#70 - How To Build A Profitable Retail Business (ft. Sarah Gutierrez)
What is up corporate misfits, welcome, to the corporate misfit podcast, I'm your host Britney Darrington founder of the corporate misfit Club and business, strategist, for female, entrepreneurs, who are looking to start lunch and grow their, business, on today's, strategy, session we are chatting with Sarah Gutierrez. She, helps, retail, entrepreneurs, build profitable businesses, she, also creates data-driven, strategies that. Empower retail, entrepreneurs, to achieve, their financial goals through, informed, product, inventory and, distribution. Decisions, Sarah. Has over 15. Years of, experience, building profitable. Informed, inefficient businesses, across multiple, categories. Including. Apparel, jewelry, home, goods outdoor. Sporting. Equipment and wine. Bottles now, if you are not a subscriber go, ahead and subscribe to the corporate missive podcast, so that you can be notified of upcoming podcast. Episodes, and also, can help others, who are looking to start launch and grow their business find, this, podcast Channel, all right let's go ahead and dive right in, you're. Listening to the corporate misfit podcast, with Brittany Darrington, where, female entrepreneurs. Can get powerful tips and advice on how to start launch. And grow, their business. Sarah. I am so excited to have you on the corporate misfit podcast, thank you so, much for joining me today. Sarah. Before we get started though can you share with us how you became a corporate misfit. Not. Going to continue to be right for me after, I had a baby, so. I had worked in. Management. Consulting in. Corporate. Retail for years that was my background and, then I. Had, my first baby and, a, week before I was supposed to go back to my job I had, a little bit of a freakout and decided, that I, could, not do the, commute, and the long hours and. The, limited vacation, that there was this person that I wanted to spend so much more time with, and so, I needed, to find, something. Different another. Way, you. Know to. To have. A career and to make money I. Absolutely. Love. It so many, people are looking, to find a way to work, from home and be able to be around their family and make money doing it so I'm so happy you found a way that, really works well for you, and your family, now, did you have any background, in, the world of financials. Or retail, before you got started into retail consulting. I did. I kind of had a range of experience. First. I grew up in a family of amazing. Shoppers, so. I, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and, my sisters and I could navigate to, probably, every mall within, a two hours, you. Know by the time we could drive ourselves at 16 so. Fueled. By kind of that love, of retail, I started, working at retail stores in college. And even continued, to work part-time in retail after, I got my first you know real job out of college because, I just, like the connection you made with the customers, I liked the product, I just liked the whole feel. Of it and then. I learned about like. The corporate retail side the planning, of it and I went into management, consulting, and we work specifically, with retail, companies, so, we'd go in and we would help do their planning. Process. Their, merchandising. Their, distribution. So I got to see how these big retail companies, worked kind, of from the backend and the strategic, decisions, that they were making, the. Downside of management, consulting is you are on the road every. Single week so I would fly out on Monday and fly home on Friday do my laundry and do it again so. After a few years of doing that I decided, to switch to the corporate retail side and, because. I had this background I, knew that planning, was, where I wanted to go so I started, working for a corporate retailer in San Francisco, as. Their planner, or, inventory. Manager, for women's apparel, so. I did, that for years and moved up from being, the planner to being the manager, and. So really had this understanding, of reporting. And metrics, and what, they needed and what numbers, they were looking at to make their decisions. So, I took. And then like I said after I had a baby decided, we, needed to do something else, and I worked for some smaller companies, first before, I decided to go, full-on, consulting. And it was very, interesting, to see that these, smaller companies, needed. That information but. They didn't have the resources to get it and so they were flying blind sometimes, and, I was able to come in and take, some data and set, up some reports, and draw some analysis, and just look at things and kind of tell a story. And, so I did that for two different companies and each time that I quit, and left they, were like but we need you we need you to stay around like can we just can you stay on as a consultant you know and run these reports and so that's how I switched, from kind.
