hello new here and looking for any and all advice
hello all my wife and I are seriously considering relocating to the Islands, I own my own buissness here in the states and would be selling. My wife and I have been married 8 years no kids and have traveled the carribean about 2 to 3 times a year since we have been married. My wife is an artist shameless plug LOL LOL www.sterlingpickett.com she has a dream of having a store I myself own a franchised buissness in the Ins. industry , but my true love is the hospitality industry this is what I went to college for and miss dearly in my life. I refuse to believe good customer service is dead!!!!!!! LOL LOL well I hope we get to here from all of you and can garner some insight on the relocation questions
Welcome to the forum. You will notice there is a search option. You can find just about any question you ever thought of asking. But go ahead and ask away. Sometimes the answers already given are a bit dated and no longer apply. You will get a lot of good advice and answers here. Which island are you considering?
Hello everyone I am the wife-artist and we have been researching a few islands to see which one would suit us best.
One of my pet peeves as we travel the islands is trying to find a souvineer to bring home that isn't a piece of junk, as all the stores have the same merchandise for sale, and the more islands you travel the more you see the same tshirt just a different island's name on them. The same picture frame but again a different island's name, or there is always the never ending chains of Diamonds international, emeralds international, boolchands etc, for the higher price goodies.
Like my hubby said I would want to open a small boutique with my art, and handmade items. I hand blow glass beads, (lampwork) that I haven't seen much if any lampwork beads on the other islands. I would want to have a display window in the front with me making beads to pull customers into the store. I also design other jewelry with seaglass, coral, and shells. I want to market my lampwork beads and sea inspired jewelry, along with my handpainted & personalized ornaments, wine glasses, invitations, etc.
The question always pops up in my head which island can we survive on? I think we would need to be in a cruise port. St. Thomas always comes to mind, as the boats are constantly in & out of St. Thomas. I see that St. Croix is also back on the cruise port list. I think staying in the VI will make it an easier move, but we haven't blocked out other countries, like Belize.
We went to St. Croix on our first trip back in 00' and don't remember the shopping areas for some reason, what are good little shopping areas? Any ideas what rent would be for a small store 1600-1000 sqft. I also thought about trying to get some of my items to different stores/hotels to see how they sell before moving. There are so many possibilities of what to do? Help advise?
Thanks for all your help I will be scanning the previous post.
I'm sure you make beautiful things but in the past few years, the cruise ship passengers haven't been spending & what little most do spend is on cheap trinkets which is why you see so much of that around. If it didn't sell, you wouldn't see so much of it. Handmade items always cost a lot more & when you factor in what it costs to run a store with ridiculous rents, shoplifting & even more ridiculous WAPA (electric) rates, that is why there's a lot of junk sold here. They say they want to buy locally made items but tney don't want to spend the money.
You may have a market in the hotels as hotel guests do tend to spend more or possibly in the shops on St. John or some of the galleries but retail is really hurting these days & will probably continue to do so for another year or more.
If it is oriented towards cruise ship passengers as customers - you should research the demographics of the typical cruise ship traveler. Look at the way that the whole USA has morphed away from local businesses - the roads are filled with chain store after chain restaurant across the country - it seems in general that people want exactly the same type of products and service available everywhere at nationwide homogeneous retail outlets.
Cruise ship passengers here have been buying 4 for $10 T shirts, refrigerator magnets, shot glasses, knockoff designer goods and that quality of souvenir because they don't want to find and buy something different and look deviant from the norm.
Main Street in St Thomas years ago when the demographic of cruise ship traveler was much different was filled with upscale, trendy, big shops that offered luxury products to a much more well traveled tourist. Now Main St has chopped those spacious old warehouses into skinny little retail jewelry stores and tacky shops - only because that is what sells now to the new traveler.
What was the question? You may want to consider St john as the typical traveler there has a different mindset and the island itself is very supportive of artistic efforts.
Thanks for your opinions, advise. My lampwork art would be the more expensive items($50-500, and some could get over $100.00) in my store but I would always have the $10-$30.00 items as well as I can cater to women, men, children, and babies! I have been on many cruises and I guess as an experienced cruiser and a girl that loves to shop, I look for a quality item, but not overly extravagant. I guess there are different spending habits from first time cruisers to more experienced cruisers, and differnet spending capabilities, from Carnival, to Royal Caribbean, to a Princess cruise line etc. I know when I visit via cruise boat, that I personally can't walk into a Bernard K. Passman gallery and buy anything I want, and I usually don't see many people purchasing his art off the boats, or any diamonds, or sapphires at the international places.
My favorite places to visit are St. Thomas been there 3 times but not in the last 3 years! We have fallen in love with Negril, Jamaica, but wouldn't want to live there, and have visited JA 5 times, and twice within 4 months last year. I also love Bonaire, & Aruba but it seems to be more difficult to relocate there, and has a lot of red tape and stipulations, & sponsers etc.
I know I don't want to live in the Bahamas, Martinique, Barbados, or puerto rico. I prefer an island rather than a central america country but am having an open mind.
We are in the beginning stages and are thinking of actually moving in another 2 years. All of our friends are having babies now, and everyone ask us when are we? But I I dream more about living in the Caribbean and making things than I do dreaming of raising a child over here. My heart says follow it to the caribbean, but all the "what ifs" are popping up in my head as well.
Prime retail space can approach Beverly Hills prices & don't forget that you may have to pay "key money" on top of that up front. Your best bet would be to make your things on the side & consign or wholesale them while having a job on the side. When you wholesale the item, forget the idea that the retailer will just mark it up 100% as it's not enough of a mark-up for the retailer to give the space up unless they can make more than that due to their high overhead. You could possibly consign them to a vendor at an art place like Tillett Gardens but you won't make a living at it but could make some extra money that way. I don't like raining on your parade but that's just the way it is currently. A pre-move visit would be a very good idea. You could also consign on St. John but the retailers there are hurting as well.
When you do your pmv, try visiting stx as well. We don't rely on cruise ships like stt. You rely on locals. So if you make quality items we will buy it. We don't have the boring chains like stt does (all those internationals), so we have more quality stores. Artisans make and sell their stuff here. I think we have fantastic shops on stx.
edited to add: and the shop rents are not going to break the bank at all.
A PMV is a good idea – people tell me. We moved here a year ago (our anniversary was last Thursday) without ever having been to the Caribbean before, and the moment we got off the plane we felt like we'd come home. We've never looked back, we're here to stay.
So if you CAN make a PMV, that's great. But if you do your homework and are honest with yourself, you should be OK either way. And don't forget what Betty (above) said – don't skip stx. That's where we live, and we're delighted with out life.