Sramana: At what point in the friendship did the idea of doing a business together start coming into the foreground?
Amy Laws: That was in the summer of 2010. We had attended a sample sale. The wholesale showrooms in places like Dallas, New York, and Atlanta purchase sample sets from their manufacturers. That is what they use to show potential clients who are going to come in and shop for their stores. They routinely try to sell the samples once the season is over. They will sell the samples on consignment who will then turn around and sell the samples to anyone.
We attended one of these sample sales for children’s smocks and outdoor play clothing and we absolutely loved it. We thought the idea of shopping that way was brilliant. The clothes were our children’s sizes and the prices were great. It was a great way to shop. We had little girls and we wanted to dress them a certain way but it was very expensive to do so. It was not in our budget to dress our children that way on a non-special occasion basis.
After attending the sample sale, we thought we could also have a sample sale. Our kids were the perfect age and we had a ton of friends we could invite. We would also get first pick of the samples for our daughters. We thought we could host a sale, get some great clothes, and provide a great service to our friends. We had our first sample sale in August of 2010.
Sramana: What was the process of procuring the samples?
Amy Laws: We went down to the Dallas Market Center and met with each of the individual show rooms. We talked to them about what we wanted to do. I brought my mother-in-law to one of the first meetings, because I thought she would lend some credibility since they did not know us and we were just going in there to ask for their samples.
We discussed where the sale would be held, which was at Nicole’s house in Dallas. It was at the end of the season so they had already tried to sell some things. They basically felt that if we were able to sell the samples it would be fantastic. We did have to meet with them and build some trust and then they let us have the samples.
We turned around and made a small commission off of those sales. When we turned in our sales receipts, they were very impressed. We had put everything into a spreadsheet and were very organized with our process. They had been doing that for 15 years and nobody had shown up with that level of detail, which I credit Nicole with. We built trust with them very quickly and they expressed interest in continuing to work with us.