboo blind as a backdrop. This look became a part of my show booth design, but that's another story entirely. Having settled into solution for the white laminate model, the mall announces it is bringing in yet another design for 2007. This one would be cherry wood in a pagoda style.  It's a beauty except the display space was cut down. Time to regroup once again and brainstorm for display ideas.

This was the beginning of the transition from wood displays to metal and tile. Ahhh, so many tile choices. I stood in the aisle at Lowe's and drooled. 

Today, title for first and most continuous cart vendor is mine. Guess it makes me the old lady of the mall, old at 43? Naaaa .... People seem surprised when they find out how many years it's been since they've been coming.  This I appreciate the most. Little kids who have been picking out their mother's Christmas present are now in college. I love making even the smallest contribution to the holiday season. It warms my heart.

Center court is my home for November and December. It's a crazy time of year trying to squeeze in taking care of everything, but it's all we know at my house. Making beads and jewelry all day at the kiosk where family, friends and customers gather to watch or chat. This is the time when I get to catch up with everyone! The bonus comes after with four months off before the outdoor season kicks off again.

17 comments:

  1. So interesting to see the different kiosks through the years. You did a beautiful job with each one too! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is cool! I have always wanted to do that but these are way out of my price-range even at the less expensive malls.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! That was really fascinating! -- Just wondering, do you still work on your stuff there? If so, where would you find any room to do it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What is the price point for one of these things? I always wondered. Good on you for taking the plunge. I know it would be worth it during the Christmas season.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 2 Good Claymates-I do work on my stuff there. I have a work station that sits beside the cart. It has drawers and storage space and a nice size surface. I can manage a two sided workspace and a light. I keep all my tools and clay and beads in the drawers. This way I can do a lot of custom on the spot.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sunshine INdustries- The price question is tough to answer. Depending on your location, mall ownership and quality of the mall, you will find a wide range of prices. A seasonal lease is generally for 8 weeks with the group I work with. You can expect anywhere from 6-12k around here.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It looks terrific :D
    & congratz on keeping it going for so long! Thats alot of dedication.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great Job! Your kiosk looks great. I am thinking about leasing an office space in a really cool office building in my area where there are several small businesses.

    ReplyDelete
  9. good for you to take this plunge as i know many of us have often considered a mall cart. your booth looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for all the nice comments. I would love to see more of us in the general marketplace. There are so many people who never attend arts & crafts festivals that respond enthusiastically when they see handmade in a commercial venue. Anything we can do to spread the buy handmade message is all good!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm with everyone here who says that they've considered taking one of these kiosks for the holidays. The price is daunting, I'll admit. Are you in a large city area? Do you find that your sales/profits heavily outweigh the cost of the lease? I may have to "bite the bullet" next year and just go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Willow, I am not in a large market. One thing going for me though is the number of years I've been at it. If it wasn't well worth it, believe me, I would find something else. Every situation is different. Some product makes sense, some locations are better and overall...you really need to know if your personality is cut out for it. I have seen many come and go at my mall. If you want to talk more at length, please feel free to contact me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such wonderful coverage and info, you should be a reporter! I really enjoyed reading this, and look forward to your other posts!
    Michele in Michigan at:'
    www.AmoreBride.etsy.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautiful, Jules!! I am going to the mall sometime this week, and hopefully will be introducing myself to you!! Your work is absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to see it in person again --a few years ago, I bought something for my mom from your kiosk!! I forgot all about it until my mom mentioned it the other day! Very creative displays too!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your style is very unique сomparеd to other folks I
    have read stuff from. Thanκ you fоr рosting when уou hаѵe the opportunity,
    Gueѕs I'll just book mark this site.

    My page :: stop premature ejaculation pills

    ReplyDelete
  16. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when
    new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with
    the same comment. There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Kudos!

    My web blog cheap party pills

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails