In the 10 years since Carol “Orange” Schroeder published the third edition of Specialty Shop Retailing: How You Can Succeed in Today’s Market, social media has exploded in terms of adoption and variety of uses, so it was obviously time for a fourth edition. That would be the case whether or not Amazon was eating brick-and-mortar retailers alive, and this unprecedented challenge is another reason Schroeder hopes the new edition will give independent retailers some coping strategies and tools.
The previous editions have sold over 40,000 copies, but in this Take Five interview, the proprietor of Madison’s Orange Tree Imports explains how this updated 450-page version can help retail “Davids” keep Goliath at bay.
IB: You come right out and say that because Amazon is such a major threat to small businesses, you have chosen not to publish or promote the new edition through the online behemoth. Since then, another major retailer, Boston Store, has bitten the dust, and Amazon looks more menacing than ever. What’s in this new edition that will help small retailers, or any small business, compete with Godzilla.
Schroeder: [Laughs] There is room in the world for both in-person shopping experiences, especially when it’s a locally owned and curated business, as well as online shopping. I don’t think any of us can make Amazon go away, but we can present something to the public that they can’t get when they shop online and make our communities richer by offering alternatives that encourage people to get out of their homes and get off of their phones and have a social experience that also involves viewing and purchasing merchandise.
“The updated edition of Carol Schroeder’s highly regarded Specialty Shop Retailing is a reference all shopkeepers should read and then keep on their bookshelf. Whether you are just opening a shop or are an experienced retailer, this book provides sound business advice and the tools you need to deal with the challenges of brick-and-mortar independent retailing in the 21st century.”
-Caroline Kennedy, former editor-in-chief of Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Watch a short interview with Carol “Orange” Schroeder here:
Carol Schroeder, an award-winning independent retailer in Madison, Wis., for more than 40 years, has schooled her fellow owners of specialty shops throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Japan for the past two decades in the nuts and bolts of owning a retail specialty shop. Total sales of the first three editions of Specialty Shop Retailing numbered over 40,000,
As in each prior edition, Specialty Shop Retailing 4th Edition discusses, in great detail, every aspect of small shop ownership, from writing a business plan, designing the space, buying and displaying merchandise, managing finances, hiring great employees, and offering stellar service. This new edition includes information on using social media and websites for online marketing and sales — critical components for any business facing the challenges of today’s digital world. She also offers advice on coping with setbacks and creating strategies for success. Read more…
Visual merchandiser Debi Ward Kennedy wrote this about the new edition of Specialty Shop Retailing in her blog: “The wealth of information within the pages will be of help to every retailer – from those who’ve grown up to take over a venerable family business to the entrepreneurial generation striking out to make their own mark. Whether you’ve been at it for years, or are just starting out, this book WILL help you – so get your hands on it and read it cover to cover!”
Carol “Orange” Schroeder became enamored with retailing during her junior year of college when she spent a year in Copenhagen.
The Denmark city was filled with specialty shops selling colorful handcrafted items, furniture, candles, flowers and other wares and staffed by owners and employees who offered friendly service.
Schroeder studied Danish and English literature and obtained a master’s degree in Scandinavian studies, while her work experience consisted of working in journalism and being a dental assistant. But her career and life changed in 1974, when she landed a job at Bord & Stol, a Scandinavian retailer that sold furniture, housewares and gifts.
A year later, Schroeder and her husband, Dean Schroeder, bought the Monroe Street store and renamed it Orange Tree Imports, and they have been one of the city’s best retailing success stories of the past 40 years.