How to Open a Retail Space on a Shoestring Budget

I am new to the whole owning a retail shop sphere. Heck, I am new to the whole blogging sphere! But one thing I am learning about myself is that, if I try hard enough, I can probably figure out what I am doing…at least eventually.

I have been in the furniture restoration business for the last three years. When I started out, I enjoyed the solitude of slowly and methodically bringing an old, beat-up piece back to life. I would work in my shop for several hours listening to podcasts and music, and didn’t have to interact with anyone—it was cathartic and just perfect.

My furniture business was primarily operated online and I had a booth on a second floor of a local vintage shop. But as time was going by, I realized how impersonal it all felt. I wasn’t really interacting with my customers. There was no connection.

But then, I noticed a sea change—over this past year or so, I started building some really good relationships with my local clients. Then organically, I started building some great connections with other local business owners. And that’s when it just sort of hit me—I really want to have my own retail space! The only issue is that I am a total realist. I can talk myself out of anything that does not involve complete logic and a full list of Pros and Cons. I knew there were two main problems with having your own retail space: time and money, which just happened to be two things I did not have in abundance. This particular post will focus on the latter—money.

I realized to see my retail shop dreams to fruition on a shoestring budget was going to take some moxie, some luck, and a whole lot of creativity. I just so happen to be a pretty good problem solver, so I immediately got to work. To pull this off, I realized relatively quickly that having a partner would cut costs. But adding a partner could create new problems. What if they aren’t as passionate? What if their taste level isn’t on par? I couldn’t just find any partner. I had to find the perfect partner.

I went ahead and started looking for spaces, but my town is a hot market right now, so my search ended quickly and sadly. There was virtually nothing available and the few things that were available were well outside of my price range. Here is where the luck came in. One of my favorite local girl bosses, Michelle Adams of Michell’s Macarons, had announced on Facebook that she was going to be opening a macaron bakery in my town! Before I even finished reading the entire post, I had sent her a DM to see if she would be interested in collaborating! I felt like I didn’t have much to lose. Michelle was killing it with her business, and based on her Instagram account, we had a similar aesthetic, so she must be the perfect partner, right?

I waited with fear and excitement for Michelle to respond. I had no idea what magical location she had found, but if she liked it, it had to be perfect! If Michelle wasn’t on board, then I knew I would have to continue my search for the next perfect partner and the perfect retail space. I started to create this whole Bachelor scenario in my mind. It could be an exhaustive search, with no good prospects. When I did hear back from Michelle, it was good news! She was interested in a collaboration! But how would the logistics all work out?

to be continued….