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The Kitchen Table’s O’Brien Shares Top Tips For New Store Owners

Opening a retail shop for the first time can be exciting and scary all at once, especially in today’s rocky retail climate. However, it needn’t be if you keep a few helpful tips in mind.

After a full year of owning and operating The Kitchen Table in Sacramento, CA, Susan O’Brien has settled into her role as a first-time retail business owner, riding the ebb and flow of learning about her customers, what sells, what doesn’t and of course, what she can improve upon in the new year.

Here, O’Brien shares three best practices for those also aspiring to open a gourmet kitchenware shop.

Focus On Your Brand
“When first starting out, I think it is important to focus on your brand and know your mission statement with the store. It’s too easy for that mission statement to get lost at times,” she said. One question she suggests store owners ask before making a big decision, such as a purchase they are on the fence about, is to ask ‘what is the point of my store and will this help support that?’.

Try Something New
There is also room for taking risks, but within reason, O’Brien suggested. “I think it is important to try lots of different things because sometimes you can be happily surprised at the outcome,” she said. For example, O’Brien recently started hosting a calligraphy class at The Kitchen Table, providing customers with a place to gather and a coupon to shop with at the store. It was a huge hit and will now be on the calendar twice a month.

Delegate The Not-So-Fun-Stuff
O’Brien is a firm believer in knowing what her limits are and has delegated certain tasks that she would rather not expend her energy on. “Know what you’re good at and find someone else to do what you are not so good at,” she said. For example, O’Brien is not so fond of bookkeeping, so she hired someone to help, which has helped her focus on other priorities.


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