Of The full-time corporate, into consulting, is because my employers told me we, need you I thought, well if they need me there are probably other people that could need me as well, girl. You have some experience. Especially being. A professional shopper in the, San Francisco, area that's, a great place to shop and so, many different trends, and things happening, so that's a really great background, to get started, in now. I know that. A lot of entrepreneurs want. To go into the world of retail. And e-commerce but, there's so many different terms and moving parts and they're, unsure, of how, to get, started they're unsure of how to actually, manage, inventory and all the other things that go in to, retail. Can, you share with us how a new entrepreneur, who, is just getting started, can really understand. And grasp the terms, of retail, so that they can be prepared and also know how to talk to tenured. Individuals. Who are in the retail space so, that they can actually build, a successful business, um. Google. Google, is always, your friend. But. I also provide. A retail, math basics, class on my, website, so I've broken down all, of the basic terms that, you'll hear as you're talking to buyers and, you know and they're spitting out the different, acronyms, and, so that you can kind of understand, that retail language, so I divide all of the terms provide. The formula, that go along with it and give you examples so you can kind of see like what. Are the buyers talking, about how does this apply to my business and you get that real world connection, yes. To Google, I think I have a PhD in, Google. When it comes to searching things about business is so important, to have access to Google now, I know that, having access. And knowing how to take, control of your numbers is so important. And I think that more entrepreneurs, really need to be, familiar, with numbers so that they can win and succeed. Absolutely. It's the details, of your business I mean it's what's going on in a day to day basis and it's, your money you want to know where, your money is is it how your money is working for you so, it's important, to get into those details even though it can be a, little overwhelming, because it is kind of learning a brand new language yes. And I even went to school for retail. Management, so, I wish that we spent more time learning. More about numbers, and really understanding. How to make sure that we're profitable in our business, and really knowing our numbers because that helps to set you up for success, now. Sarah a lot of new entrepreneurs really, struggle, to understand. The difference between revenue. And profit, and I want to make sure that they truly, understand. This because it can make a major difference in your business if you're not properly. Understanding. The terms between the two can, you share with some of our new entrepreneurs, who, might not be familiar with the term profit. In revenue. And can you explain the difference between the two so. Revenue. Is your, sales, it's the money that you're getting every, time you sell an item so, if you sell that dress for $100, you just made a hundred dollars in revenue. Profit. On the other hand is the money that you get to keep it's, the money that goes in the bank in your pocket at the end of the day so, it's what's left over after you've, paid, all your wholesale, cost after, you've paid all the bills for, your store or your website, after, you've paid all your employees so.
Profits, Important because you, need to be able to pay your bills you, need to have money left over so that you can invest, in growth you can give, yourself a raise down, the road, so that, you've got you know a little bit of a cushion if you come with slow sales so profits. Your goal at the end of the day, yes. Profit, first that is so, important. And I wish more people would really take time to understand. The importance, of profit, because, when, you are profitable, in your business, you are able to invest more in inventory, invest more into marketing, in so many other areas within, your business but, if your company, is not generating, revenue. And you're finding yourself falling short and you're unable to actually, keep up with the demand, of your business, it makes it hard for you to actually, grow and eventually scale so, making sure you know those numbers and understanding, the difference between revenue, and profit, is very, very, important, so. Inventory. Is something that usually ties, up, a lot of e-commerce. They're. Their capital, they're their cash flows completely, tied up in inventory so, what are some ways for, entrepreneurs, who are in the e-commerce space, to, be, able to manage, their inventory, properly. Absolutely. Inventory. Is your biggest, investment. So you want to know again, where your money's going and. That it's going to make money for you in return, so. Inventory, management is all about knowing what, product, your customer, buys when. They're gonna buy it and how, much they buy so. The, first step is looking. At all of your, unit sales for all of the items you sell and, summarizing. Your products, across your categories. Your sales channels, your item, attributes, and your price points, you're, trying to identify the trends. Up in the common factors. That are driving your business as well as those that are underperforming, or, not working. So. When you complete this analysis. It'll validate your best and your worst sellers, with concrete, numbers, a lot, of the times you think you know what's selling because that items stuck out in your head but, sometimes when you see the numbers, it can be i opening and it can change your perspective and. Help you identify some new, opportunities. You. Also want, to look at when, they're buying what's. The seasonality, is your customer shopping rate price or she just coming in for mark, and promotions. And. Then. You want to know how. Much you need to buy to, support her sales, so, this, is where you need to make some decisions, what's the lifespan of the item is this, a basic item that you're gonna carry all year and constantly, replenish, is it, a trend item that can sell out in a few weeks or is it seasonal, like a swimsuit or, a heavy, coat that, pretty much has a you, know a hard stop, that it's not going to sell anymore, you.
