With but small alteration, this list will be found to meet most requirements, the quality of each item varying in accordance with the class of customers.
Having fitted out your shop and purchased your stock, the next thing is to fix your day for opening, and make suitable announcements in the local press, by posters or circulars, and then you have arrived at the all-important question of window-dressing.
The style of this, again, is a thing which must be governed largely by the neighbourhood, for what will attract the public in a poor district would repel it in a well-to-do one. Therefore you must exercise the utmost discretion in deciding upon the style of window-dressing you will adopt. This is a subject which will be dealt with fully and technically in this section of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia later, but in the meantime the following observations may be made:
1. Develop in your windows a character of display that will appeal to the taste of your people.
2. See that your "show" is in the same grade-while at the same time being distinctive-as that of your neighbours, whether they be stationers, chemists or tobacconists. Remember you will draw your trade from the same class as they.
4. Blend your colours artistically.
5. Have a central point in all displays of the "line" in which you are specialising.
6. Make your windows topical.
8. If you are not a good window-dresser, do not be afraid to admit the fact to yourself; employ an expert.
Your first duty as a young trader must be to obtain the confidence of people you want to make your customers. Straight dealing will go a long way towards this; in fact, it is the main point to bear in mind. But there is another thing besides, and that is enterprise.
People who buy from you want to know that you are sufficiently alive to have in your establishment stocks of the latest things in all branches, so that they may be quite up to date in wearing any article that you describe as "the latest." You might, if you are a good saleswoman, succeed in persuading a customer to buy a last year's article as one of this season's pattern. But you must remember that your customer has friends, among whom may possibly be one who will tell her that the article in question is not as new as you have represented.
Your customer will then make up her mind not to trust you again, and instead of doing yourself good by the exercise of your excellent powers of persuasion, you will have done your business harm. In the same way you will find opportunities of securing a price higher than the legitimate one from occasional customers. This is a temptation to be refused. Your customer is bound to compare notes with her bosom friend, and if that friend has made a similar purchase elsewhere you wall gain nothing by the little extra money you have taken in that instance over the counter; you will have lost considerably.
Take the pains to examine both what travellers from wholesale houses say and what they show you. They are emissaries from the big centres who can tell you of the latest moving in your trade. They call on your competitors, too, and can give you many good tips upon what to avoid and what to cultivate if you are a good customer.
You may spend an hour and make three farthings, or even less, but you may make many pounds out of that customer before the end of the year. You do not count your progress by the day but by the year, Or the season. A peculiar businesslike familiarity should exist between you and your customers, and it is for you to create. Make those who cross your threshold feel that here they will get the latest article at a price at least as good as anywhere else within their reach, that you will spare no pains to meet their requirements, and that the goods they purchase from you will be the objects of the unstinted admiration of their friends.
From the figures I have taken, it will be seen that your £560 capital will be dealt with at the start in the following way:
Sundries (agreement for premises, etc.)
With this disposition of a capital of this amount, attention to the details given above, and the necessary experience and will to work, your draper's shop should soon secure a good share of the trade in your town.