What does La Bella Vita mean?
The good or beautiful life, it’s Italian.
Can I be in the shop? This is usually followed by the artist/crafter plunking a load of stuff on the front counter when the shop has customers – ugh!
We’ve moved away from adding new crafters and artists and have focused on having our current selection of “family and friends” offer their creations in the shop. All of the small business that supply inventory to our shop have been seasoned in their craft and have a valid business license.
How do I approach a shop?
BE POLITE – ALWAYS! Ask who is the manager/owner/buyer and see about making an appointment. Once you have an appointment, THEN you should bring your items into the shop.
How does it work?
Every shop is different and even within our shop the terms are different depending upon who is making what, how experienced they are both in their craft and at being in a retail shop. Sometimes, ok like 99.9 times it takes a great deal of effort to help new artist/crafters get their feet wet and established and.. Well, we don’t always have the energy to take that on if we are already investing time/energy into running the shop along with the business end of having a retail establishment.
Why can’t I just stop by and show you my things?
Well… you could but it’s not really the best way to approach a shop. We see our business as a partnership with our vendors. This isn’t really putting your best business foot forward and you have a much higher chance of who-ever is working the shop to kindly say “no thank you” right there. No matter how great your things are.
Aren’t you a consignment shop?
We are a handmade gift shop that offers handmade items. The bookkeeping is easier and cost our business less. Being a relatively new retail establishment we have learned the hard way what we need for our business and some people are simply more serious about their business than others. We noted the time we spent on new artist/crafters, tracking their inventory, answering random questions, explaining business basics, etc. With the help of our CPA along with a business mentor we realized that our customers were not being our focus as much as they should have and our new artist/crafters were taking up a lot of time. We’d either have to no longer take on newbies or charge people monthly and take a commission to make it work. Luckily there are groups out there in the Seattle area that can help new artist/crafters: SeattleHandmade.com
Who’s in La Bella Vita?
Crafty friends and family mainly. We’ve worked the craft fairs, pimped on the streets as Karen calls it and still do a few craft fairs once in a while (gotta check out what’s out there). The people in the shop have been handpicked based on what they make, their attitude, the quality of their work, etc. For us we would rather have crafty friends that do multiple things.
Are you part of the Black Diamond Bakery and Restaurant?
No, we rented space. Our lease was up the end of 2016.