Also Want to look at your calendar see. If you have any promotional. Events, coming up you. Know what's your marketing, and see if you're gonna you know want extra inventory to, support that it. Sounds. Like a lot of information. But. Once you get it down on paper you. Start to see like okay you, know my t-shirts sell, five, items every, day and, I want to sell this one for four weeks okay I need 20, items you know I need to buy 20 units and you start to get familiar with your categories. And your seasonality, and it. Just becomes a little bit more second, nature as you get down to the details yes. These, are such, great tips for, individuals. Who are in the retail, e-commerce space, and looking to really figure out a way to really. Tackle and manage their inventory that. Is so important, and thank you so much for sharing that now. There, are some, buyers and, some business owners who get really excited, when they go to market or if they're buying from trade shows and things along those lines and sometimes, they. Might find items, that they think are gonna do extremely. Well in the season, but then they, run into a situation to where they, actually did, not perform well with that product, so are there any tips, or advice that you would give to someone who, is stuck. With a ton, of items, and inventory, that are not performing well and looking to get it off the shelves. Definitely. Having a buy. Plan and a markdown strategy. So, markdowns. Shouldn't, be something that you just do impulsively. There, should be a strategy, behind it, you, should have a plan, for, each of your items and, you should know you know if this is supposed to last, for two months and I'm a month into it I should, be done with half of my inventory, you know if not what. Can I do to help boost those sales can I do a promotion. Something, you know that's not a permanent price, drop but it could I do you know buy. One get one you, know a certain percentage, off can, so that you can encourage multiples. Can you you, know do five. Dollars off every you know a certain category to. Help encourage that movement, so, there should definitely be a strategy, behind it and. Then if those still aren't moving and use the end of seasoning, you do need to take markdowns. There, should be you, should be looking at timing so identifying. Those items like you know all right it's the end of summer swimsuits, need to go you know, but maybe those t-shirts. Can, last a little bit longer. And. Then you also want to look at the pricing, you need to get to know your customer, is she value, oriented and, she'll. Buy anything even, with a shell a little markdown, or is. She really, specific, about what she wants and you, know if she didn't buy it at full price you need to make it pretty compelling, at, at. Markdown, you don't want to give away margin, but you also don't want an item just sitting there taking, up space if. All it took was a few more dollars to, make it move I love. What you just said Sarah because it's so true if you can do something that can help move your product forward, and get it out the doors and off the shelves that, can make a major difference within your business so that it won't tie up your cash flow and eventually, your getting your products, into your customers, hands and I also love that you said it's so important, for you to really understand. And know your buyer so, if you know who you're serving you're familiar with what they might like when in terms of sales or marketing, or things, along those lines so it's really important for you to take time to understand, who you are serving, so that you can properly position. Yourself and get your products in front of them if for any reason it, is not performing, well and you have a different strategy and, a back-up plan so, I love, that you said, that you, recommend. That new, entrepreneurs. Who are going into the e-commerce space manage. Their, inventory, and the the old-school way like Excel, or do, recommend, that they use some sort of database. Or management system what do you recommend for them to succeed when, it comes to just getting started with inventory so that they can keep up with things properly, and have, it all in one place, I recommend, that in the beginning you get started the old way keep.
