Soft Opening = Learning Curve
This past weekend we opened our doors for friends and family. We posted a few invites on Facebook in order to get a wide range of participants. We have former co-workers, old high school friends, family, and loose acquaintances on our Facebook pages (as do most people).
We had hoped we would have a variation of personalities, and levels of experience sign up to be our guinea pigs for a few hours. On the weekend of July 22nd and 23rd 2016 we got just that from our group of participants.
The goal was to fine tune our classes for you, our customers. We offered 6 classes over the Friday and Saturday opening house. Two painting classes, one sun catcher, two string art and one wind chime.
We learned right away that Friday mornings into early evening are pretty slow. We had two people sign up for the morning string art class. They created some beautiful pieces that we will have in the store as examples for a little while. It was very peaceful (despite the hammering) for our two guests.
Another good lesson to learn was that a sun catcher class on Friday afternoon is not a popular combination at all. We were able to enjoy a good lunch time in between that and the early evening. We also reflected and tried to plan future events to help fine tune our service.
After 5 o'clock Friday evening we were a full house. We had several people come in to look around and offer feed back on how we looked. Meanwhile I had the chance to teach my "light house" class to 3 students. We had a great time and shared a lot of giggles. All in all Friday was a great success.
Saturday of our soft opening weekend was busy and we learned a LOT that day. We had started with the "sassy owl" class for a husband and wife, celebrating a kid free weekend. We learned that if our students are running more than 15 minutes behind, we will sadly have to reschedule their classes. We started sassy owl 20 minutes late which fed into the wind chime class. All nine students arrived and paid for their class, We served them their drinks and they had to sit and wait for the instructor to finish up with the painting class. This of course created a traffic jam at the time of our final class (string art) and the 18 students getting settled into their seats with drinks.
During wind chime making, we learned the best materials and techniques to teach. We received very positive feedback from the students. They enjoyed the class and gave great ideas for how to better serve you.
The weekend ended with 18 students coming in for the string art class. It was noisy fun to say the least. The picture on this blog is of the house packed full of people hammering nails into boards while laughing and getting to know one another. The party was excited and satisfied with their individual projects. We call it a string art class, because we are available to help as needed. However, the group has a great deal of freedom in inventing their own art.
All in all I would recommend a soft opening to any small business. It was a perfect chance to learn how we need to correct behaviors, or prepare for classes. We are now waiting on the liquor license hearing and ordering supplies. We hope to see many people coming through the door and enjoying their time with us starting next week. (First week of August).
Once again, thank you for following our journey into this beautiful unknown world of small business owners.
Hugs and Giggles,