It Simple, you know have, a way to track, your inventory, but even if that's an excel. Sheet you know or if you put, it in QuickBooks, your accounting system, technology. Can be really, great if it's, the right fit if, it's, the wrong fit it's extremely. Limiting, so. Let's say you know work on it figure out how often do I want to look at my sales do I need things daily, or weekly do, I want to get all the way down to the details, am I happy with a dashboard, you, know do. I want to see pretty, charts, and graphs or, do you just want the raw numbers like working. It for a while figure, out what works for you have, that solid process, and then, start, looking at technology. Because, it definitely. Will make it more efficient, and can, introduce new ways of looking at things but if it's, not what the way you look at things and what you and what you want then it's just extremely limiting, and it's frustrating that it, will work around. Having. A game plan of how you want to manage your inventory, and be able to look at your reports, and what details you would like to keep up with is so important, because, it helps you to just stay on track and also hold your business accountable. For what it is that you're purchasing, so having, that game plan and truly understanding, how you're gonna manage it is very very very essential, to running a business now let's talk about forecasting, this is usually a foreign, language to a lot, of retail. Entrepreneurs, and even just entrepreneurs. In any industry, not, knowing how to really, plan ahead and, especially, plan, accurately, can be really confusing and challenging, when it comes to the world of forecasting, so, is there any advice or tips that you can share with us entrepreneurs, on, how to properly forecast. Within our business, so. Forecasting. Is all, about knowing, your numbers business. Is just, a numbers game and if you know what yours are then you can kind of help predict where your business is gonna go, or the steps that you need to take to get there for. Retail. Businesses. You really need to know your traffic, how, many people are you getting to your store, or your site each day, and then, out of that, what's your conversion, how many of those customers who come in are actually, buying and then. When they buy how. Much are they spending what's their dollars per transaction, once. You know that you can kind of help get an idea for what its gonna take to grow, your business and get that top-line, growth if you. Know you're getting a hundred customers a day and, they're each spending, $50 like you, know you, know what it takes if you want to make $10,000. What does that growth look, like so, it helps give you kind of a format. And you know to know those numbers so. The other thing that I, like is once you've gotten familiar, with the forecasting. And you're tracking you, know what your traffic, is and your conversion and what your dollars are and what those sales are you, can get even more, specific. By, working, with our retail, calendar. So, a retail calendar is something, that it's, different from your regular calendar, a retail calendar is also called a four five for calendar, because. It splits, your it. Splits your months up into the first month is always four weeks the second ones is five weeks and then it goes back to four weeks so, that allows you to compare. A year over a year and have the, same number of days and weeks in a month because, with months shifting around March, this year might, have an extra day an, extra weekend day and your weekend days might be busier, so they drive more sales if the, next year doesn't have that you'll look at March and think oh I slowed, down like, what went wrong but, nothing, went wrong you were just missing a Saturday, in which could be huge in your sales so, the retail accountants, there helps you compare, comparable.
Time Periods, and it, also gives. You a way to track, all of your promotions, all of your marketing, you know your inventory, flows, so. You know what was going on in your business so when you go plan the next year you have that history, you can look you compare month after month week after week and really. Get a feel for how. Your business is performing. This. Is excellent, cigarette, now, what, advice would you give to a new. Entrepreneur, who's looking to go into the e-commerce, or retail, space what, advice would you provide, to them I, would. Say. Practice. Get. You know take. A class myclass, somebody. Else's, class get. Your pen your paper and your calculator out and just. Start becoming familiar with the, numbers make, up a plan make, up some units make up some dollars and see what those get you you, know get, a line sheet from you, know one of your brands and they'll have the costs on there and see, what different margins, you need to get different sales prices and, I would say just practice. And get comfortable and figure out you know how you're if you have cost, and sales. Price and units. You, can figure out almost any retail. Equation. They all work together, but, just yeah work at it google it practice, it ask somebody, for help just understand. What you're going to be doing I, am. So, impressed by, your retail, knowledge, and wisdom and, I absolutely love. How you were helping retail. Businesses, to really understand. How they can be profitable, understand, their numbers and also, be able to manage, their inventory on, a day to day basis, so thank you so much for taking the time to share. Your wisdom with us I would, love for our listeners to be able to stay connected with you Sarah so can you share with us about your pricing, calculator and. Your programs, and also how our listeners, can be, able to work with you if they are in the retail, space and looking to gain help. In consulting, with in that area absolutely. You. Can go to my website which is sarah. Gutierrez, consulting.com. I. Have, blog, posts on there I have my, classes. Available I, am, also on Instagram. At Sarah Gutierrez, consulting, and I post, different. Formulas. And situations. And tips and tricks for retail, Chapra Knorr well, thank you again Sara I am so grateful for having you on today and, I appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom with us thank, you loved chatting about this with you if you enjoy today's episode, of the corporate misfit podcast, we invite you to check out the corporate misfit Club the, corporate, misfit Club is the essential, resource for, female entrepreneurs we're, looking to start or grow a business they actually, love whether, you are a seasoned, entrepreneur, in your startup phase or, simply, thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship. We've got your back girl with our extensive course library monthly. Training exclusive. Members-only, discount, perks and unlimited. Tools we, also have a supportive, community of women where our members share stories, experiences. Their. Wins and business, tips the, corporate misfit Club is the perfect, place to be to start launch, or grow, a business so.
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